ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Rangers outfielder Josh Smith was taken to a hospital after he was hit in the face by a pitch in the third inning of a 2-0 loss to the Baltimore Orioles on Monday night.
Smith, a left-handed hitter, was struck on the right side of his face by a 1-0 slider from Danny Coulombe. Smith spun back to his left and dropped to the dirt in the batter’s box, breaking his fall with his left hand while holding his face with his right hand.
“He got hit in the face area, in the lower jaw,” Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said. “We did take him to ER. He had some CT tests. They came out clean. So, we got good news there. He’s feeling better as I’m speaking right now. Tomorrow, we’ll just reevaluate him.”
Gunnar Henderson and Jorge Mateo homered for Baltimore, and Tyler Wells provided a lift with five hitless innings in relief.
Orioles right-hander Kyle Bradish departed with a bruised foot after he was struck by Jonah Heim’s liner with runners on first and second and one out in the second. The ball rolled to first baseman Ryan Mountcastle, who tagged the base with the runners moving up.
Coulombe (1-0) then got four outs before Wells entered. Felix Bautista pitched a perfect ninth inning for his second save.
Texas’ only hit was a second-inning infield single by Josh Jung. It was the first loss for the Rangers in four games under Bochy.
Wells, scheduled to start Tuesday night, told manager Brandon Hyde he was ready. He struck out two and walked none. He saved a bullpen that was taxed by three games in Boston in which the Red Sox scored nine runs in each game, leaving the O’s with an AL-worst 8.42 team ERA.
“You just got out there, and you do it,” said Wells, who was 7-7 in 23 starts last season. “You don’t even have time to think. Sometimes that works in your favor.”
“To do what he did was absolutely amazing,” Hyde said.
The end result was a shutout of an opponent that went into Monday leading the major leagues with 29 runs scored from a three-game sweep of the NL-champion Philadelphia Phillies.
Henderson, one of baseball’s top prospects, singled in the second and launched an opposite-field drive to left in the fourth. He went 0 for 8 in his first three games of the season.
“That was loud,” Hyde said of Henderson’s blast. “It just shows you how much power the guy has.”
Mateo pulled a homer in the fifth that went off the facing of the second deck in left.
Jon Gray (0-1) allowed four hits in 6 1/3 innings for the Rangers. Gray struck out seven and walked two. He referred to the two home runs as mistake pitches and said he was battling illness in recent days but felt better Monday.
The Orioles have hit nine homers, matching a Baltimore high for a season’s first four games (1966, 2000).
Orioles: C James McCann (left oblique strain) took swings before the game and ran the bases for the first time. McCann is eligible for activation on Thursday.
Andrew Heaney pitches for Texas on Tuesday night. The left-hander is the third and final offseason addition to Texas’ rotation to pitch this season. Heaney signed as a free agent in December after going 4-4 with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2022. As for the Orioles, “We’re a straight TBD,” Hyde said.
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