(Photo credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports)
The American League West-leading Texas Rangers will turn to rookie left-hander Cody Bradford on Tuesday night as they try to take another step toward their first playoff berth since 2016 when they face the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim, Calif.
Texas won the opener of the three-game series 5-1 onMonday thanks to four solo homers.
Bradford (4-2, 4.65 ERA) is set to make his eighth career start as he helps the fill the rotation spot vacated by the injury to three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer. A right teres major muscle strain forced Scherzer onto the 15-day injured list on Sept. 13.
Bradford got a no-decision in his one prior appearance against the Angels, a start on June 13 in Arlington, Texas. He allowed one run on just two hits over 4 1/3 innings in a game that saw the Rangers bullpen implode in a 7-3 loss. He walked one and struck out three.
Reid Detmers (3-10, 4.64 ERA) will start for Los Angeles (70-87). Detmers, who is 2-2 with a 3.95 ERA in eight career starts against the Rangers, is 1-1 with a 2.08 ERA in three starts vs. Texas this year.
The 24-year-old left-hander has pitched well down the stretch, posting a 2.04 ERA in three September starts. He ha allowed six runs (four earned) and 17 hits over 17 2/3 innings while striking out 19 and walking three this month.
Texas (88-68) lowered its magic number for clinching a playoff spot to two on Monday in a game that featured back-to-back-to-back home runs in the sixth inning by Adolis Garcia, Mitch Garver and Nathaniel Lowe.
Marcus Semien also homered for the Rangers, who maintained a 2 1/2-game lead over Houston (86-71) in the division and extended their lead to four games over third-place Seattle (84-72). Texas finishes the season with four games in Seattle.
The Rangers increased their winning streak to six games, a span in which they have scored 45 runs and hit 17 home runs. Texas also tied a team record with 10 homers over a two-game span.
The Rangers were trailing 1-0 when Garcia started the home run blitz with his 37th of the season, a shot to right-center against reliever Jimmy Herget. Garver followed with his 19th high off the left field foul pole, and Lowe then clubbed his 17th home run to right field.
It marked the ninth time in team history that Texas hit three consecutive home runs in a game and the first time since Aug. 19, 2015, against Seattle.
"You don't see it a lot," Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said. "I've seen it a couple of times. We were pretty quiet the first five innings and Garcia woke us up there with his home run."
Meanwhile, Texas starter Jon Gray, who hadn't made it out of the fourth inning in any of his previous three starts while compiling an ugly 10.38 ERA, bounced back to allow just a Logan O'Hoppe home run and five hits while striking out seven over six innings to notch his ninth win.
Gray departed due to right wrist tightness he felt while warming up to start the bottom of the seventh.
"It's mild," Bochy said. "We don't think it's anything serious, but we didn't want to risk anything there. That's why we took him out. Could he have pitched? Probably. But we'll get it looked at and see where we're at. We think he's going to be fine."
Gray said of his wrist, "Just a little tight."
Los Angeles first baseman Nolan Schanuel extended his on-base streak to 27 games with a first-inning double, the fourth-longest on-base streak in major league history to begin a career. The double came on the next pitch after Schanuel fouled a ball off his left knee and rolled on the ground for several minutes in pain.
Schanuel eventually left the game in the seventh inning.
"Just was kind of tightening up on him during the game," Angels manager Phil Nevin said. "I don't anticipate any damage in there, but I certainly wanted to get him out of there. I saw him limping a little bit and that could lead him to pulling something else. We'll see how he feels (Tuesday), but it's pretty stiff."
--Field Level Media