ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Adolis Garcia’s first major league homer, a two-run shot in the 10th inning, gave the Texas Rangers a 6-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday night.
Garcia drove a 1-2 pitch from Cody Reed (0-1) the other way into the right-field stands. The native of Cuba leaped into the air and pumped his fists as he rounded first base, setting off a celebration in the Texas dugout as well.
“I was excited,” Garcia said through a translator, adding it was special to hit the game-winner on Jackie Robinson Day.
“You could just see the joy when he’s running around first base,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “It’s great to see.”
Nick Solak and Charlie Culberson also homered for the Rangers, who have won three straight following a four-game losing streak.
Garcia nearly hit his first homer Wednesday night, driving the ball off the top of the wall in right-center field and circling the bases amid confusion over whether it actually landed in the stands and bounced back onto the field.
The 28-year-old outfielder slid into home plate and was ruled safe. The call was overturned, leaving Garcia with a two-run triple that helped Texas finish a 5-1 victory.
“I told a friend, wait until tomorrow,” Garcia said, smiling. “I’ll get one.”
Josh Sborz (1-0) pitched a scoreless inning and Ian Kennedy finished up for his third save in three opportunities.
Mike Brosseau homered for the Rays, who went 3 for 13 with runners in scoring position and stranded 12 overall.
“We’re not making the the most of the opportunities we’re getting,” Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said.
The defending AL champions have lost eight of 11 following a 2-0 start.
“The opportunities have been tough to come by lately,” Cash added, “but the ones we’re getting, we’ve…