ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Give Adolis García a bat late for the Texas Rangers, and there’s a good chance he’ll do something to change the game.
Exhibit 13 came Saturday.
The Cuban slugger homered leading off the bottom of the ninth inning, giving the Rangers a 3-2 victory over the Washington Nationals.
Garcia drilled a 2-2 slider from reliever Kyle Finnegan (2-2) into Washington’s bullpen, just to the left of the hitting background in center field. He took several steps with the bat in his hand before dropping it, spreading his arms toward his teammates in the dugout and breaking into a jog to first base.
It was his 13th tying or go-ahead homer in the sixth inning or later since the start of 2021, the most in the majors in that span. It also tied high-priced shortstop Corey Seager for the team lead this season with 15 homers.
“You can see he feels the moment and takes a big, deep breath,” Texas manager Chris Woodward said. “You’re like, ‘I would not want to be pitching right now.’ A calm, low-heartbeat Adolis García in that situation is … Good luck.”
Nelson Cruz hit a tying two-run homer for the Nationals against for his former team in the sixth inning after Nathaniel Lowe had given Texas the lead with a two-run shot in the second.
Finnegan faltered the day after striking out two in the eighth for his team-leading 11th hold in the Nats’ 2-1 win in the series opener. The first strikeout came against García on a 99 mph fastball.
“I’m going to take this more as he made a play for his team,” said Finnegan, who is from the Houston area and pitched at Texas State. “I’m going to keep doing what I’ve been doing and keep that confidence and not let this outing take away from how I’ve been feeling and how I’ve been throwing.”