ARLINGTON, Texas – Leonys Martin made a dream come true for himself and the Texas Rangers reaped the benefits.
Martin said he dreamt of delivering a walkoff hit after Geovany Soto did it Monday in a 4-3 Texas victory over Los Angeles.
Martin had his chance Tuesday night and didn’t disappoint. Martin hit a walkoff three-run homer in the 10th inning to cap a wild 14-11 victory for the Rangers.
“This is the biggest moment I’ve had in my whole career,” said Martin, who was looking for a fly ball with one out and runners on the corners and instead popped a three-run homer. “Last night I had a dream like that. It came true tonight.”
Martin’s homer came after the Angels had brought in Collin Cowgill from right field to give the team five infielders. The homer came off Daniel Stange, the 14th pitcher of the game. Stange, who hadn’t pitched in the majors since 2010, walked two batters in the inning to set the stage for Martin.
The walkoff capped a wild night that featured 35 hits, 24 runners left on base, a hitter pulled mid-game because he was traded, an ejected manager, 434 pitches thrown and the longest nine-inning game of the season for the Rangers at 4 hours, 46 minutes.
If that wasn’t enough, the win allowed the Rangers to gain ground on Oakland for the first time in 28 days as the Athletics also lost to allow the Rangers to close the West gap to five games.
That’s the kind of reward the team deserves after rallying in the eighth inning.
“The thing is we did what we had to do,” Texas manager Ron Washington said. “We thought we had the game in hand, but they battled over there and got to three of our best pitchers out there, put runs on us. But the guys didn’t quit, as I said, they just kept coming back trying to get runners on the bag, trying to make something happen. And they certainly did. Once again, they certainly were deserving of that win tonight.”
Texas led 6-4 before turning the game over to its normally reliable bullpen. But the Angels got three runs off Joakim Soria in the seventh and four more off Tanner Scheppers in the eighth. Instead of Derek Holland being in line for the victory, the Rangers were staring at an 11-7 deficit heading into the bottom of the eighth.
But Soto, whose solo homer was the difference Monday, belted a three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth to make it a one-run game. Then Adrian Beltre forced extras with an RBI single off Ernesto Frieri in the ninth inning.
Texas had been 0-39 when trailing after eight innings before Monday but has now won two straight in those situations. The Rangers also snapped a six game losing streak in extra innings.
“To walk off back-to-back feels incredible,” said Soto, who went 2 for 4 and has raised his average 22 points over the last two games. “We’re just trying to win games and it’s been taking us to the last at-bat and extra innings. We got it done and it feels really good to win this game.”
The game featured 12 extra-base hits. Texas got to former Rangers ace C.J. Wilson for six runs in his four innings but the Rangers couldn’t make it stand up as another former Ranger – Josh Hamilton – collected four RBI. Los Angeles’ Mike Trout also reached base six times and the Rangers haven’t retired him yet in the series.
Los Angeles also played shorthanded as starting third baseman Alberto Callaspo was traded during the game and was pulled for Tommy Field, who couldn’t come up with the stop on Beltre’s game-tying hit in the ninth inning.
Nine Angels had at least one hit and 11 Rangers had hits with Martin’s being the 19th for Texas. It also gave the Rangers their first two-game winning streak since July 8-9.
“We need to win games any way we can and tonight was a long fought battle,” said Ian Kinsler, who had two hits and scored three runs. “We didn’t give up. We played to the end. It was a good win tonight.”