Texas Rangers starter Andrew Heaney looked up around the sixth inning and realized just how quickly their game was going against the Chicago White Sox.
It was a well-pitched game on both sides, and the Rangers had just enough offense.
Heaney struck out 11 without a walk while throwing two-hit ball over six innings, Mitch Garver and Adolis Garcia hit solo homers and the AL West-leading Rangers won 2-0 on Tuesday night in a game that took only 1 hour, 58 minutes to play -- their shortest nine-inning game since 2007.
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You're definitely always trying to put up zeroes, trying to have quick innings, get guys back in the dugout," Heaney said. "We pitched in a lot of games where were had some huge leads and you want to just be quick and keep it moving, and you're not maybe uptight about kind of like, they, were in a 0-0 game, or 1-0 game, like one mistake changes the course of this game. So, yeah, I think there is a heightened focus."
Josh Sborz and Aroldis Chapman each pitched an inning before Will Smith's perfect ninth for his 18th save in 20 chances to wrap up the Rangers' eighth shutout this season. The quartet of pitchers combined for a season-high 16 strikeouts without a walk while Chicago had only three singles. It was the first time in Rangers franchise history they had that many Ks while not giving up a free pass and allowing three hits or less.
White Sox rookie Jesse Scholtens (1-4) struck out six, walked one and hit a batter over his six innings. The right-hander and two relievers limited Texas to four hits -- the two solo homers and two singles by All-Star second baseman Marcus Semien.
"He mixed it up ... had a good pace," White Sox manager Pedro Grifol said of Scholtens. "He did a really good job against a tough lineup."
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Garver, the starting catcher with All-Star Jonah Hein on the injured list, put Texas ahead with his sixth homer. He went deep off Scholtens in the fifth inning.
"That was cool," Garver said. "Heaney threw the ball really well, and I was able to help him out"
Heaney (8-6) won his third consecutive decision over his last four starts. He is only the fifth MLB pitcher since pitches were first tracked in 1988 to have 11 strikeouts on 80 pitches or less. The last to do it was Max Scherzer, the three-time Cy Young Award winner acquired by the Rangers over the weekend -- he did it last season for the New York Mets at Cincinnati.
"'He pitched one of his best games this year and we needed it," Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said. "As you saw, we couldn't do much offensively. A couple of home runs saved us there. But their guy pitched very well. That's what you need, so a great job by Andrew."
Garcia's 26th homer, and AL-leading 85th RBI, came in the seventh.
The Rangers (61-46) had lost seven of their previous nine games. They were coming off being swept in three games at San Diego over the weekend, during which they acquired Scherzer, left-handed starter Jordan Montgomery and reliever Chris Stratton.
Chicago lost for the eighth time in 10 games while having only three hits and being held scoreless for the ninth time this season. The White Sox (43-65) made three deals Tuesday, part of six deals overall since last week when they traded six pitchers and an infielder.
The last time the Rangers played a quicker nine-inning game was Sept. 30, 2007, a season-ending 4-2 loss at Seattle.
The Rangers acquired C Austin Hedges from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for international bonus pool money just before Tuesday's trade deadline. Texas was looking for depth behind the plate with Heim on the injured list with a strained tendon in his left wrist. Texas traded RHP Spencer Howard to the New York Yankees in exchange for cash considerations. ... Chicago on Tuesday traded Kenyan Middleton to the Yankees for RHP Juan Carela, INF Jake Burger (25 homers) to Miami for LHP Jake Eder, and acquired RHP Luis Patino from Tampa Bay for cash considerations.
Dane Dunning (8-4, 3.28 ERA) will start for the Rangers in the middle game of the three-game series. RHP Dylan Cease (4-4, 4.15), who is 1-1 over his last 11 starts, goes for the White Sox.