After a rough start, the Texas Rangers are beginning to find their chemistry.
The Rangers defeated the host Phillies 6-4 on Tuesday and will look for a two-game series sweep and their fourth win in a row on Wednesday evening in Philadelphia.
Mitch Garver and Jonah Heim each homered on Tuesday for Texas, and Zach Reks provided a clutch two-run, pinch-hit double.
“Playing this game, you’ve got to be relaxed, and you’ve got to have fun,” Heim said in a postgame interview on Bally Sports Southwest. “You can’t tense up and have the game speed up on you. We play this game to have fun and enjoy it. We’re enjoying it. Let’s keep it rolling.”
Heim raised his average to .364 with his 2-for-3 performance.
The Rangers will hand the ball on Wednesday to left-hander Martin Perez (0-2, 3.00 ERA), who holds a 2-1 record and a 4.50 ERA in six career games, five starts, against the Phillies.
In Perez’s most recent start last Thursday against the Houston Astros, he took a perfect game into the seventh inning before allowing a leadoff double to Chas McCormick.
Perez was stellar in seven innings, as he gave up two hits and one run to go along with four strikeouts and no walks.
“That was as good as I’ve seen a guy throw. He kept executing and executing,” Texas manager Chris Woodward said of Perez’s outing. “I thought he was going to throw a perfect game, frankly. He had the pitch count to do it. Everything was right there for him. McCormick just hit a pretty good pitch there.”
The Phillies will hope to avoid a third consecutive loss on Wednesday.
After a day off, the Phillies came out a little flat on Tuesday despite 11 hits, including a home run from J.T. Realmuto. But they were a bit sloppy with an error by Alec Bohm and failed to execute in key situations offensively.
“The sun is going to come up tomorrow,” Bohm said. “Got to find a way to get over it by 6:45 tomorrow night.”
Phillies manager Joe Girardi also pointed to going 2 for 10 with runners in scoring position and leaving six runners on base.
“We just didn’t get any hits with runners in scoring position,” Girardi said. “We had some opportunities. We weren’t able to take advantage of them.”
Right-hander Zack Wheeler (1-3, 5.79) is scheduled to start for the Phillies. He’s 1-0 with a 1.35 ERA in two career starts against the Rangers.
Wheeler scuffled earlier this season, but he responded with six scoreless innings against the Colorado Rockies last Thursday. He allowed one hit, struck out seven and walked four.
It was the best all-around start for Wheeler, a finalist last season for the National League Cy Young Award.
“Just come out of there with zeros; that’s the biggest thing for me,” Wheeler said. “There’s a few things I still need to iron out a little bit with my mechanics. I’m getting to where I want to be. Not fully there. But we’re getting there.”
Nick Castellanos (paternity leave) is expected to miss his second straight game on Wednesday.
–Field Level Media