Andrus channels Young, propels walk-off win

Stellar hitting, baserunning sets up Kiner-Falefa for game-winner

September 1st, 2019

ARLINGTON -- Michael Young has not played a baseball game in six years, but Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus said that his old teammate came up huge in their 3-2 victory over the Mariners on Saturday at Globe Life Park.

The victory, coming via a game-winning single from Isiah Kiner-Falefa in the bottom of the ninth, came after the Rangers retired Young’s No. 10 jersey in a pregame ceremony. Andrus said that Young’s acceptance speech gave the Rangers a jolt of energy that lasted the night, right through their two-run rally in the ninth.

“That was an amazing speech by Michael,” Andrus said. “The energy in our dugout from the first inning on was amazing. I felt it. Seeing his ceremony and all his highlights they showed [on the scoreboard], if you don’t have goosebumps from watching that, you don’t love baseball.”

The ninth inning was pretty special too, and it was Andrus who led the way with both his hitting and baserunning.

“I think we don't talk enough about the player that he is and the things that he brings to the table on a nightly basis,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “He kind of showed that tonight. Especially on Michael's night, for Elvis to do that for us was special.”

Rookie left-hander Brock Burke gave the Rangers another strong start, holding the Mariners to two runs over six innings to become the first Rangers pitcher to go six-plus innings in his first three starts and hold the opposition to two runs or fewer. But Burke is still looking for his first win despite compiling a 1.50 ERA.

“I feel awesome,” Burke said. “As long as we win, I’ll take this as a win.”

The Rangers trailed, 2-1, going into the ninth and were able to get out of a jam in the top of the frame to keep it a one-run game. Seattle had runners on second and third with one out, but Rangers catcher Jose Trevino picked off Dylan Moore on a botched squeeze play. Emmanuel Clase then struck out Keon Broxton to end the threat.

“Our relievers came in and threw the ball great,” Andrus said. “That just makes the offense want to do something, find a way to score some runs and win the game.”

Andrus got it started in the Rangers' half of the ninth with a double off the center field wall against Mariners reliever Matt Magill. Willie Calhoun then moved Andrus to third with a grounder to first baseman Daniel Vogelbach.

The Mariners moved the infield in and Nick Solak hit a grounder to Moore at shortstop. Andrus broke home, slid headfirst around the tag by catcher Austin Nola and was initially called out by home-plate umpire Jansen Visconti before a replay review overturned the call.

“That's a tough play,” Nola said. “When Elvis is running, he's a super-fast guy. He knows how to make that play. He's probably done that a million times -- the contact play, the slide-around. You have to give it to him for getting an excellent read on it. There's nothing else you can do. He got a great read and had a great slide, too.”

That was the first of two excellent baserunning plays for the Rangers. Solak was on first after the play and Rougned Odor hit a sharp grounder that Mariners second baseman Dee Gordon got his glove with a sliding attempt, but he couldn’t hold on. It slipped past him into shallow right field for a single, and though it didn’t go far, Solak reached third while Odor reached second.

"I was pretty confident I was going to get there,” Solak said. “I saw him slide and I got a good read that allowed me to get to third base safely.”

Danny Santana, pinch-hitting for Logan Forsythe, was intentionally walked to load the bases, then Kiner-Falefa followed with a line-drive single to right-center to bring home Solak with the game-winning run.