Texas Rangers

Rangers strike early, late to beat White Sox in homestand finale

The Texas Rangers scored four times in the second and added two more in the eighth after the Chicago White Sox drew close to win the series finale 7-4 Sunday at Globe Life Park.

Adrian Sampson (6-4) earned the win after holding Chicago to a run over seven innings. His defense was a big part of his success. They turned double-plays in three of the first four innings. He also received outstanding plays by center fielder Delino DeShields, who made a diving catch on a shallow fly ball. The White Sox had the lead-off man on four times against Sampson, but he only scored once when Chicago started the fifth with three consecutive singles.

But Sampson regrouped and retired the next three batters to preserve a 5-1 lead.

“My fastball was a lot better today, just the angle of it, throwing it where I want to, just something that I kind of lost the last two outings,” he said. “I felt it early in the bullpen and it just gave me a lot of confidence going into the game today.”

“The shutdown innings are big, and it’s always a little more sweet to win a game going into an off day and the last game of a home series,” said Sampson, who had allowed nine combined runs in his previous two starts (eight innings). “They’ve been making those plays all year. Every guy on the infield had a double play today. They do it every day. It’s so much easier when I can throw the ball, throw it on the ground and get two outs.”

Rougned Odor doubled and later scored the first run on Ronald Guzman’s sacrifice fly. With two outs, Tim Federowicz homered to make it 2-0. After Shin-Soo Choo reached on an error, Danny Santana’s two-run homer made it 4-0. DeShields’ two-out, RBI single scored Nomar Mazara in the third to push the lead to 5-0.

Chicago scored three times in the eighth and had the tying run at third before Brett Martin struck out Yonder Alonso and Shawn Kelley struck out Tim Anderson. Pete Fairbanks started the inning but was quickly in a jam after two singles and a walk loaded the bases with one out. Fairbanks walked in a run before Martin took over. Kelley also pitched the ninth to earn his 10th save. It’s his first save of four or more outs since June 2016 when he was with the Nationals.

DeShields lost the trajectory of a line drive hit right at him off the bat of Eloy Jimenez, which allowed two runs to score. The first of the two would have scored on the fly out. The second run, however, was unearned.

The Rangers got two of the runs back in the bottom of the eighth on an RBI double from Mazara and an RBI single from DeShields, which stretched the lead back to three.

“I thought early on [Sampson] benefited from some really good plays on our side,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “Those double plays were not easy. Elvis’ double play and Rougie’s double play got him out of some early trouble. After that, it resembled a lot of the Sampson we’ve seen a lot of this year where he’s in command of his pitches, and had that slider going.”

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Stefan Stevenson has been covering sports for the Star-Telegram since 1997. He spent five years covering TCU athletics, which included two BCS bowls, two trips to the college World Series and the move to the Big 12. He has covered the Texas Rangers since 2014 and started reporting on the Dallas Cowboys in 2016.