Nathan Eovaldi, Rangers shut down Rays

Nathan Eovaldi tossed seven scoreless innings and Corey Seager hit his first home run of the season, lifting the Texas Rangers to a 4-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday afternoon in St. Petersburg, Fla.

In his 103-pitch second outing, Eovaldi (1-0) allowed just four hits and struck out eight.

Josh Smith had a two-run single in the ninth inning. Marcus Semien had an RBI single and joined Seager and Leody Taveras with two hits apiece.

In his second start, Tampa Bay’s Aaron Civale (1-1) was nearly as good as he was in his first, only without any run support.

The right-hander tossed six strong innings, allowing one run on four hits. He fanned eight and issued a pair of walks over 87 pitches.

Tampa Bay posted just eight hits — seven singles — with Ben Rortvedt doubling in the fifth inning. The Rays finished 3-4 on its seven-game homestand.

In the third inning in the series finale, Tampa Bay’s Jose Caballero led off with a single and swiped a base. Yandy Diaz, down 0-2 in the count with two outs, managed an 11-pitch walk. But Eovaldi whiffed Brandon Lowe to stifle the scoring chance.

In the fourth and fifth innings, respectively, Eovaldi and Civale continued to dazzle and escaped minor problems by closing out their frames with double plays on grounders.

But in Texas’ third time through the lineup in the sixth, Seager broke up the pitchers’ duel by golfing a down-and-in 86 mph cutter just inside the foul pole in right field for his first homer this season.

From the final out of the fifth inning, Eovaldi shut down the Rays’ bats with seven consecutive outs – one on a swinging strikeout to close the fifth and blowing away the side with a trio of flailing cuts for strikeouts in the seventh.

Rangers reliever David Robertson got himself into a first-and-third, one-out jam in relief of Eovaldi in the eighth, but Diaz’s flyout to shallow right field and Amed Rosario’s groundout to third base kept the Rays off the board.

The Rays brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth, but Caballero flew out on the warning track and Curtis Mead grounded out to reliever Jose Leclerc to end the game.

–Field Level Media