ARLINGTON, Texas — Corey Kluber excelled again at Globe Life Field, pitching six solid innings as the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Texas Rangers 3-1 on Thursday.
In his previous ballpark appearance, Kluber threw a no-hitter at Texas on May 19, 2021, while with the New York Yankees.
In his only other game at Globe Life Field, which opened in July 2020 during the pandemic-delayed season, he left after one inning and 18 pitches in his only start as a member of the Rangers. He tore a muscle in his pitching shoulder and was out for the rest of that year.
Kluber allowed one run and four hits, struck out four and did not walk. The two-time AL Cy Young Award winner tied his longest outing of the season.
Kluber said he didn’t think about the non-hitter all afternoon.
“Maybe the fact that it’s the fourth game in the series and I’ve cleared all of my stuff, whether it’s memorabilia or keepsakes or whatever at the start, so, not really,” said Kluber.
Vidal Brujan had an RBI double in the second set and Yandy Diaz scored a home run in the third for Tampa Bay.
Brujan, in his second major league season, made his first major league start at shortstop, with Wander Franco on the disabled list. Brujan’s four error-free assists included all three outs late in the ninth, with some making downhole saves and long throws.
“These first ones at the major league level, you wonder how it’s going to be,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “He couldn’t have been better.”
The Rays won the last two games of the four-game road series to earn a split, repeating what they did at Yankee Stadium in their previous series, and are back to a record nine games in the season above 0.500.
Rangers have lost two games in a row after hitting .500 for the first time since May 2021.
Kluber’s only run (2-2) was a two-out home run on Marcus Semien’s first pitch that was fired to the left field line in the sixth.
Ryan Thompson, the Rays’ fifth reliever, threw a perfect ninth for his third save in six opportunities this season.
Diaz, Manuel Margot and Harold Ramirez each had two hits for the Rays. Margot has reached base four times after going hitless in her last 12 at bats.
Semien’s homer was his second of the season, in his last six games, after going without a homer in his first 43 games this season. He had 45 goals last season for Toronto, the all-time high for a major league second baseman.
Taylor Hearn (3-4) allowed the Rays’ three runs on six hits and four walks. Five straight Rays reached base in a third inning two run in which Hearn walked three. Texas manager Chris Woodward said Hearn pitched while ill.
Rangers left two runners in the seventh and eighth innings and were 1 of 7 overall with runners in scoring position. First from the left was Josh Smith, who doubled in the lead but never advanced.
“Kluber was tough,” said Woodward, who was Kluber’s 2020 manager. “We had a chance early on…we couldn’t find a way to get him through.
Jonah Heim doubled and singled for Texas. He attempted to stretch his fourth-inning drive into the right-field corner with neither turning into a double, but was kicked out by Margot on a fly by a wide margin.
REMEMBERING PK ON LOU GERHIG DAY
On the second annual Majors Lou Gehrig Day, the Rays remembered Paul Kirsch. Their former senior scouting supervisor was diagnosed with ALS in 2018 and died aged 65 last September from a COVID-19 infection despite being vaccinated.
“PK was highly regarded by so many people in our organization,” Cash said.
Rays: LHP Shane McClanahan (5-2, 2.01 ERA) will ride a four-game winning streak in Friday night‘s opener of a three-game home series against the Chicago White Sox and RHP Vince Velasquez ( 2-3, 5.30).
Rangers: RHP Dane Dunning (1-3, 4.31) is 0-2 in his last five starts and will face Seattle RHP Logan Gilbert (5-2, 2.29) as Texas pursue a seven homestand Friday night games.