ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Jonah Heim was behind the plate as Jacob deGrom had nine strikeouts to break another Texas record that had been held by Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan. The catcher then hit the no-doubt homer to end the game after the Rangers had blown the lead following the exit of their new ace.
Heim hit a three-run shot in the 10th inning for the Rangers in their 8-5 win over the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday night. The 403-foot, three-run shot to right off Scott Barlow (0-1) came after Josh Jung’s two-out walk that followed a tying RBI single by Adolis Garcia.
“That was a good one. Just sometimes you just kind of know,” Heim said of his third career walk-off homer — the other two came in back-to-back games in 2021. “We don’t get there unless Adolis and Jung do their job. That’s a great team win right there.”
Texas shortstop Corey Seager left the game in the middle of the fifth inning with left hamstring tightness. Seager was running between first and second base after hitting an opposite-field double into the left-field corner. He appeared to make the turn around first base cleanly, but then pulled up after a few steps and gingerly went to second base.
Seager wasn’t in the clubhouse when it was opened to reporters after the game. Manager Bruce Bochy said he had spoken only briefly to the shortstop, who will be revaluated Wednesday.
Michael Massey had a sac fly for the Royals in the 10th after they had scored single runs in the eighth and ninth to force extra innings.
Cole Ragans (2-0) retired the only two batters he faced, the first being Massey on the sacrifice fly.
While deGrom ended up with a no-decision, the nine Ks pushed his season total to 27 and set a new mark for a Rangers pitcher in his first three appearances — that had been Ryan’s 26 after he joined the team in 1989. It came a night after Andrew Heaney, like deGrom new to the Texas rotation this season, had nine consecutive strikeouts to tie an American League record and surpass Ryan’s single-game club record of seven in a row in 1991.
“He has such great stuff,” Bochy said. “I enjoy watching Jacob when he pitches.”
DeGrom left with a 4-2 lead in his third start for Texas — all at home since signing his $185 million, five-year contract in free agency last December. The two-time National League Cy Young Award winner didn’t have a walk while throwing 68 of his 98 pitches for strikes over seven innings, and three innings later his catcher ended it at the plate.
“That’s big, picking each other up and playing good baseball,” deGrom said. “So definitely exciting. Huge for Jonah there to come up and hit that walk-off homer. … He did a great job behind the plate. We were on the same page the whole time.”
Seager, in the second year of a $325 million, 10-year contract with the Rangers, is hitting .359 after going 2 for 2 with a walk against the Royals.
It was the fifth game in a row for Seager to have an extra-base hit. But after touching second base, he bent down and then almost immediately started going back toward the dugout even before a team trainer got all the way out to check on him.
“Gosh, he’s been swinging the bat so well,” Bochy said. “You hate to see it because he’s been on fire. I mean he’s just squaring up everything.”
Rangers: CF Leody Taveras, who started the season on the IL with a left oblique strain, was 2 for 4 with a grand slam and a bases-loaded walk Tuesday after his rehab assignment was moved from Double-A Frisco to Triple-A Round Rock. He went 1 for 10 in three games for Frisco.
Royals RHP Brad Keller (1-1, 2.61 ERA) has the longest active streak of consecutive starts getting a decision — going 6-11 over 17 starts since last May 21. He is still short of Tim Belcher’s team record of 21 consecutive starts with a decision that ended in June 1997. Nathan Eovaldi (1-1, 4.22) makes his third start for Texas in the series finale Wednesday night.