The Tampa Bay Rays are running out of superlatives to describe the way Tyler Glasnow is pitching.
The hard-throwing right-hander struck out a career-high 14 in 7 2/3 innings and Willy Adames homered in the seventh to help the AL champions beat the sputtering Texas Rangers 1-0 on Monday night.
Glasnow (1-0) allowed two hits and got his first win of the season after pitching well but not being involved in decisions in two previous starts. He allowed Eli White’s single up the middle off the glove of diving second baseman Brandon Lowe with one out in the fifth and Jose Trevino’s leadoff single in the eighth.
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“That was unbelievable. He’s going right at hitters,” said centerfielder Brett Phillips, who made a couple of nice defensive plays — one a sliding catch to rob White of a hit in the second inning, the other on a Trevino’s fourth-inning fly ball he ran down on the warning track in left-center.
“Outside of those, I could have put a lounge chair out there, put my head back and maybe got a water or something and watched him do his thing,” Phillips added. “That’s how impressive it was playing behind him.”
Adames homered off Taylor Hearn (0-1) with two outs in the seventh, just the third hit yielded by Texas pitchers. Rangers starter Dane Dunning limited the Rays to a pair of doubles in the first two innings before being replaced by Hearn at the start of the fifth.
Glasnow improved to 6-0 over his last 11 regular season games, and the AL champions have gone 10-1 in the those games.
The 6-foot-8 right-hander allowed one hit in six innings on opening day, exiting a scoreless tie before the Rays went on to win 1-0 at Miami. He yielded one run and four hits over six innings at Boston on April 6, departing with a 3-1 lead the Rays were unable to hold before losing in extra innings.
“If he continues to do what he’s been doing,” Adames said, “he’s going to be if not the best, then top two” in the AL.
“I think every night he takes the ball, if he’s healthy, he has a chance to do something special,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said.
Texas was shut out for the third time in four games.
The Rangers’ offensive struggles carried over from a six-game homestand in which they scored just 15 runs and batted .193 as a team. They were no-hit by San Diego’s Joe Musgrove last Friday and shut out two of the previous three games entering Monday night.
Glasnow didn’t make it any easier for them.
The Rays ace struck out the side in the first, third and sixth innings. The closest he came to giving up a hit before White singled was when White hit a sinking liner that Phillips went to the ground to catch with two outs in the second.
“The guy has elite stuff. … He’s really tough to hit,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said, adding his young hitters are still learning what it takes to be successful against some of the game’s best pitching.
“It was a tough test, clearly,” Woodward added.
Lefty Cody Reed relieved with two outs, and Diego Castillo escaped a ninth-inning jam to finish a combined three-hitter and get his third save.
Glasnow said he pleaded his case to finish the game, but not strenuously. Asked his reaction to White’s grounder getting through the infield for the first hit, the right-hander blamed himself for throwing a slider.
“I was more frustrated with my pitch selection,” Glasnow said. “I had hung two sliders beforehand, and I was just trying to not to even throw that one for a strike.”
The Rays received their AL championship rings before batting practice. Principal owner Stuart Sternberg and general manager Erik Neander spoke to the team before players were shown a short video featuring highlights from the 2020 pandemic-shortened season.
“They’re beautiful. … I think all of us were blown away by them,” center fielder Kevin Kiermaier said. “About as sexy as a ring could get without being a World Series champion.”
Rangers: OF David Dahl (calf tightness) was back in the lineup after missing one game. … RHP reliever Jonathan Hernandez had ligament reconstruction surgery, performed by team physician Dr. Keith Meister. … 3B Brock Holt resumed baseball activity, six days after straining his right hamstring. The Rangers are optimistic he will be ready when eligible to come off the injured list Saturday. … OF/DH Khris Davis (left quad strain) is still about two weeks before being a full-go medically and able to compete in games to prepare for his Rangers debut. … LF Ronald Guzman left the game in the first inning after injuring his right knee while chasing a pop fly caught by SS Isiah Kiner-Falefa.
Rays: Manager Kevin Cash said RHP Chris Archer, placed on the 10-day injured list after experiencing right lateral forearm tightness in a start last Saturday, may begin playing catch by the end of the week.
The four-game series continues Tuesday with the Rangers starting right-hander Kyle Gibson (1-0, 7.11) and the Rays countering with lefty Ryan Yarbrough (0-1, 5.06).