ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer settled down after a shaky start to win his debut for the AL West-leading Texas Rangers, striking out nine over six innings and getting some help from his new teammates as they beat the Chicago White Sox 5-3 on Thursday.
Four of Chicago’s first five batters reached base in a three-run first inning when Scherzer (10-4) threw 37 pitches. The White Sox then had three singles in the second, though Scherzer benefitted from a double-play grounder and an inning-ending strikeout to prevent any more runs.
Scherzer, acquired from the New York Mets in a trade over the weekend and signed through next season, allowed seven singles and walked two. The right-hander retired 13 of the last 14 batters he faced, with seven of his strikeouts coming in that span. A week after his 39th birthday, he threw 70 of 105 pitches for strikes, with 21 of those swing-and-miss strikes.
Mitch Garver led off the Rangers’ fourth against Touki Toussaint (1-4) with a 457-foot homer into the second deck of seats in left-center to tie the game at 3. Three batters later, Marcus Semien homered for the second game in a row, his 17th of the season, a solo shot that put Texas ahead to stay.
Garver added an RBI single in the eighth as the Rangers completed a three-game sweep. The White Sox, who have lost 18 of 24 overall, had scored only one run combined in their previous three games before that three-run first inning.
Will Smith worked the ninth for his 19th save in 21 chances. That came after Josh Sborz and Aroldis Chapman, the hard-throwing reliever acquired in a trade from Kansas City more than a month ago, worked scoreless innings.
Tim Anderson and Andrew Benintendi both blooped opposite-field singles on 0-1 counts to open the game against Scherzer, who then struck out Andrew Vaughn before consecutive walks — the second to Yasmani Grandal to force in a run.
Scherzer then picked up another strikeout and had a 0-2 count before Gavin Sheets grounded a two-run single up the middle to put the White Sox up 3-0.
Toussaint struck out nine and walked four in his 5 1/3 innings.
Josh Smith had an RBI double in the second for the Rangers, and Adolis Garcia extended his AL-leading RBI total to 86 with his single in the third.
White Sox: CF Trayce Thompson (oblique strain), reacquired last week from the Dodgers in the trade that sent Lance Lynn and Joe Kelly to Los Angeles, was reinstated from the 60-day injured list and started in his return.
Rangers: RHP Jon Gray (bruised left shin) is on track to pitch Saturday, which would be only his second start since being struck by a comebacker on July 19. He started again five days after that, but the Rangers skipped his last turn in the rotation. Gray felt good Thursday, a day after throwing a bullpen session.
White Sox: RHP Mike Clevinger (4-4, 3.59) pitches against his former team in the opener of a three-game series at Cleveland.
Rangers: Left-hander Jordan Montgomery, acquired Sunday from St. Louis, makes his Texas debut Friday night at home in a series opener against Miami. He was 6-9 with a 3.42 ERA in 21 starts for the last-place Cardinals.
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