Corey Kluber excelled again at Globe Life Field, pitching six solid innings as the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Texas Rangers 3-1 on Thursday.
In his previous appearance at the ballpark, Kluber threw a no-hitter at Texas on May 19, 2021, while with the New York Yankees.
In his only other game at Globe Life Field, which opened in July 2020 during the pandemic-delayed season, he left after one inning and 18 pitches in his only start as a member of the Rangers. He tore a muscle in his pitching shoulder and was lost for the rest of that year.
Kluber allowed one run and four hits, striking out four and walking none. The two-time AL Cy Young Award winner matched his longest outing of the season.
Kluber said he didn’t think about that no-hitter during the afternoon.
“Maybe the fact that it was the fourth game of the series and got all my stuff out of the way whether it be reminiscing or memories or whatever early on, so, not really,” Kluber said.
Vidal Brujan hit an RBI double in the second inning and Yandy Diaz singled home a run in the third for Tampa Bay.
Brujan, in his second major league season, made his first big league start at shortstop, with Wander Franco on the injured list. Brujan’s four assists without an error included all three outs in the bottom of the ninth, some making stops deep in the hole and long throws.
“Those first ones at the big league level you wonder how it’s going to go,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “He couldn’t have been better.”
The Rays won the last two games of the four-game road series to earn a split, repeating what they did at Yankee Stadium in their previous series, and are back to a season-best nine games over .500.
The Rangers have lost two straight after reaching .500 for the first time since May 2021.
The lone run off Kluber (2-2) was a two-out, first-pitch home run by Marcus Semien that was pulled down the left-field line in the sixth.
Ryan Thompson, the fifth Rays reliever, pitched a perfect ninth for his third save in six chances this season.
Diaz, Manuel Margot and Harold Ramirez each had two hits for the Rays. Margot reached base four times after coming in hitless in his previous 12 at-bats.
Semien’s homer was his second of the season, both in his last six games, after going homerless in his first 43 games this season. He hit 45 last season for Toronto, the most ever for a primary second baseman in the majors.
Taylor Hearn (3-4) allowed all three Rays runs on six hits and four walks. Five consecutive Rays reached base in a two-run third inning during which Hearn walked three. Texas manager Chris Woodward said Hearn pitched while sick.
The Rangers left two runners on in the seventh and eighth innings and were 1 for 7 overall with runners in scoring position. The first left on was Josh Smith, who doubled leading off the first but never advanced.
“Kluber was tough,” said Woodward, who was Kluber’s manager in 2020. “We had a chance early on … couldn’t find a way to get him across.
Jonah Heim doubled and singled for Texas. He tried to stretch his fourth-inning drive into the right-field corner with none out into a double but was thrown out by Margot on a fly by a wide margin.
REMEMBERING P.K. ON LOU GERHIG DAY
On the majors’ second annual Lou Gehrig Day, the Rays remembered Paul Kirsch. Their former senior scouting supervisor was diagnosed with ALS in 2018 and died at age 65 last September from complications following a COVID-19 infection despite being vaccinated.
“P.K. was thought so highly by so many in our organization,” Cash said.
Rays: LHP Shane McClanahan (5-2, 2.01 ERA) will take a four-game winning streak into Friday night’s opener of a three-game home series against the Chicago White Sox and RHP Vince Velasquez (2-3, 5.30).
Rangers: RHP Dane Dunning (1-3, 4.31) is 0-2 in his last five starts and will face Seattle RHP Logan Gilbert (5-2, 2.29) as Texas continues a seven-game homestand on Friday night.