Jack Leiter struggles in MLB debut as Rangers hold off Tigers

The Texas Rangers overcame a rough major league debut from Jack Leiter to hold off the Detroit Tigers in the finale of their four-game series Thursday.

Leiter, the No. 2 overall draft selection in 2021 and the son of former big-league-left-hander Al Leiter, struck out two in a scoreless first inning but struggled after that. The hard-throwing right-hander lasted just 3⅔ innings, allowing seven runs and eight hits with three walks and three strikeouts.

“He was all right,” Texas manager Bruce Bochy said. “He had a little trouble hitting his spots in the second inning but he came right back in the third and got two quick outs in the fourth before he ran into trouble.”

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Leiter stated it was “a surreal experience” to make his major league debut.

“It’s something you dream about since you were a little kid. Being around the game always, it’s a special day. I know I’m better and I need to be better, and I will be better. And that’s kind of the frustration is some pitches that I left on the table and some mistakes that I made,” he said.

The Rangers held on to win the matinee contest, however, thanks to a 13-hit outburst that included a two-run home run from Jonah Heim and solo shots by Marcus Semien and Adolis Garcia.

Detroit rallied for four runs off Leiter in the second to forge a 4-4 tie, but Texas retook the lead in the third on Garcia’s homer and went ahead 7-4 in the top of the fourth when Evan Carter plated Semien on a sacrifice fly.

The Tigers once again tied the score in the bottom of the fourth thanks to Kerry Carpenter’s two-run triple and Spencer Torkelson’s RBI double, which chased Leiter.

The Rangers took the lead for good when Leody Taveras scored the go-ahead run on a fielder’s choice in the eighth. Taveras added an RBI single in the ninth for Texas, which won three out of four games in Detroit.

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