The narrative is the same as its been: Rangers starter labors through 5.1 IP, offense does just enough, bullpen closes the door. That is the 2015 season wrapped up into a sentence, but for some reason the recipe has been effective enough to keep Texas in the race.
On Sunday afternoon, Yovani Gallardo struggled all day keeping runners off base. In 5.1 innings he gave up 11 hits and 1 walk, but he did strike out 5 and managed to hold Tampa to just 3-10 with runners in scoring position, which is why he only allowed 3 ER on the day. It could have, and probably should have been worse, only it wasn't. The Rays were held scoreless after the 2nd.
Gallardo was Texas's best starting pitcher for the first half and it wasn't all that close. Since July 19th, however -- right around the time his name was popping up as a potential trade chip -- Yovani has been brutal to watch in every fundamental aspect of pitching. In 6 starts he's issued as many walks as he has strikeouts (14) -- which includes striking out 5 earlier today -- in exactly 30 innings on the bump. That is very bad. The counting stats have followed suit, as in that time he's surrendered 21 ER (6.30 ERA) on 29 hits, and one could even surmise he's been fortunate that it isn't worse.
On his 23rd birthday, Delino DeShields had an impressive day on both sides of the ball. In the top of the first, with two men on and two out, and a 1-0 lead for the Rays, Delino flagged down a fly ball in the right-center gap to end the threat. At the plate, he went 1-2 with two walks, a stolen base and a run driven in. Productive day for DDS.
Adrian Beltre went 1-4 with the deciding solo HR in the bottom of the 3rd, giving the Rangers a 4-3 lead that they never let go of.
Ryan Strousborger hit his 1st career HR.
The Freeman/Kela/Dyson/Tolleson quartet combined to throw 3.2 IP of one-hit baseball, including 4 K's and no BB's.
With the win, the Rangers are just 1 game behind Baltimore for the 2nd wild card spot.