Heaney stung by one inning in duel with Cole

April 28th, 2023

ARLINGTON -- knew the margin for error would be tight going head to head against Yankees ace on Thursday night. And despite turning in a quality start, Heaney pointed to a troubling second inning as to where he lost that margin.

Heaney gave up three runs on 37 pitches in the second inning, and Cole and the Yankees went on to a 4-2 victory. The Rangers have now lost four straight by a combined six runs.

“Obviously the second inning was a long one,” Heaney said.

After a crisp, 1-2-3 first inning that included strikeouts of Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo, Heaney’s night took a turn in the second. He gave up back-to-back solo shots to DJ LeMahieu and Gleyber Torres to start the inning.

Heaney felt he threw a decent fastball to LeMahieu on a 2-2 count but that it was just the wrong pitch selection at the time. Then, facing a 2-0 count to Torres, Heaney was trying to get back in the at-bat and left a fastball over the middle of the plate.

The more frustrating part of that inning, according to Heaney, was hitting Oswald Peraza with a pitch and issuing an eight-pitch walk to Aaron Hicks, the Yankees' No. 9 batter. Following the walk to Hicks, the Yankees added their third run on a single by leadoff man Anthony Volpe.

“You don’t want to give a free base and turn the lineup over and have to face the top of that lineup with traffic,” Heaney said.

To his credit, Heaney minimized damage as he ended the inning by striking out Judge and Rizzo to leave the bases loaded. Heaney went on to throw four more scoreless innings, a small victory inside the loss.

“Obviously I’m frustrated because we didn’t win the game, tonight that’s the only thing that matters,” he said. “But doing the little things and trying to have small victories that will hopefully pile up into actual victories, days or weeks from now, is important. It’s a long-winded way of saying I’m glad I was able to give us six innings.”

The Rangers' offense didn’t get much going against Cole until scoring two runs in the sixth to make it a one-run game. But those were the only runs allowed by Cole, who struck out eight over 6 2/3 innings. New York reliever Michael King closed it out with 2 1/3 scoreless innings.

Texas went just 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and is now 5-for-24 with RISP over its last three games. The Rangers still lead the Major Leagues with a .353 batting average (78-for-221) with RISP.

“That’s arguably the best starter in the American League and all of baseball over there,” said Nathaniel Lowe, who went 1-for-3 on the night. “Guys naturally press when you get runners in scoring position, so that’s how it goes.”

As far as another close loss, Lowe just chalked it up as being in the big leagues.

“A couple inches away from winning a couple of these games, you know?” he said. “I’d rather, me personally and as a team, go through this little slide in April than go through this slide in August. We’ve just got to keep going and it’ll work out how it’s supposed to.”

Added manager Bruce Bochy: “Just couldn’t quite get over the hump here tonight, but it was a good ballgame. Just came up short against a really tough pitcher.”

The good news for the Rangers is that their ace, Jacob deGrom, will be in position to end the slide as Friday night’s starter.