ARLINGTON, Texas — Jonah Heim did it. Again.
For the second game in a row, the Texas Rangers walked off the Seattle Mariners courtesy of a home run by rookie catcher Jonah Heim. Saturday night's 5-4 victory came in extra innings when Heim blasted a two-run homer into the Rangers bullpen. On Sunday, Heim followed a game-tying two-run homer by Andy Ibáñez in the bottom of the ninth inning with a solo blast of his own to win the game 4-3. Once again, it went into the Rangers bullpen.
"If I keep doing this, it's gonna be a pretty good year," Heim laughed. "It's unbelievable. What we did in the ninth there, with Nate [Lowe] getting on, Andy hitting a big game-tying homer just to give me the opportunity again. It's unbelievable how this team fights to the end."
According to Elias Sports Bureau, Jonah Heim is the first Ranger ever with walk-off home runs in two consecutive games and the first Major League rookie in history to do so. The last MLB player to accomplish the feat was Albert Pujols in June 2011 when he was still a member of the St. Louis Cardinals.
Heim's father called for last night's ball on social media after Jonah hit the first walk-off. But after today, there might be a change of plans to who gets each ball.
"He can have this one," Heim said. "I'm gonna keep the first one now."
As far as how this affects the team moving forward, manager Chris Woodward stuck to his guns when it comes to rewarding players with their performance. After the game, Woodward told the media that Heim, as it stands right now, will catch the the "majority" of the games.
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"He earned that. He deserves that," Woodward said. "It's not any fault of Jose [Trevino]'s. Obviously, I'm going to play the guy who's doing really well."
But before anyone starts thinking there is a catcher's controversy behind the plate, Woodward quelled that by speaking to the relationship between Heim and Trevino.
"The one thing that stood out to me," Woodward added, "I saw a still-shot of the walk-off [from Saturday]. The first guy out of the dugout jumping and screaming was Jose. So it just tells you these guys are really good friends. They care about each other. They're pulling for one another. Yes, they're competing against one another for playing time. But at the same time, they really have a bond. And they share a pretty good relationship as a tandem group. Jose's as happy as can be for Jonah right now."
The Rangers (38-67) begin a four-game series with the Los Angeles Angels (52-53) on Monday. Dane Dunning (4-7, 4.20 ERA) will get the nod for Texas. The Angels have not yet announced their starter for Monday.
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