ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — The hits just aren’t coming for the Texas Rangers, who for a while Monday looked like they might not get any at all.
Texas finally ended a no-hit bid by New York Yankees starter Nathan Eovaldi to start to the seventh, and got its only run off a reliever the following inning in a 3-1 loss for a four-game losing streak in which the Rangers have hit .178 and scored only five runs.
“He was throwing a lot of breaking balls, but we kept swinging,” rookie outfielder Nomar Mazara said. “He was throwing a lot of off speed, making a lot of good pitches. That was it.”
Mazara, a day before his 21st birthday, got a fastball and hit a clean single through the left side of the infield. After he was erased on a double play, Prince Fielder swung at a high pitch and doubled into the right-center gap.
“I figured if it started at my head, I might have a better chance,” Fielder said.
“He was amazing,” he said. “His split … anything that started at your thigh went straight to the ground.”
After Eovaldi (1-2) walked Mitch Moreland to start the eighth, Dellin Betances took over and promptly got Elvis Andrus to ground into a double play before Brett Nicholas hit his first career homer. Andrew Miller worked a perfect ninth for his fifth save.
Texas was coming off a three-game sweep at the Chicago White Sox which included its first shutout of the season.
“We faced a stretch of pitchers that match up fairly well against us. Those guys in Chicago were pretty challenging,” manager Jeff Banister said. “Eovaldi, he’s the type of guy when he’s throwing strikes, he can make it extremely challenging for you. … I believe this offense will get going.”
Jacoby Ellsbury and Starlin Castro had solo homers for the Yankees off Cesar Ramos (0-1), the lefty starting in place of Cole Hamels (sore groin).
Ramos allowed three runs pitching into the seventh, with five strikeouts and two walks.
Rangers starters have gone at least five innings in all 20 games this season, the longest season-opening streak in team history. The Chicago Cubs (19) are the only other MLB team with five-plus innings for every starter this season.
Eovaldi is only the second major league player from Alvin, Texas. The other is another big right-hander: Nolan Ryan, who threw a record seven no-hitters. He threw 66 of his 98 pitches for strikes with six strikeouts and two wlaks.
“I feel like I’ve progressed in each outing,” Eovaldi said. “It was good for everything to come together in this one.”
The Rangers optioned right-hander Nick Martinez to Round Rock after purchasing Ramos from that Triple-A team. Texas also had to make room on its 40-man roster for Ramos, so they transferred right-hander Keone Kela from the 15-day to 60-day disabled list. Kela is recovering from surgery Friday to remove a bone spur from his elbow.
NOT MANY NO-NOs
Texas hasn’t been held hitless since Mark Buehrle threw one at home for the Chicago White Sox in 2007. The only no-hitter thrown in the Rangers’ current ballpark was Kenny Rogers’ perfect game in 1994, the year the stadium opened.
Yankees: DH Alex Rodriguez was out of the lineup a day after exiting a game because of stiffness in his left side. The 40-year-old Rodriguez said he felt good Monday and hoped to get back in the lineup as soon as possible. … OF Aaron Hicks missed his third game in a row because of left shoulder bursitis. He stretched and threw before the game and manager Joe Girardi hopes he is back by the weekend.
Rangers: Hamels threw 26 pitches in a bullpen session without any issues, and could have another session Wednesday. It was the first time the left-hander threw off a mound since his start last Wednesday. He could be back in the rotation as early as Saturday. … OF Shin-Soo Choo, on the DL since April 9 with a strain right calf, started hitting off a tee. He said he’s feeling a lot better.
Rangers: A.J. Griffin, who before this season hadn’t pitched in the major since 2013 because of right elbow surgery, is 2-0 with a 3.18 ERA in three starts for Texas. He has thrown at least five innings in 31 consecutive starts, the third-longest active streak behind Jake Arrieta’s 41 in a row and Madison Bumgarner’s 34.