Texas Rangers

Reds hand Rangers a beating in trip finale with injuries to Pence and Mazara a concern

Hunter Pence left Sunday’s game with a groin strain after chasing a double down the line in the Texas Rangers’ 11-3 loss to the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ballpark.

Pence will be evaluated Monday in Arlington before the Rangers begins a seven-game homestand with four against the Cleveland Indians. Both Pence and Nomar Mazara (right hamstring tightness) will have MRIs as a precaution.

“Any time somebody comes off the field limping like that there’s a high level of concern, especially for what he brings to our ball club,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said.

“It looked like he got shot. It’s never a good sign. Hunter is kind of a freak so maybe he’ll be better than I anticipate. When you see a guy pull up like that it’s typically not a good sign. He’ll get an MRI tomorrow and hopefully it reveals something on the lesser side.”

If Pence is forced to go on the injured list, Willie Calhoun is likely to replace him on the roster.

Calhoun has been on the IL with a left quad strain since May 22. He started a rehab assignment on Thursday with Triple A Nashville and is eligible to return as soon as possible. Calhoun was 2-for-8 with and RBI in his first three games with Nashville.

Pence sounded optimistic after the game.

“It is already feeling a lot better,” Pence said. “So I definitely did not feel anything extraordinary so that’s a good sign. It grabbed on me a little but the fact that I feel a lot better, I’m moving pretty good, is a good sign.”

Injured outfielder Joey Gallo left Cincinnati on Sunday morning to work out with Double A Frisco before flying to Arizona to rehab in Surprise for a few days. He hopes to return from a left oblique strain by the end of the week when the Rangers start a three-game series Friday against the White Sox.

Mazara told Woodward he was feeling better Sunday so perhaps his injury won’t prove to be serious.

Pence hit his 15th homer in the third inning to tie the game at 3-3. The Reds reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the inning and then knocked starter Ariel Jurado from the game with four more runs in the fourth. Jurado was charged with a season-high seven runs on nine hits, including a two-run homer by Jesse Winker in the fourth.

Yasiel Puig also had a two-run homer in the fourth off Pete Fairbanks, which gave Cincinnati a five-run cushion after four.

Jurado faced three batters in the fourth without recording an out, including a leadoff triple by Reds starting pitcher Sonny Gray.

Shin-Soo Choo homered in the first to give Texas a brief 1-0 lead, and Pence’s two-run homer in the third tied it at 3-3 but the Reds’ offense took over after that. Choo and Danny Santana each had two of the Rangers’ hits.

Cincinnati batted around in the fifth and scored three more to push the lead to 11-3. Jeffrey Springs, who started the inning, did not retire a batter. He walked three and allowed two hits and was charged with three runs.

Shelby Miller finally ended the inning with a double play and lineout.

Texas went 4-3 on the seven-game trip, including a 2-2 split in Boston. Sunday’s dud was similar to a week ago when the Rangers finished a 7-4 homestand with a 9-8 loss to the Athletics.

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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.