Jonah Heim hit a two-run homerun with two strikeouts in the eighth to cap a five-run rally, pushing the Texas Rangers past the Oakland Athletics, 8-6, on Saturday.
Trailing 6-2 after being held back by starter Cole Irvin, the Rangers took advantage of the struggling bullpen. DJ Peters hit a two-run homer and Yohel Pozo added an RBI brace against Sergio Romo ahead of Heim’s homerun on Andrew Chafin’s 0-2 pitch (1-3). The bullet traveled approximately 447 feet.
“I don’t think I’ve hit a ball this far yet,” said Heim, who spent last season at Oakland before being traded to Texas in the offseason in a deal that included Elvis Andrus. “As a young team and young guys, it shows you can win a baseball game anytime you want. It just shows these guys to stay the course and keep fighting until the last out.”
This is the sixth time in 76 games this season that the Rangers have come back to win after dropping in eighth.
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“I love the way the guys have come together,” said manager Chris Woodward. “We’ve fallen behind and it’s easy to dismiss that one. It’s a playoff contending team, they claw and scratch to qualify for the playoffs. In that eighth inning the guys had quality hitters one after another. Huge shots. One of our best, if not the best, wins of the year. “
Matt Olson, Starling Marte and Mark Canha scored for the A.
Oakland, which entered the matchday one behind the Yankees for the AL’s second wild card, has made eight missed saves in the past 19 games.
“We have a lot of confidence in Romo and Chafin to finish this game. It just didn’t happen,” A manager Bob Melvin said. “It’s hard to give up five in the eighth inning when you feel like you have control of the game.”
Texas hadn’t done much until the eighth inning. Nick Solak had a double produced and scored on Yozo’s single in the fourth, but the Rangers failed two in the second and only had one hitter in basic range from the fifth to the seventh.
Heim’s home run was the Rangers’ first in five games.
“I’m just glad I was able to be a good hitter for the team,” said Heim. “I got it pretty well. When you hit a ball this well, you can admire it a bit.”
Leody Tavares took down Yusmeiro Petit in the ninth.
Brett Martin (4-4) struck out three batters to win. Joe Barlow pitched the ninth for his fifth save.
The A’s loss spoiled a strong start for Irvin, who netted eight strikeouts in seven crisp innings. The southpaw allowed six hits and two runs with a walk.
“Today has been a good day for me,” Irvin said. “A heartbreaking loss, however.”
Olson hit his 33rd home run in the third inning – and got his 500th career hit at the same time. Canha added a two-point shot in the fourth. Marte stumbled in the first.
All three home runs came from emergency starter Wes Benjamin, who got the call after scheduled starter Kolby Allard was knocked out late due to illness. Benjamin allowed six hits and six runs in 3 1/3 innings.
SORRY ABOUT THAT
Nathaniel Lowe was in the circle on the bridge in the eighth inning when he was hit in the right knee by a foul ball from Peters, who appeared to be trying to control his momentum. Lowe laughed after being hit and stayed in the game, then walked and scored on Pozo’s brace.
BASSITT RETURN ON A MOTTE
Injured A’s ace Chris Bassitt threw 30 shots on his return to the mound for the first time since being hit in the head by a 100 mph line in mid-August.
“It was just about putting it on a mound, feeling comfortable throwing again,” Melvin said. “Obviously we have to make sure that everything is healed in there and that the doctors have to eliminate it, but after that, with it, all the systems are going to disappear.”
Rangers: Allard could potentially come out of the bullpen on Sunday, according to Woodward. … OF Willie Calhoun is scheduled to begin a rehab mission with Triple-A Round Rock on Monday. Calhoun has been absent since suffering a broken left arm in late June. RHP Drew Anderson (COVID-19 IL) and IF / OF Brock Holt (COVID-19 IL) are also in rehabilitation with Round Rock.
Athletics: 3B Matt Chapman came out for unknown reasons in the fifth inning. … RHP Mike Fiers (sprained right elbow) will participate in a rehab game with Triple-A Las Vegas next week. Proud hasn’t pitched in the majors since May 6.
RHP James Kaprielian (7-4, 3.81 ERA) makes his 20th start of the season on Sunday, the most by an A rookie since 2017. Kaprielian is undefeated in six starts since returning from a shoulder injury right which placed him on the injured list. LHP Rangers Taylor Hearns (5-4, 3.95) hasn’t earned a career win in five games against Oakland.