ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Aroldis Chapman's first win since being traded to Texas came after the hard-throwing Cuban unleashed the two fastest pitches of the Statcast era for the Rangers.
A 100 mph fastball from Pete Fairbanks sank the Tampa Bay Rays in the opener of a series matching AL division leaders.
Pinch-runner Josh Smith scored on Fairbanks' wild pitch with two outs in the ninth inning, giving the Rangers a 3-2 victory Monday night.
Chapman (5-2), acquired from Kansas City in a trade late last month, threw a pair of 102.8 mph sinkers while striking out the side in the ninth.
The 35-year-old left-hander's first win with Texas came two days after his first save for the Rangers, when he threw the previous fastest Statcast pitch for the club at 102.5 mph in a 2-0 victory over Cleveland.
The longtime closer still isn't in that role for Texas - lefty Will Smith has it - but Chapman was manager Bruce Bochy's choice in the top of the ninth with the score tied.
“I said he would change this club, this bullpen, he’d make us a much better team,” Bochy said. “And he’s done that.”
All-Star rookie Josh Jung led off the bottom of the ninth with a double and was replaced by Smith, who went to third with two outs on Nathaniel Lowe's groundout. The 1-1 pitch from Fairbanks (0-3) to Mitch Garver, a 100.4 mph fastball, went past catcher Christian Bethancourt, allowing the speedy Smith to score easily.
“It looked like he just yanked the heater,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “You trust Pete is going to get nasty at the right time. He just got maybe a little bit too nasty and yanked the fastball.”
The Rangers improved to 4-0 since the All-Star break, with three of the victories coming on rallies in the sixth inning or later. One of the wins for the AL West leaders was their first in 28 tries when trailing after seven.
Tampa Bay All-Star left-hander Shane McClanahan allowed one hit through five innings and had a 2-0 lead in his return from back stiffness that kept him out of last week's festivities in Seattle.
McClanahan had retired 14 consecutive batters and faced the minimum when Robbie Grossman opened the sixth with an infield single. Ezequiel Duran tied it with an opposite-field home run into the Texas bullpen in right-center.
McClanahan gave up three hits and two runs in six innings, leaving after 69 pitches in his first start since June 30 for the AL East-leading Rays. They still have the best record in the American League despite a 3-9 mark in July.
Back stiffness had forced McClanahan out of consecutive starts without completing four innings before he went on the 15-day injured list. He threw 66 pitches in both of those outings.
“It felt good to feel like myself again. I feel like I had everything working tonight,” McClanahan said. “It stinks, the end result, but I feel like I have a lot of good stuff to work off of from tonight.”
Josh Lowe, the younger brother of Texas first baseman Nathaniel Lowe, also put one in the Texas bullpen, pulling a solo shot off Dane Dunning for a 2-0 Tampa Bay lead in the second.
ANOTHER RETURNING RAY
Yandy Díaz, returning from the paternity list after the birth of his first child a day after homering in the All-Star Game, singled to start the game when his liner caromed off Dunning's left foot. He scored on Randy Arozarena's sacrifice fly.
Rays: RHP Taj Bradley (5-5, 5.43 ERA) has allowed 16 earned runs in 12 1/3 innings over his past three starts. The 22-year-old rookie took the loss in Texas' lone victory during a three-game series at Tampa Bay, 8-4 on June 10.
Rangers: RHP Nathan Eovaldi (10-3, 2.83) makes his first start since throwing a scoreless inning in the AL's 3-2 loss in the All-Star Game. He is 9-1 over his past 15 starts.
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