Andy Ibanez made quite the impact in the first game of his second stint this season with the Texas Rangers, belting his first career home run in a win.
Ibanez looks for another strong performance on Tuesday when the Rangers play the second contest of their four-game series against the Oakland Athletics in Arlington, Texas.
The three-run homer in the first inning of the Rangers’ 8-3 romp on Monday was the lone hit for Ibanez, who went 3-for-21 with two RBIs in his previous nine-game stint with Texas last month.
The 28-year-old Cuban heated up in the following 27 games with Triple-A Round Rock, batting .352 with six homers, 25 RBIs and 20 runs before being summoned by the Rangers once again.
“We need a little bit of offense right now, and Andy’s the right guy,” Texas manager Chris Woodward said prior to Monday’s game.
Jose Trevino also belted a three-run shot in the sixth inning to help the Rangers snap a six-game losing skid.
“Three-run homer, that’s cool and everything, but for everybody to just put good bats together all night, that’s big,” Trevino said.
The Athletics, meanwhile, have followed a sizzling six-game winning streak with three straight losses.
Oakland leadoff hitter Tony Kemp had two singles and a walk in the series opener, and he carries an 11-game on-base streak into Tuesday’s game.
A’s shortstop Elvis Andrus wasn’t as successful on Monday, although he received a warm ovation prior to his first at-bat in the second inning. Andrus went 0-for-4 in his return to the place he called home for his first 12 major league seasons.
“Not a surprise that he got the type of reception that he did,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. “You know, Monday night, good crowd, probably had a lot had to do with Elvis coming back to town and playing. I think we all got a little choked up, too.
“He’s meant so much to this city and to this team. He’s been with them for so long, you just have to step back and realize how much he’s meant to them.”
Andrus is 0-for-7 in his last two games after collecting 11 hits, six RBIs and five runs in his previous eight contests.
Kemp and Andrus will try their luck against Texas left-hander Taylor Hearn (2-1, 4.84 ERA), who will make his 23rd appearance this season and first start on Tuesday.
Hearn will return to the mound after allowing two hits in two scoreless innings of relief in the Rangers’ 4-2 setback to the Minnesota Twins on Sunday. The 26-year-old was named the starter late Monday night in a bid to give Jordan Lyles an additional day of rest.
Hearn has faced the Athletics on two occasions in relief, both times last year, allowing one unearned run on two hits in three innings. He has yet to record a decision vs. Oakland.
Oakland left-hander Cole Irvin (4-7, 3.89 ERA) will face Texas for the first time in his career when he takes the mound on Tuesday.
Irvin, 27, received his second straight no-decision on Wednesday after allowing four runs on nine hits in 5 2/3 innings against the Los Angeles Angels.
–Field Level Media