ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Nate Lowe hit a solo homer and Texas rookie Kohei Arihara got his first major league victory, pitching into the sixth inning Wednesday night as the Rangers beat the Tampa Bay Rays 5-1.
Arihara (1-1) allowed two singles and a double over 5 2/3 scoreless innings in his third start since signing with the Rangers after six seasons with the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters of Japan’s Pacific League. He struck out five and walked none.
“I obviously was glad I could contribute to the team winning. I hope I can continue to do that,” Arihara said through a translator. “It’s a good start. … Obviously, I’m very happy.”
Lowe, a former Rays draft pick traded from Tampa Bay to Texas in December, homered against ex-teammate Josh Fleming (0-1) for a 1-0 lead the Rangers clung to until David Dahl’s two-run double and Adolis García’s two-run triple broke it open in the seventh.
Lowe snapped an 0-for-19 slump during an 8-3 win over the Rays the previous night. He and Fleming are golf buddies and Lowe may have benefited Wednesday night by having faced the Rays starter numerous times when the two were at Tampa Bay’s alternate training site together last year.
“That was sweet,” Lowe said. “I tried to take the emotion out of it, but I’ll take success against whoever.”
Fleming credited Lowe with “a good piece of hitting.”
“If anyone’s going to get a hit or a home run or whatever it may be, it better not be him. And sure enough, he’s the one to take me deep,” Fleming said. “But that how it goes sometimes.”
Arihara, a 28-year-old right-hander, worked out of a jam after allowing a single to Yandy Diaz and double to Joey Wendle to begin the second inning by getting Manuel Margot to pop to left field and striking out Yoshi Tsutsugo and…