ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Kyle Gibson returned from the injured list to pitch 5 1/3 scoreless innings, and the Texas Rangers ended a nine-game losing streak when they held on for a 5-4 win over the defending American League champion Tampa Bay Rays in their return to the site of last season’s World Series.
Joey Gallo hit in his 10th homer and Charlie Culberson drove in a run with a squeeze bunt for the Rangers, who were back home after the nine losses in a row for the longest winless road trip in team history. They hadn’t won since wrapping up a three-game sweep over Houston on May 23 in their last home series.
Brandon Lowe homered late for the Rays (36-23), who have the most wins in the majors this season and lost for only the fourth time in 21 games. Their only previous visit to Globe Life Field had been last October in the neutral site World Series they lost in six games to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Gibson (4-0) struck out five without a walk in his first start since May 21 before going on the IL with a right groin strain. The right-hander threw 73 pitches and lowered his ERA to 2.06, third-best in the AL, before coming out of his 11th start after consecutive one-out singles in the sixth.
The Rays managed only five singles off Gibson, and the hits in the sixth were the only time they had multiple runners on against him — reliever John King came on and got a strikeout and a flyout. Gibson picked off Joey Wendle at first base after a hit in the fourth.
Ian Kennedy, the third Texas reliever, worked the ninth for his 12th save in 13 chances despite giving up a two-run single to No. 9 hitter Brett Phillips after the Rays loaded the bases with a single and two walks. He struck out Lowe, who hit a two-run homer in the eighth, to end the game.
Tampa Bay left-hander Josh Fleming (5-4), who had won his last four decisions, allowed 10 hits and five runs over a career-high seven innings. He threw 72 of 100 pitches for strikes, with two strikeouts and no walks.
Texas went ahead to stay on rookie Adolis Garcia’s grounder in the third for his 42nd RBI. The Rangers opened the fourth with three consecutive singles, including a run-scoring hit by Nate Lowe, before Culberson’s bunt that scored Nick Solak. Willie Calhoun followed with an RBI single to make it 4-0. Gallo’s towering 438-foot homer to straightaway center came in the fifth.
Rays: 1B Ji-Man Choi was put on the 10-day injured list because of a left groin strain. Choi had played only 15 games since missing the first six weeks of the season when recovering from arthroscopic right knee surgery.
Rangers: RHP Hunter Wood was transferred from the 10-day to 60-day injured list. Wood, on the IL since May 23, has a mild UCL sprain in his right elbow.
Rich Hill (4-2, 3.32 ERA), the Rays’ 41-year-old left-hander, makes his first start of June after being the AL pitcher of the month in May, when he was 3-1 with a 0.78 ERA in six starts. He had a no-decision at home against Texas on April 15, when he allowed four runs and seven hits over 4 1/3 innings. Rangers lefty Kolby Allard (1-1, 3.38) is set to make his second start in his 12th appearance this season.
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