ARLINGTON, Texas — Jonah Heim stole the show for the Texas Rangers on Saturday with a walk-off, two-run home run to hand the Rangers a 5-4, 10-inning win over the Seattle Mariners at Globe Life Park.
Heim, who hit a home run earlier in the game to tie it at 2-2, was the first hitter in the bottom of the 10th, with Andy Ibanez at second base and the Rangers down, 4-3. Heim took Diego Castillo’s pitch for a ride into the Rangers’ bullpen.
After the game, Rangers manager Chris Woodward said that he and Heim exchanged a little 'strategy' before Heim headed to the plate.
“Maybe I should tell players this often,” Woodward said. “Jonah said to me, ‘Do you want me to bunt?’ And I said, ‘No, just go ahead and homer.’”
So Heim did. He said after the game it was probably the last time he had hit a walk-off home run since the minor leagues. He was also glad Woodward didn't ask him to bunt.
“To do it that way makes it more fun," Heim said. "I would have bunted and gotten the runner over for the team. But it’s more fun to run the bases and scream my head off.”
Heim, who went 2-for-4 with 4 RBI, hit his first walk-off home run and became the 11th player in Rangers history to hit home runs from both sides of the plate. His walk-off home run came from the left side of the plate, while his home run in the fifth came from the right side of the plate. It was also the third home run Heim has hit in the last two games.
"He goes up there with some bad intentions and I love that about him," Woodward said.
That first home run, to left field, also drove in Ibanez. In the sixth inning, the Rangers grabbed the lead, 3-2. Adolis Garcia hit a one-out double, and then came home on Eli White’s opposite-field single to left. That chased Mariners starter Tyler Anderson from the game. Anderson was making his Mariners debut after he was traded to Seattle from Pittsburgh at the trade deadline.
The Rangers’ bullpen nearly shut the door. Drew Anderson made his Rangers debut on Saturday night, coming on in relief of Hearn with two out in the top of the fourth. The Rangers purchased Anderson’s contract from Triple-A on Friday. Anderson threw three innings of scoreless relief and was in line for the win. Brett Martin came in to record one out in the top of the seventh. Joe Barlow then struck out the side in the eighth inning.
But, in the ninth Spencer Patton — who ended up with the victory — came on to try and close the game out and gave up a leadoff home run to Ty France, which tied the game and sent it into extra innings.
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The Mariners grabbed the lead in the top of the 10th, as Patton retired the first two hitters before J.P. Crawford’s opposite-field single scored Tom Murphy, who started the inning at second base and ran for Cal Raleigh. The Mariners took a 4-3 lead.
Meanwhile, the Taylor Hearn experiment continued. For the second straight game, Hearn looked solid for the Rangers (37-67), even though for the second straight start he ended up with a no-decision.
Hearn threw just 52 pitches on Saturday, but 31 were strikes. He threw 3 2/3rd innings, getting two more outs than he got against Houston on July 25. He gave up a two-run home run to Kyle Seager in the first inning but bounced back to retire nine of the last 10 hitters he faced.
His performance came six days after shutting out the Astros for three innings, no-hitting Houston and striking out three. And, in his last nine appearances, Hearn has thrown 16 innings and given up just four runs, only one of which was earned.
No wonder Rangers manager Chris Woodward is talking up Hearn as if he’s a contender for the No. 5 rotation spot.
“We want to look at him in a longer role because he hasn’t really done that,” Woodward said.
Hearn left with two out in the fourth inning due not to performance but a strict pitch count Woodward put on the left-hander. Woodward didn’t want him throwing more than 60 pitches. So Hearn left down 2-0.
"I’ve made it known that whatever they need from me I'm open for it,"Hearn said. "I just want to help in every way possible."
The Rangers wrap up the three-game series on Sunday at 1:35 p.m. The Rangers then host the Los Angeles Angels for a four-game set starting on Monday.
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You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.