ARLINGTON, Texas (AP)Rangers rookie center fielder Adolis Garcia threw out Kyle Lewis at the plate on a wild, scrambly play for the final out, and Texas held off the Seattle Mariners 9-8 on Saturday night.
Trailing 9-7 with two outs in the ninth inning, the Mariners had Lewis at first base and Mitch Haniger at third when J.P. Crawford blooped a single between three Rangers in left-center field.
Haniger easily scored and when the ball ricocheted off Garcia, Lewis raced toward to the plate. Garcia recovered and threw to catcher Jonah Heim, who made the game-ending tag.
”We put a ton of pressure on their closer there at the end and I’ve got to give their credit to their center fielder. He made a heck of a throw,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said, who said it was the right call to send Lewis home. ”Short-hop pick by the catcher. Bang, bang, you’re out at the plate. It was a wild game.”
Joey Gallo homered twice and Garcia also went deep before Heim hit a tiebreaking double in the eighth.
Gallo found it hard to describe what he was thinking when watching the final play from right field.
”I saw them just waving (Lewis), I’m like, dang, they’re about to tie this game up. And then I was just praying that Garcia picked it up,” said Gallo, a Gold Glove outfielder. ”The way this guy throws is unbelievable. And as soon as I saw him throw it, I was like, all right, we’ve got a shot here. … The way (Heim) picked that and made it tag, it was unbelievable.”
Asked about Garcia’s throw on the last play Heim said, ”probably about 112 (mph).”
Both teams had leadoff homers in the eighth, with Luis Torrens putting the Mariners up 7-6. Garcia started the bottom half of the inning against reliever Anthony Misiewicz (2-2) with a shot to straightaway center, his eighth homer this year being his first at home.
”He does have a flair for the dramatic. He doesn’t get rattled,” manager Chris Woodward said of Garcia. ”He loves being in those spots, whether it’s on offense or defense. … This just feeds off those moments.”
Khris Davis then made his Rangers debut with a pinch-hit single after coming off the injured list earlier in the day, and scored on Heim’s double.
With runners on second and third, Crawford fielded a grounder to shortstop and threw home in plenty of time to get Charlie Culberson. But Torrens never tagged him – it wasn’t a force play, and the run scored to make it 9-7.
Davis and Heim were both acquired by Texas in the February deal that sent longtime Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus to Oakland.
John King (4-1), the third Texas pitcher, threw 1 1/3 innings before Ian Kennedy got his AL-leading 10th save in as many chances.
Evan White ended his 0-for-27 slump with a two-run homer and later added an RBI double for the Mariners, who blew an early 4-0 lead.
Seattle had opened the series with a 5-4 victory Friday night, its eighth win in a row against Texas going back to last season. That matched the Mariners’ longest winning streak in the series since May 3, 1995, in a game featuring three future Hall of Famers – Ken Griffey Jr. and Edgar Martinez for Seattle, and Ivan Rodriguez for the Rangers.
Isiah Kiner-Falefa drove in three runs, including a two-run single in the sixth that put Texas up 6-5. Kyle Seager had a solo homer in the seventh.
Seattle led 4-0 in the second against Rangers starter Kohei Arihara after Dylan Moore’s leadoff bunt single was followed by White’s second homer of the season. Two innings later, Moore and White had back-to-back doubles for a 5-3 lead against Arihara, who didn’t make it through that inning.
Gallo hit an opposite-field shot leading off the second, and his two-run homer in the fourth got the Rangers within 5-3. He has six homers this season, four coming in the last six games.
It was Gallo’s ninth career multihomer game but first in the Rangers’ new ballpark that opened last season.
LEWIS AT THE PLATE AGAIN
Lewis was safe on a play at the plate in the first inning, diving headfirst and reaching his left hand on the edge of the plate, sliding his fingertips just under Heim’s attempted tag. That safe call stood after a replay challenge.
”That’s just how baseball goes sometimes, calls go you way and sometimes they don’t,” Heim said. ”Thankfully, the the biggest call of that game did go our way.”
Mariners: RHP Ljay Newsome suddenly exited the game after 0-1 pitch to Andy Ibanez with two outs in the fourth. A trainer visited the mound and the team later said Newsom left because of right elbow inflammation. Newsome gave up three runs on four hits following opener Erik Swanson.
Rangers: Davis had opened the season on the injured list because of a left quad strain suffered in a spring training game March 23. To make room on the roster, OF Eli White (.127 batting average in 20 games) was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock.
Lefty Justus Sheffield (2-2, 4.18 ERA) pitches the finale of the three-game series for the Mariners, while Dane Dunning (1-2, 3.81) starts for Texas.
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