Garcia’s Walk-Off Homer Lifts Rangers over Twins

Rangers Twins
(Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

Rangers 6, Twins 5

ARLINGTON, Tex. (Sep 3) — The Texas Rangers snuck past the Minnesota Twins, 6–5, in their series finale Sunday afternoon. A walk-off homer by Adolis Garcia played a very big role in this victory for the Rangers in the matinee as it snapped their three-game losing streak. With this series behind them, the Rangers begin a three-game set against the Houston Astros on Monday. First pitch is scheduled for 3:05 pm Central at Globe Life Field. This is a crucial series, as the Rangers trail the Astros by one game in the AL West. In the series opener, it will be righty J.P. France (10–5, 3.49 ERA) on the mound for the Astros. The Rangers will hand the ball to left-hander Andrew Heaney (9–6, 4.16 ERA).

A Pair of Three-Run Shots

The Rangers came out swinging in the top of the first. Corey Seager and Nathaniel Lowe both singled off Twins starter Kenta Maeda. Two batters later, Mitch Garver belted a three-run homer to left-center to give the Rangers a 3–0 lead. The Twins responded in kind in the top of the fifth. With Jon Gray on the mound for the Rangers, Edouard Julien singled to left and Jorge Polanco drew a walk. There was a brief on-field delay as home plate umpire Manny Gonzalez took a foul ball off his mask. Catcher Christian Vazquez walked out to the mound to give Gonzalez a moment to catch his breath. Rangers trainer Matt Lucero also tended to Gonzalez. Once play resumed, Royce Lewis brought Julien and Polanco home with a three-run homer to right.

The Rangers took a 4–3 lead in the bottom of the sixth. Marcus Semien scored from third on a wild pitch by Twins reliever Cole Sands.

The Twins tied it in the top of the seventh. Lewis scored on a single to left by Carlos Correa with Chris Stratton on the mound.

The Rangers answered back in the bottom of the seventh. Garver hit his second dinger of the afternoon. This one just missed the Twins’ bullpen in left-center.

The Twins tied it again in the top of the eighth. Correa plated Lewis with a single to left off Rangers reliever Jose Leclerc.

Garcia’s Walk-Off Blast

The big moment came in the bottom of the ninth. With two outs, the Rangers were down to their final strike with Garcia at the plate. It was at that moment that time froze up until Josh Winder threw a slider that Garcia blasted to left field for a walk-off home run. As the fireworks lit up Globe Life Field, a look of absolute relief washed across Garcia’s face, as he went into that at-bat 0-for-4 with four strikeouts. It was the first walk-off homer for the Rangers since Jonah Heim did it on April 11 against the Washington Nationals. It was also the fourth career walk-off hit for Garcia, three of which have gone over the wall at Globe Life Field.

Three of those hits have been home runs. García has now homered in two straight games, and his career-high 34 homers this season are the most by a Rangers batter since Joey Gallo in 2018 (40). Garcia recorded his team-leading 100th RBI of the campaign on the game-ending solo blast, as he is the first Ranger with back-to-back 100 RBI seasons (also 101 RBI in 2022) since Adrián Beltré in 2011-12. García’s 23 home runs in Arlington this season are a Globe Life Field record. The previous record was 22 homers by Corey Seager in 2022.

No-decision for Gray

Gray did not factor into the decision for the Rangers on Sunday as he exited after the fifth with the score tied 3–3. His line was 5 IP, 7 H, 3 R-ER, 4 BB, 8 K, 1 HR, 96 pitches/52 strikes. Gray retired 13 of the first 18 batters he faced over four scoreless frames before surrendering the game-tying three-run home run to Lewis in the top of the fifth. He issued four walks, the most since his season-high of five walks on April 21 against the Oakland Athletics. Gray recorded eight strikeouts, giving him more punch-outs over his last two starts (17) than his previous three outings combined (16).

Sunday’s start was also the 200th of Gray’s career.

Cody Bradford got the win for the Rangers. He now owns a record of  3–1 with an ERA of 4.29.

On the other side, Maeda scattered nine hits over five innings, with his only runs allowed coming on the three-run shot by Garver in the first inning. He exited with the game tied 3–3 through 5 1/2 innings. Since an IL stint from April 27 to June 22 (strained right triceps), Maeda has gone 3–3 with a 3.72 ERA, 20 walks, and 80 strikeouts over his 13 starts. There was no save recorded.

Postgame Comments

The main question that Rangers manager Bruce Bochy fielded after the game was what Garcia’s home run meant for this team. “That’s a lot of pressure on you, especially when you’re up there with two strikes,” Bochy said. “He’s not feeling good about his day at that point. (But) he got a hold of one. It was so good for him, and it was good for us as well.”

Jon Gray also met with the media after the game and gave his thoughts on the afternoon. He said, “It wasn’t my best start, plain and simple. Some things were off there in the early innings, and I just couldn’t figure things out.” Gray also went on to praise his teammate Garcia for his heroics by saying, “The way things have been going, we needed that. Doli is a very special player, and you could tell his day at the plate was getting to him. We were all thrilled for him when he connected on that last slider.”

 

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