Marcus Semien's Game-Ending Relay Throw Saves Texas Rangers From Dodgers Rally

The Los Angeles Dodgers were threatening to tie it in the ninth on Wednesday, but Marcus Semien's relay throw home was in time to secure the Texas Rangers' 3-2 win.
Jun 12, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA; Texas Rangers catcher Jonah Heim (28) reacts after tagging out Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Andy Pages (44) for the last out of the game and victory at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 12, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA; Texas Rangers catcher Jonah Heim (28) reacts after tagging out Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Andy Pages (44) for the last out of the game and victory at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports / Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES — As soon as he saw Leody Taveras bobble the pickup near the warning track in center field, Marcus Semien knew his throw was going home.

With the Texas Rangers clinging to a 3-1 lead and the Los Angeles Dodgers threatening with two runners on and two outs in the ninth Wednesday night at Dodgers Stadium, there was no room for error. Jason Heyward's double to the gap easily scored Will Smith from second, and Andy Pages blew past a stop sign from third base coach Dino Ebel and was headed home when the All-Star second baseman received the throw from Taveras.

"When it got bobbled, I said 'Here we go, I'm [throwing home] probably," Semien said. "I just assumed [Pages] was going home."

Semien's throw to catcher Jonah Heim and Heim's tag clearly got Pages, and he was called out by the home plate umpire. But the Rangers had to hold their breath while the Dodgers challenged the play and whether Heim blocked the plate. Rangers fans remember a game in Chicago a season ago when Heim's tag was overturned because of the blocking rule. On Wednesday, replay got it right, and the out call stood. Game over. Rangers won, 3-2.

"Once Leo bobbled it, then I'm getting nervous there, but these guys do such a great job on defense," Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said. "That's just a beautiful play with the game on the line. It doesn't get any better. It was an exciting game."

Kirby Yates earned his ninth save after allowing a leadoff single to Smith and walking Pages with two outs. Heyward's double was roped with an exit velocity of 106.5 mph, which may have worked in the Rangers' favor. Along with Pages blowing through the stop sign.

"Yeah, you would have seen me very angry if [blocking] got called," Heim said. "It's just one of those things where it's a judgment call, so you never really know what they're going to see [in the replay room]."

Said Corey Seager, whose three-run homer in the fifth was the difference in the game: "Big-time play by a big-time player."

Semien credited Heim for the quick tag. Semien's one-hop throw clearly beat Pages to the plate, so a plate-blocking call on Heim wasn't even an option, according to the revised rule.

Semien was just happy to even the series with the Dodgers. The rubber game is at 9:10 p.m. Thursday.

"It's definitely a good feeling from that far out there to see an out call," he said. "That's what outfielders talk about when they throw somebody out. Just seeing it all unfold from so far away is a good feeling, especially the last out of the game."

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Stefan Stevenson

STEFAN STEVENSON

Stefan Stevenson worked as a journalist and editor at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for 25 years, covering sports, concerts, and general news. His beats have included the Dallas Cowboys, the Texas Rangers, and Texas Christian University football.