ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Kyle Gibson had no problem with his second scheduled start for Baltimore getting moved up a day. The veteran right-hander had plenty of motivation after what led to that switch.
Ryan Mountcastle and Jorge Mateo homered early and Gibson pitched seven solid innings as the Orioles beat the Texas Rangers 7-2 on Tuesday night.
Gibson (2-0) was supposed to start the series finale Wednesday, but pitched a day earlier after Tuesday’s scheduled starter, Tyler Wells, threw five no-hit innings of relief in the series opener. Baltimore’s pitching plans got altered when starter Kyle Bradish took a liner off his right foot and exited with a bruise in the second inning Monday night.
“I don’t think we can say enough what Ty Wells did for this team last night. … That set us up to me not needing to do seven innings tonight,” Gibson said. “I mean, I was thankful I was able to do it, but what a job by him. When we found out he was going in, they asked me if I could throw today. I said, it’s a no-brainer.”
After signing a $10 million, one-year contract with the Orioles in free agency, the 35-year-old Gibson started their opener. Since that was last Thursday and there was a day off after that, the right-hander was working on normal rest. He threw 58 of 88 pitches for strikes and finished by striking out the side in the seventh. He fanned five overall without a walk.
“It was the start we needed,” Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde said. “He had a really good slider and changeup, just pitched both sides of the plate, kept them off balance. … Just a true veteran start.”
Mountcastle hit a towering, three-run homer to cap a five-run second inning, and Mateo’s two-run shot in the third chased Andrew Heaney from his Rangers debut. It was the second homer of the season for both hitters.
The Orioles have multiple homers in the first five games of a season for only the second time in team history. They matched the franchise record set by the 1994 team.
Adolis García and Nathaniel Lowe homered off Gibson for the Rangers, who have lost eight in a row to Baltimore.
Heaney (0-1) was the third starter to make his Rangers debut in the season’s first week, following Jacob deGrom and Nathan Eovaldi. The lefty, who signed a $25 million, two-year contract in the offseason, allowed seven runs and seven hits over 2 2/3 innings.
“Stuff-wise, it just wasn’t crisp,” Heaney said. “Not how I wanted to start the season.”
Mountcastle’s opposite-field homer that ricocheted off the right-field foul pole traveled a projected 348 feet — the shortest of any of his 62 career home runs. Mateo went deep for the second night in a row after a two-homer game last season at Globe Life Field, where he’s hit four of his 19 career home runs.
Dane Dunning and Taylor Hearn combined for 6 1/3 scoreless innings and allowed only one hit after Heaney was pulled. That lowered the ERA for Rangers relievers to a major league-low 0.83, including a scoreless streak of 18 1/3 innings since opening day.
“Very, very encouraging in the early go here with what’s going on with the bullpen,” manager Bruce Bochy said.
Orioles: Hyde said before the game that Bradish was sore and “pretty tender” and there was a possibility the right-hander could end up on the injured list. … INF/DH Gunnar Henderson got a game off after a ball ricocheted off his hand when playing the field Monday night, but afterward said he felt good.
Rangers: LF Josh Smith had six stitches, a cut inside his mouth and some minor swelling a day after getting hit in the face by a pitch. The Rangers have no immediate plans to put him on the IL.
The series finale Wednesday, when two-time NL Cy Young Award winner deGrom makes his second start for Rangers since signing a $185 million, five-year contract. The right-hander allowed five runs over 3 2/3 innings in a no-decision against Philadelphia in the season opener. Hyde didn’t reveal a starter after Tuesday night’s game.
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