Marcus Semien hits 2-run homer in the 7th to push Texas Rangers past the Tampa Bay Rays, 4-3

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Marcus Semien Homers As Rays Fall To Rangers
Texas Rangers' Leody Taveras, left, and Marcus Semien (2) celebrate after Semien hit a two-run home run that also scored Taveras against the Tampa Bay Rays in the seventh inning of a baseball game in Arlington, Texas, Saturday, July 6, 2024. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Slumping Texas second baseman Marcus Semien hit his first homer in nearly a month, a go-ahead shot in the seventh inning in the Rangers’ 4-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday.

Semien, who earlier in the game walked and scored, was 3 for 42 over a 10-game span before his two-run homer with two outs against Kevin Kelly (2-1). The 422-foot drive to left-center was the 12th homer this season for the leadoff hitter, but his first in 23 games since June 9.

That came after Tampa Bay took a 3-2 lead in the top of the seventh on Yandy Díaz’s three-run homer off Jacob Latz.

Leody Taveras greeted Kelly with a leadoff single to start the Rangers seventh, and there were consecutive strikeouts before Semien went deep.

Jonathan Hernandez (2-0) retired the only batter he faced to end the seventh. David Robertson pitched a scoreless eighth, and Kirby Yates had a perfect ninth for his 13th save in 13 chances.

Rangers starter Andrew Heaney struck out seven over 5 1/3 scoreless innings, including his 1,000th career strikeout, in his 189th game. The left-hander allowed three hits and walked one.

Josh Sborz was the first Rangers reliever, and allowed two runs on two hits over an inning in his first big league appearance since May 8. The right-hander who got the save in their World Series-ending game last season, was activated Friday after his second stint on the disabled list this season because of a right rotator cuff strain.

Taj Bradley struck out five and allowed two runs (one earned) in his six innings for Tampa Bay. The right-hander has a 1.29 ERA over his past six starts,

Díaz had three hits, falling a triple short of a cycle, and the Rays leadoff hitter also walked while extending his on-base streak in road games to 23 in a row. His eighth homer of the season came after Tampa Bay had already left five men on base.

The Rays left 11 men on base while losing the series opener 3-0, when they had three hits and eight walks. They stranded 13 runners in their win over Kansas City on Thursday.

Semien led off the third with a walk, Corey Seager then extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a single and Nathaniel Lowe had an RBI single to make it 2-0.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Rangers third baseman Josh Smith was out of the lineup for the second game in a row. Manager Bruce Bochy said the potential All-Star could return Sunday.

UP NEXT

Nathan Eovaldi (5-3, 3.15 ERA), who is 4-0 with a 1.92 ERA in his nine starts at home, pitches the series finale Sunday for Texas. Rays right-hander Zack Littell (3-5, 3.94) is coming off five scoreless innings at Kansas City on Tuesday, his first win since May 11.

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