Austin Bibens-Dirkx outpitched Max Scherzer on Sunday and lifted the Texas Rangers to a 5-1 victory over the Washington Nationals (video by Jeff Wilson). jwilson@star-telegram.com
Austin Bibens-Dirkx outpitched Max Scherzer on Sunday and lifted the Texas Rangers to a 5-1 victory over the Washington Nationals (video by Jeff Wilson). jwilson@star-telegram.com

Texas Rangers

Rangers’ 3-game sweep of Nationals as easy as ABD

June 11, 2017 8:02 PM

WASHINGTON

Getaway day at Nationals Park featured a pitching mismatch, career minor leaguer Austin Bibens-Dirkx against two-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer.

After two Washington Nationals batters, it appeared a mismatch might play out.

Homer. Single. A .341 hitter coming up.

But this is baseball, where the unexpected happens each day and where every player in a big league uniform is capable of doing something great.

That’s what Bibens-Dirkx did for the Texas Rangers.

Bibens-Dirkx allowed only one run on three hits in seven innings and at one point retired 19 consecutive batters before the Rangers broke through with a four-run eighth inning en route to a 5-1 victory and a three-game sweep.

Elvis Andrus delivered the big hit, a two-run triple, and Shin-Soo Choo provided the Rangers with an early run against Scherzer with a solo shot in the third.

Sunday, though, was ABD Day.

“That’s great feeling,” Bibens-Dirkx said. “One out at a time. Being another spot start, I’m just trying to get as many outs before they take the ball from me. That’s what I did today. I guess it was quite a few.”

The 19 in a row is a club rookie record. The streak broke the mark of 18 done by four pitchers, most recently Matt Harrison in 2008. But it didn’t look like Bibens-Dirkx would get two in a row out.

Brian Goodwin started with a leadoff homer, and Bryce Harper followed with a single on a first-pitch fastball. Bibens-Dirkx and catcher Jonathan Lucroy then started mixing in different pitches, believing that the Nationals’ game plan was to attack fastballs.

The next batter was Daniel Murphy, one of the National League’s top hitters. He rolled into a double play, and Anthony Rendon bounced out to end the inning. The Nationals didn’t have another base runner until Rendon singled with two outs in the seventh inning.

Lucroy says unconventional pitch mix helped Bibens-Dirkx

Texas Rangers catcher Jonathan Lucroy said that he and Austin Bibens-Dirk went a little off-course with their game plan in beating the Washington Nationals (video by Jeff Wilson).

jwilson@star-telegram.com

“He threw a lot of strikes and threw pitches,” Lucroy said. “I felt like against these guys you’ve got to call a pretty unconventional game against them. They’re a pretty good hitting team. In order to keep them off-balance, you have to mix a lot.”

The Nationals threatened against him in the seventh, when Rendon singled with two outs and Adam Lind drew the only walk issued by a Rangers pitcher. After a mound visit designed to let a tiring Bibens-Dirkx catch his breath, he threw a curveball that Matt Wieters grounded to first.

Only an afternoon earlier, Bibens-Dirkx had told his wife and friends that, “I have to face Scherzer.” They responded, “No, you get to face Scherzer.”

That helped him realize that he belongs on the same field.

“I was able to be successful today and beat one of the best guys in the game,” Bibens-Dirkx said.

Choo countered the Goodwin homer in the third with a two-out shot off Scherzer, who retired 14 of the next 15 batters as a pitching duel settled in. But Rendon bobbled a Delino DeShields grounder with one out in the eighth, opening the floodgates.

The Rangers scored four times on only one hit. They took advantage of an error on Rendon on a DeShields grounder, and Jurickson Profar drew a walk after falling behind in the count 0-2.

Jeff Banister says sweep could build momentum for Rangers

The Texas Rangers swept three games from the Washington Nationals, and manager Jeff Banister said it could be the start of something (video by Jeff Wilson).

jwilson@star-telegram.com

That ended Scherzer’s day and brought in lefty specialist Oliver Perez, who promptly walked Choo on four pitches to load the bases. Blake Treinen then entered, and his first pitch got away from Wieters, and DeShields raced home with the go-ahead run.

Later in the at-bat Andrus sent a bounder over third and into the left-field corner as Profar and Choo scored.

Nomar Mazara followed with a sacrifice fly, Jose Leclerc and Alex Claudio tossed a perfect inning apiece, and the Rangers backed their bags for Houston with momentum on their side.

“When we talk about confidence, momentum, belief, they never waver in those categories,” manager Jeff Banister said. “What it does do is it fills up that pitcher of confidence and resilience these guys play off.”

Bibens-Dirkx delivered much of the momentum Sunday by outdueling Scherzer.

“A very gutsy performance by Austin going against a premier pitcher in major league baseball,” Banister said. “Soft contact really all day long. He kept these guys off-balance all day.”

Texas

001

000

040

5

4

0

Washington

100

000

000

1

3

1

Texas AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

Choo rf

3

2

2

1

1

0

.255

Andrus ss

4

1

1

2

0

2

.301

Mazara lf

3

0

0

1

0

1

.288

Beltre 3b

4

0

0

0

0

1

.333

Odor 2b

4

0

1

0

0

1

.206

Lucroy c

4

0

0

0

0

1

.260

Gallo 1b

3

0

0

0

1

1

.201

DeShields cf

4

1

0

0

0

2

.293

Bibens-Dirkx p

2

0

0

0

0

2

.000

Profar ph

0

1

0

0

1

0

.114

Hoying cf

0

0

0

0

0

0

.232

Totals 31

5

4

4

3

11

Washington AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

Goodwin lf

3

1

1

1

0

0

.226

Raburn ph

1

0

0

0

0

0

.214

Harper rf

4

0

1

0

0

0

.320

Murphy 2b

4

0

0

0

0

0

.335

Rendon 3b

3

0

1

0

0

0

.288

Lind 1b

2

0

0

0

1

0

.325

Wieters c

3

0

0

0

0

0

.264

Drew ss

3

0

0

0

0

2

.267

Taylor cf

3

0

0

0

0

2

.246

Scherzer p

2

0

0

0

0

0

.138

Difo ph

1

0

0

0

0

1

.184

Totals 29

1

3

1

1

5

E—Rendon (5). LOB—Texas 3, Washington 2. 3B—Andrus (2). HR—Choo (9), off Scherzer; Goodwin (2), off Bibens-Dirkx. RBIs—Choo (29), Andrus 2 (35), Mazara (41), Goodwin (7). SB—DeShields (13), Profar (1). SF—Mazara. Runners left in scoring position—Washington 1 (Wieters). RISP—Texas 1 for 1; Washington 0 for 1. GIDP—Murphy. DP—Texas 1 (Odor, Andrus, Gallo).

Texas

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

Bibens-Dirkx, W, 2-0

7

3

1

1

1

2

94

3.28

Leclerc

1

0

0

0

0

3

13

1.84

Claudio

1

0

0

0

0

0

9

2.59

Washington

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

Schrzr, L, 7-4

7 1/3

3

3

2

1

10

109

2.36

Perez

0

0

1

1

1

0

4

4.97

Treinen

 2/3

1

1

1

0

0

9

6.33

Blanton

1

0

0

0

1

1

24

8.78

Perez pitched to 1 batter in the 8th. Inherited runners-scored—Perez 2-0, Treinen 3-3. PB—Wieters (4). Umpires—Home, Tichenor; First, Hamari; Second, O’Nora; Third, Additon. T—2:53. A—32,027 (41,418).

Rangers at Astros

7:10 p.m. Monday, FSSW, Root

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