ARLINGTON, Texas — Nathaniel Lowe and Jonah Heim hit consecutive homers off former teammate Kyle Gibson, Martin Perez went six innings in his fifth scoreless start this season and the Texas Rangers beat the Philadelphia Phillies 7-0 on Tuesday night.
Lowe broke a 0-0 tie in the fifth with his solo shot before Heim also hit his ninth of the season in the Rangers’ eighth consecutive victory over the Phillies. It’s the longest winning streak for Texas against an NL team since interleague play began in 1997.
Marcus Semien and Kole Calhoun each connected on a two-run homer against Jeurys Familia in the eighth. Semien had three hits, including a double, before Corey Seager‘s RBI single when Gibson was still around in the sixth.
Perez (5-2) outdueled Gibson in the matchup of a lefty well on his way to a first All-Star nod in his second stint with the Rangers and a right-hander who was Texas’ opening day starter last year and a first-time All-Star.
Gibson (4-3), who allowed three runs and seven hits in 6 1/3 innings, was sent to the Phillies at the trade deadline last year, less than three weeks after throwing a scoreless inning in the midsummer classic.
It was just the fourth loss in 19 games for the Phillies, while interim manager Rob Thomson lost for the first time in six series openers since taking over after Joe Girardi was fired.
Thanks to a couple of early double plays, Gibson had faced the minimum number of hitters with two outs in the fifth when Lowe went the other way to left on the first pitch.
Heim pulled a 2-1 pitch just over an angled corner of the wall in right, the crowd’s reaction delayed by a leaping try from Nick Castellanos.
Perez helped himself by knocking down a two-out liner from Castellanos with two on when the game was still scoreless in the fifth. Shortstop Corey Seager scooped the roller that deflected off Perez’s glove and threw to first to end the inning.
The Phillies had runners on first and again in the sixth, this time with one out, when left fielder Kole Calhoun made a diving catch of Matt Vierling’s sinking liner.
Perez struck out six while pitching around six hits, three walks – all to Rhys Hoskins – and two wild pitches. The 31-year-old lowered his ERA to 1.96.
Phillies: Thomson said the infected blister on slugger Bryce Harper‘s left index finger was better and he could return to the lineup for the finale of the two-game series Wednesday. … Thomson said RHP Zach Eflin (right knee discomfort) was on track to start Saturday at San Diego after getting pulled after just two innings in Sunday’s 9-3 loss to the Nationals. … INF Johan Camargo (right knee strain) was activated off the 10-day IL.
Rangers: C/DH Mitch Garver (COVID-19) and rookie 3B Josh Smith (left shoulder sprain) were activated and in the lineup. … RHP Glenn Otto (COVID-19) was scheduled for a rehab start with Triple-A Round Rock on Tuesday night.
Texas opening day starter Jon Gray (2-3, 4.27 ERA) is set to try to build on his best back-to-back starts of the season, facing Phillies RHP Zack Wheeler (6-3, 2.69). Gray is coming off seven scoreless innings in 7-0 win at Detroit after allowing one run with 10 strikeouts in six innings while getting a no-decision in an 8-6 victory over the Chicago White Sox. Wheeler has allowed just two runs in 21 career innings against the Rangers.