Heaney ends Rangers' perfect homestand with strong start

Texas hits 17 home runs, including four Sunday, to win six straight games to start August

August 6th, 2023

ARLINGTON -- A six-game homestand could hardly be more satisfying than it was for the Rangers -- and especially starter -- Sunday as they downed the Marlins, 6-0, to complete an undefeated stay at Globe Life Field.

Heaney bookended the six-game winning streak -- tied for the Rangers’ longest this season -- with two dominant starts, beginning with his win over the White Sox on Aug. 1. The left-hander did not allow a run in 11 2/3 innings in the two victories, including 5 2/3 scoreless frames Sunday against the Marlins.

Both six-game winning streaks the Rangers have posted this year happened entirely at home, where they are an MLB-best 40-20 (.667) and are 13-2 (.867) since the All-Star break. They swept the Indians and Rays in three games each from July 14-19.

“We’ve had a couple really good homestands, but this one I’d say was right up there at the top just because of how well we pitched and swung the bats, key hits and the defense,” manager Bruce Bochy said.

The timing was fortuitous, too. The Rangers went 2-7 in the previous nine games and 1-5 on the road trip that immediately preceded the homestand. They lost two of three to the American League West rival Astros, then were swept by the Padres in San Diego.

“We weren’t clicking on that road trip and had some tough games,” Bochy said. “To come back and have a homestand like this -- I love the way they responded and came back. They just played with high energy -- very upbeat, crisp baseball. These guys just did a terrific job of bouncing back off that tough road trip.”

Heaney got more run support Sunday than he did in his previous start, when the Rangers edged the White Sox, 2-0. Against the Marlins, Mitch Garver’s RBI single in the second inning and Nathaniel Lowe’s two-run homer in the third gave Heaney more breathing room.

He now has a career-long streak of 15 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings, earning the win in each of his past three starts, beginning against the Astros on July 26.

“In Houston, I kind of felt something mechanically and thought-wise that freed me up a little bit,” Heaney said. “Ever since then I just feel like I’m trying to maintain that confidence and kind of imprint that in my visuals and stay with that.”

Later, Marcus Semien, Ezequiel Duran and Adolis García each launched solo homers to take some pressure off the Rangers’ slightly overworked bullpen. 

The Rangers hit multiple homers in each of the past six games at Globe Life Field, the longest such streak in club history in any ballpark.

“The ball is flying out of here,” Semien said. “Earlier when this ballpark was first built, everyone talked about it being a pitchers’ park. It’s definitely been a hitters’ park, at least most of the time, for us.”

Setup man Aroldis Chapman and closer Will Smith each pitched three times in the homestand, including Saturday. They weren’t needed Sunday as Chris Stratton, José Leclerc and Martín Pérez combined for 3 1/3 shutout innings.

“Not just the starters, but the bullpen did a really nice job [during the homestand]," Bochy said.