Nathaniel Lowe’s career-high 25th home run highlighted a four-run third inning as the Texas Rangers earned a 4-3 series-opening win Friday night over the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg, Fla.
A member of the Rays from 2019-21, Lowe extended his high mark in homers with a tiebreaking two-run shot in the pivotal frame. His previous best was 18 last season.
Corey Seager doubled, had two RBIs and scored a run and Marcus Semien was 2-for-4 with a run for Texas (63-81).
Over 5 1/3 innings, starter Martin Perez (12-6) allowed three runs and nine hits to earn the win. He struck out three and walked one.
Relievers Jesus Tinoco, Jonathan Hernandez, Brett Martin, Matt Moore and Jose Leclerc combined for 3 2/3 scoreless innings with one hit.
For Tampa Bay (80-64), Francisco Mejia went 3-for-4 with two doubles and three RBIs.
After his shortest outing of the season in New York against the Yankees, Rays starter Corey Kluber (10-9) yielded nine hits over 5 2/3 innings, allowing all four of the runs against him in the third.
In the opener of their longest and final homestand of 2022 — 10 games — the Rays broke out for a pair of runs in the second as the Rangers’ middle infield botched two plays — neither resulting in an error.
Mejia reached out and lobbed an RBI single to right and Jose Siri legged out a would-be double play to drive in Taylor Walls, who had earlier beaten out a potential twin-killing, for a 2-0 Tampa Bay lead.
However, the visitors posted five straight hits in a four-run, two-out rally in the third. Singles by Bubba Thompson and Semien preceded to a two-run double by Seager. Lowe then blasted an opposite-field shot to left-center for a 4-2 advantage.
In the sixth, Mejia’s second double drove home Walls to narrow the gap to one run.
Leclerc gave up a single in the ninth and also walked one and hit a batter, but the right-hander induced a bases-loaded fielder’s choice from Harold Ramirez for his sixth save in seven chances.
–Field Level Media