ARLINGTON -- Before going up to bat in the bottom of the 10th inning, Jonah Heim jokingly asked manager Chris Woodward if he should bunt or hit a homer.
“No, I’d rather you just hit a homer” Woodward told him.
And that he did. The switch-hitting catcher hit his second homer of the game, a 416-foot walk-off bomb, to propel the Rangers to a 5-4 win over the Mariners at Globe Life Field.
“I took his advice and tried to end the game right there,” Heim said. “Obviously, I would’ve gone out there and bunted and got [runner Andy Ibáñez] over for the team, but for me, it’s a little more fun and enjoyable running around the bases and screaming my head off and being a little out of breath. As a team, we're really excited, and it was a good way to win.”
Heim hit home runs from both sides of the plate on Saturday, the first of which was a game-tying, 409-foot shot in the bottom of the fifth inning. Heim said he can’t remember if he’s ever hit homers from both sides of the plate in the same game, but there may have been one he couldn’t think of on the spot.
“To have the hitting coaches and Woody say, 'Go out there and give it all you've got, try to do some damage,' it's awesome,” Heim said. “I mean, I can go out there and just try to slap singles and do that, but if I can help the team win by hitting home runs and doubles and doing some damage, it's more empowering”
It was the 11th time in Rangers history a batter has hit home runs from both sides of the plate and the first time since Milton Bradley in 2008. Heim is also the first Rangers player with a multi-homer game that included a walk-off homer since Nomar Mazara on May 9, 2018.
That’s three home runs in the last two games and the first multi-homer game for Heim. His seven homers on the season are currently tied with Jarrod Saltalamacchia in 2007 for the most ever by a Texas rookie catcher in a single season.
Woodward said that Heim has made some minor adjustments to his swing within the last week that has allowed him to shorten his stride and see the ball better out of the pitcher’s hand.
Heim added that hitting coach Luis Ortiz brought the stride to his attention during the first game against the Mariners.
“Jonah’s got a calm composure in the batter's box,” Woodward said. “He's kind of joking around going out there. He's able to stay in the moment and not get too amped up. ... He controls the strike zone well and can hit the fastball when he's doing well. When the stride and the timing path is all good, he's gonna do some damage. He's got a lot of strength from that bat.”
After going nine up, nine down to start the game, the Rangers’ offense broke through with a leadoff single from Isiah Kiner-Falefa in the fourth inning. The very next frame, Texas finally got on the board with a game-tying homer from Heim. An RBI single from Nathaniel Lowe in the sixth inning gave Texas the lead at the time.
“I know where we are in the standings, but these guys really love playing with one another,” Woodward said of Texas’ effort on the field. “I think that shows. Hopefully, we can start getting some success and start winning and guys can have success on their own, because that's how you build that belief that you're gonna win.”