Texas Rangers third baseman Josh Jung runs the bases after hitting a three-run home run against the Tampa Bay Rays in the first inning at Tropicana Field. [Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports]

Tampa Bay Rays Dominated At Home, 9-3

After splitting the series with American League East rival Toronto to start the season, the Tampa Bay Rays were thrashed 9-3 by the Texas Rangers in the first game of a three-game home series Monday at Tropicana Field.

Texas Takeover

It didn’t take Texas (3-1) long to take control. After starting with an 0-2 count, Marcus Semien managed to walk. Evan Carter then got on base with a ground ball to second. With two away, Josh Jung stepped into the batter’s box. On the 1-0 count, he sent an 86-mph changeup into the left field bleachers for a three-run home run.

Former UF pitcher Dane Dunning started on the mound for the Rangers. He threw just seven pitches in the top of the first, which included striking out third baseman Yandy Díaz.

Another Gator great Wyatt Langford tried to do too much. In the fourth, Langford made it to second base after a ground ball to the left side. He continued running to third base after the shortstop threw the ball to first. The early first-round draft pick didn’t stop there and continued to home plate. Rays’ pitcher Ryan Pepiot saw this and made it to home plate to tag Langford out to close the inning.

No runs were scored until the top of the sixth inning. Pepiot struggled to find the strike zone and walked Carter. On the 3-2 count with a man at first and third, Jung brought a runner home yet again with a single to make it 4-0. The pitcher was able to strike out Langford to end on a high note as the Rays made a pitching change.

Chris Devenski stepped onto the mound. As Jung attempted to steal second base, catcher René Pinto threw a wild ball to second. Carter pranced his way to home plate while Jung went to third. On the next pitch, Jared Walsh singled to score Jung and a 6-0 lead.

Rays Retaliate

Tampa Bay (2-3) seemed to nearly regroup and make a comeback. With one away in the seventh, Richie Palacious hit a solo home run to right field.

With a runner on first, center fielder José Siri hit his first home run of the season to cut the Rangers’ lead in half.

Texas then decided to reach into its bullpen and take Dunning out.

Rangers Reign

The Rays comeback was short-lived as Adolis García smashed in his third homer of the season in the eighth.

García and the Rangers weren’t done yet. With the bases loaded in the ninth, the outfielder was hit by the pitch. As he shook the pain away from his left hand, Travis Jankowski walked home.

On the next at bat, there was bad news for the Rangers. Jung fractured his wrist after getting hit by a pitch. Josh Smith inherited Jung’s two-strike count and walked. Corey Seager walked home for the game’s final run.

Up Next

The Rays have a chance for redemption tonight when they play the Rangers in the second game of the series. Orlando native Zach Eflin is expected to start on the mound. He is coming off of a loss against the Toronto Blue Jays where he allowed six runs in an 8-2 loss on opening day.

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