SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Jon Gray cherished being part of Bruce Bochy’s special night back in San Francisco.
All week long, Bochy reminded everybody this is an important stretch of baseball for his Texas Rangers — and Gray pitched them to victory in his manager’s homecoming at Oracle Park. And how fitting they won with a little bit of that old close-game “torture” Bochy’s Giants used to play.
“Yeah, that was a little bit of the torture game,” he said.
Nathaniel Lowe homered with two outs in the sixth for the Rangers to break up a scoreless game, Mitch Garver connected one pitch later and Bochy beat his former San Francisco club 2-1 on Friday night as everyone welcomed him back with love and fanfare.
Fans appreciate Bochy
“It’s really cool to see the baseball fans here, they don’t forget anything,” Gray said. “To see how much they appreciate Bochy and just to welcome him back it was really awesome. That place was rocking, it was loud. You know how much Bochy means to this city and this club. It was great to see that. It was really cool playing on this field and having Boch on my side.”
Gray (8-5) struck out seven and didn’t walk a batter while allowing two hits over seven scoreless innings as AL West-leading Texas notched the best 116-game record in franchise history by improving to 69-47.
Lowe’s 14th drive of the year splashed into McCovey Cove beyond the wall in right field, the 163rd home run to reach the water in ballpark history, 61st by an opponent and fourth by a Rangers player — first since Shin-Soo Shoo on Aug. 2, 2020.
During pregame introductions, Bochy received a warm standing ovation and emerged from the dugout with waves and a tip of his cap in appreciation. Fans in the crowd of 35,689 chanted “Bochy! Bochy!”
In the middle of the third inning, the Giants showed a tribute video on the big scoreboard and fans roared again as the 68-year-old Bochy watched from the top dugout step and then waved, tipped his cap and touched his heart.
“That was really really cool for me, and the fans, I can’t thank them enough,” Bochy said. “They’ve been so great for me, and you never know how you’re going to be received when you come back. It’s a little emotional. It’s a big game so try to be locked in on that but still, pretty cool, I can’t thank them enough.”
He remains revered for his 13-year tenure managing San Francisco that included winning World Series titles in 2010, ’12 and ’14.
“It’s special to be back in this ballpark. I can’t say enough about my tremendous time here, 13 wonderful years,” said Bochy, who departed after the 2019 season.
Aroldis Chapman escaped trouble in the eighth then Will Smith closed out his former team for his 22nd save. He allowed a leadoff double to pinch-hitter Heliot Ramos, who advanced to third on an error and scored on Thairo Estrada’s swinging bunt.
Ross Stripling (0-5) took over in the second for Giants opener Scott Alexander and gave up the back-to-back home runs among five hits surrendered over five innings.
The Rangers brought up OF J.P. Martinez from Triple-A Round Rock and he became the club’s second rookie to make his major league debut on this trip, joining INF Jonathan Ornelas. Martinez batted sixth and played left field, finishing 0 for 3. … OF Travis Jankowski went on the paternity list.
Rangers: C Jonah Heim took live batting practice as he recovers from a tendon strain in his left wrist and worked out in his catcher’s gear. Heim isn’t having any pain when hitting and could be ready to return soon. “He’s on his way, that’s good news,” Bochy said. … RHP Nathan Eovaldi (strained forearm in pitching side) is scheduled to throw a bullpen Saturday.
Giants: OF Mike Yastrzemski (strained left hamstring) did some baserunning and is able to participate in full baseball activity. … OF Mitch Haniger (right forearm fracture) is scheduled to hit batting practice in the cage Saturday with the coaches. … RHP John Brebbia (lat strain on pitching side) threw a 25-pitch bullpen session.
LHP Andrew Heaney (9-6, 4.14 ERA) seeks his first career double-digit win season as he takes the mound Saturday night for the Rangers riding a four-game winning streak since a July 8 loss at Washington. The Giants will counter with RHP Alex Cobb (6-3, 3.30) as he looks to snap a five-start winless stretch.