Sat, 18 Sep 2021

Rookie Jonah Heim looks to power Rangers past Mariners again

Field Level Media
01 Aug 2021, 22:19 GMT+10

Texas Rangers rookie Jonah Heim had a whale of a game.

The switch-hitting Heim hit a pair of two-run homers Saturday night -- one from each side of the plate -- with the latter a walk-off shot in the 10th inning as the Rangers defeated the visiting Seattle Mariners 5-4.

It was just the secondwin in the past 16 games for the rebuilding Rangers, who will try to win the three-game series when it concludes Sunday afternoon at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.

The homers were the sixth and seventh of the season for Heim and spoiled the first save opportunity for new Mariners closer Diego Castillo, who was acquired in a trade with Tampa Bay on Thursday.

The Rangers trailed 4-3 after the Mariners scored in the top of the 10th. With a runner at second to start the bottom half of the inning, Heim went deep to center field on a 2-2 pitch.

"I asked (Rangers manager Chris Woodward) if I should bunt or hit a homer," said Heim, acquired from Oakland in the offseason for shortstop Elvis Andrus. "He said he wouldn't be mad if I hit a homer."

Heim also homered Friday night in a 9-5 loss to the Mariners.

Heim said he made an adjustment during Friday's game after hitting instructor Luis Ortiz reminded him to shorten his stride a little bit.

"When Luis told me that, it was good," Heim said. "I had been feeling a little too good and my stride had gotten too big, I think. Sometimes you feel good and don't realize things. It was good that Luis noticed that."

The Rangers also got three scoreless innings from reliever Drew Anderson, who was in line for his first major league victory until the Mariners' Ty France led off the ninth with a solo homer to tie the score.

The Mariners suffered just their second extra-inning defeat in 12 games this season and missed a chance to gain on Oakland in the chase for the American League's second and final wild-card playoff berth.

"We've been riding that magic wave in extra innings and I thought we had just enough left in our magic wand tonight," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "But not the case."

The Mariners are scheduled to start left-hander Marco Gonzales (3-5, 5.48 ERA) on Sunday. Gonzales, who spent more than a month on the injured list this season because of a left forearm strain, has won his past two starts. He's 6-6 with a 4.52 ERA in 13 career starts against the Rangers. He suffered a 7-3 loss to them July 3 in Seattle when he allowed seven runs in 3 1/3 innings.

The Rangers plan to start right-hander Mike Foltynewicz (2-10, 6.11 ERA). He's 0-4 with a 5.60 ERA in six career appearances against Seattle, including 0-2 in three starts this season although he's pitched decently -- going at least 6 2/3 innings and allowing four or fewer runs in each.

--Field Level Media

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