The Texas Rangers didn’t make any headlines as the non-waiver trade deadline passed, but the drama on the field continued with another late-inning victory.
Yu Darvish takes the mound looking to help Texas win a fourth straight as it hosts the Arizona Diamondbacks in a makeup game Thursday night.
Texas (59-49) had lost 12 of its last 15 and had been shut out three times during a four-game losing streak entering their series with the Los Angeles Angels on Monday.
The Rangers ended their skid on Geovany Soto’s ninth-inning, two-run homer for a 4-3 victory in the opener, won 14-11 when Leonys Martin hit a three-run shot in the 10th on Tuesday and completed the sweep with a 2-1 victory Wednesday as Adrian Beltre hit a walkoff homer in the ninth.
Texas became the first team to sweep a three-game series with all game-ending homers since the 1999 Diamondbacks did it against the Montreal Expos from May 10-12, 1999.
“Our offense has been the reason why we struggled the last few weeks, and our offense is getting a lot better,” Beltre said.
Combined with Oakland’s 5-2, 10-inning loss to Toronto, the Rangers pulled to within four games of the AL West lead. Still, general manager Jon Daniels elected not to make any trades as the deadline passed Wednesday afternoon.
There was speculation Texas would seek an outfielder to replace Nelson Cruz in case he’s suspended for his connection to the Biogenesis scandal, but Cruz was in the lineup Wednesday and hit his team-best 25th homer.
“All I know is what you guys know,” manager Ron Washington said of Cruz’s situation.
Darvish (9-5, 2.80 ERA) will try to help Texas stay hot as he looks for a third straight impressive start since coming off the disabled list with an upper back strain.
He allowed two hits in 6 1-3 innings of a 3-0 win over the New York Yankees on July 22 before giving up one run and three hits while striking out 11 in six frames of a 1-0 loss to Cleveland on Saturday.
The run Darvish allowed came on a homer to the first batter he faced.
“Things like this are just part of the game,” Darvish said through an interpreter. “Some games pitchers don’t perform their best, and some games hitters don’t perform their best.”
After having a 9.05 run-support average though his first nine starts, Darvish’s RSA is just 2.54 over his last 11. He’s 2-4 in that current stretch despite positing a 2.66 ERA.
The right-hander tied a career high with 14 strikeouts against Arizona on May 27, but he allowed a tying two-run homer to Didi Gregorius in the bottom of the eighth and the Diamondbacks rallied for a 5-4 win.
Arizona (55-52) made a bold move at the deadline, dealing pitcher Ian Kennedy to San Diego for left-handed reliever Joe Thatcher, a minor leaguer and a draft pick. That trade is part of the reason Zeke Spruill will be making his first major league start Thursday.
Spruill (0-0, 2.08) pitched 4 1-3 innings of relief over four appearances in a brief call-up in June. The right-hander, though, hasn’t allowed an earned run in 31 2-3 consecutive innings while going 3-0 over his last five starts for Triple-A Reno.
The Diamondbacks, who had lost three straight, got solid pitching in Tuesday’s 7-0 win over Tampa Bay, while Eric Chavez and Paul Goldschmidt each homered.
“We were struggling offensively,” Chavez said. “It was nice to get that one, for sure.”
Goldschmidt is 4 for 27 over his last seven games, with three of those hits leaving the park.
This contest is a makeup for the May 28 rainout. Arizona has won two of the previous three meetings.