DETROIT (AP) — Jonah Heim doubled, homered and drove in three runs and the Texas Rangers beat Detroit 7-0 on Friday night, extending the Tigers’ losing streak to six games.
Jon Gray (2-3) pitched seven scoreless innings to end a five-start winless streak. He struck out six and did not walk a batter.
“I think we had a tough start to the season, but we know when our guys are playing well, we’re going to be a really hard team to beat,” Gray said. “We’re definitely headed in that direction.”
Tigers ace Tarik Skubal (5-4) allowed five runs on eight hits in five innings. The Tigers have been outscored 43-7 in the six losses and have scored one run in their last 35 innings.
“We’re all tired of it, but I don’t have a better answer,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “Usually I do, but I don’t. We can’t be this bad this long. That’s obvious.”
Unlike Thursday’s 3-1 win, when Texas didn’t score until there were two out in the ninth, the Rangers were quickly out of the gate against Skubal.
Marcus Seimen walked to start the game and Corey Seager singled. Adolis Garcia doubled past third baseman Harold Castro to make it 1-0. Jonah Heim followed with a two-run double past Castro to put Texas up 3-0.
“I thought Marcus set the tone, because we were facing a really good pitcher in Skubal, and he showed we weren’t going to expand the strike zone,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “The guys followed it with some nice swings and all of a sudden we’re up three with Jon Gray on the mound. That’s a nice feeling.”
The long first inning kept Gray in the dugout longer than he expected, but it didn’t bother him. Detroit never got a runner past second base against him.
“I had to wait 20 or 30 minutes to get started, but you are never going to complain about that when the guys are putting up a big number like that,” he said. “We attacked right from the start, and I don’t think we let up for a single at-bat.”
The Rangers added a fourth run in the third. Seager led off with a double, took third on a groundout and scored on Nathaniel Lowe’s two-out double.
Willi Castro doubled with one out in the fourth, but Gray struck out Miguel Cabrera and retired Javy Baez to end the inning.
Heim homered in the fifth to give the Rangers a 5-0 lead and Texas added two more runs off Will Vest in the sixth.
With OF Austin Meadows on the COVID-19 list, Tigers prospect Riley Greene is expected to make his major league debut on Saturday. Greene, the fifth overall pick in the 2019 draft, is considered one of Detroit’s two outstanding hitting prospects, along with 2020 first overall pick Spencer Torkelson. Greene was going to start the season with the Tigers, but a broken foot delayed his debut.
“We’re not playing the best ball right now,” said Torkelson, who is hitting .178. “Riley produces, and I know he’s ready. Maybe he can be the spark we need.”
The teams play the third of the four-game series on Saturday afternoon, with Detroit’s Rony Garcia (0-2, 5.06) facing Texas’ Taylor Hearn (4-4, 5.37).
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