ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Rich Hill pitched another five scoreless innings as the Tampa Bay Rays blanked the Texas Rangers 3-0 on Saturday.
Hill (5-2) struck out three and allowed two hits while throwing 59 pitches. That was three more pitches than the 41-year-old left-hander threw in five scoreless innings on the final day of May last Monday against the Yankees in New York.
Diego Castillo, the fourth Rays reliever, struck out the side in the ninth for his ninth save in 11 chances and to cap the team’s fifth shutout victory this season. Texas, which had four hits, was held scoreless for the seventh time.
Austin Meadows, the third batter of the game, had a two-run single off Kolby Allard (1-2). Manuel Margot hit a solo homer in the eighth for the Rays (37-23), who have AL’s best record and are 32-15 since mid-April after losing three in a row at home to Texas.
With his 10th team in his 17 big league seasons, Hill allowed 16 earned runs over 16 1/3 innings in his first four starts for the Rays, including four runs in 4 1/3 innings in a no-decision at home against Texas on April 15. But he has an 0.98 ERA (five earned runs over his 45 2/3 innings) his last eight starts, including 3-1 with an 0.78 ERA in his six May starts.
Adolis Garcia walked in the first against Hill, but was caught stealing when trying to advance on a ball in the dirt. Garcia grounded a single through the vacant right side of the shifted Rays infield in the fourth for the first Texas hit. The only other hit off Hill, which led to him waving his arm in frustration, was Charlie Culberson’s grounder down the opposite line that rolled into the right-field corner for a triple in the fifth.
Allard, a 23-year right-hander in his second consecutive starter after 10 relief appearances to open the season, allowed two runs and three hits in a season-high five innings.
After Allard walked leadoff hitter Margot, Yandy Diaz had a single before the single by Meadows, who has 46 RBIs overall — 10 in the past six games, and 37 over a 30-game stretch. Allard later had four strikeouts in a row while retiring the last 10 batters he faced. The lefty finished with six strikeouts and his only walk being the one that started the game.
Rangers: C Jose Trevino took a foul tip off his right (throwing) forearm when fellow C Mike Zunino was batting in the second inning. Texas manager Chris Woodward and a trainer visited Trevino, who took a moment to gather himself before making a few throws and staying in the game until getting lifted for a pinch-hitter in the eighth.
The Rays will go with a bullpen day after deciding to push back workhorse RH Tyler Glasnow (4-2, 2.69) for an extended break, with the team off Monday before he will now pitch Tuesday. Manager Kevin Cash said there are no health issues and that the move “should not raise any questions.” Rangers rookie right-hander Dane Dunning (2-4, 4.67) is set to make his 12th start of the season.
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