ARLINGTON -- Rangers catcher Jonathan Lucroy saw this coming. He told Mike Napoli when they were sitting alone on the bench well before the start of the Rangers' 5-2 victory over the Padres.
"Before the game, we were on the bench, I told him, 'You're going to have a big game today, I can feel it,'" Lucroy said. "I just felt it and it ended up working out. I just have confidence in him, the guy can hit. Sooner or later the guy is going to break out. He's really good."
Lucroy was right. Napoli crushed two home runs, including a three-run shot in the bottom of the ninth inning that carried the Rangers to a walk-off victory and their third straight win.
"Well, that's the thing about this team," Napoli said. "We have each others' back, we root for each other, we want everyone to do good. So in tough times, it's nice to be able to lean on your teammates for their support. Always being enthusiastic towards you and reassuring you that you're able to perform in this tough game."
Napoli's first home run was projected at 433 feet by Statcast™. The second one was projected at 448 feet, making Napoli only the second player to hit two home runs of more than 430 feet this season. The other was Giancarlo Stanton of the Marlins.
The second home run also had an exit velocity of 110.7 mph, making it the hardest and longest ball hit by Napoli this season.
Lucroy made a daring prediction. Napoli entered the game hitting .149 in his last 25 games and .160 for the season along with a .320 slugging percentage.
"Every day I wake up and it's a new day," Napoli said. "I believed him. I never come into something thinking I'm going to fail. It's always, 'I'm going to go up there and try to execute a plan,' and I'm confident that I'm going to get something done. So when he said that, I smiled and I gave him a look of 'let's get it on.'"
The three-run home run in the ninth was the game-winner, but the first one was just as big. Padres left-hander Clayton Richard, protecting a 2-0 lead, took a three-hit shutout into the eighth before Napoli woke up the Rangers with a leadoff home run.
"The at-bat before felt pretty good," Napoli said. "It was a feeling I've been looking for a long time, and in that last at-bat, I was just trying to repeat it."
The Rangers' ninth-inning rally came against right-handed reliever Brandon Maurer. The Rangers tied the score on three straight one-out singles by Elvis Andrus, Lucroy and Rougned Odor before Napoli crushed one into the second deck in left field to win it for the Rangers.
"These guys were grinding all night," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "It's no secret we haven't mounted much of a challenge against left-handed starters. When you put a run on the board in that situation, it creates a buzz in the dugout."