Rangers ride ... rally pigeon to victory?

August 14th, 2022

ARLINGTON -- Maybe it was the bird, maybe it was luck, or maybe it was just plain ol’ baseball. 

Whatever spurred the Rangers’ mid-game rally, it worked. Texas defeated the Mariners, 7-4, on Saturday at Globe Life Field, snapping a nine-game losing skid against Seattle.

“[The Mariners are] doing a lot of things well to win games and put them in the position to win games,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “We’ve got to match that. Tonight it was cool to see us do that because they’ve been beating us all year.”

The game certainly didn’t start off pretty for Texas. , who last week turned in one of his best outings of the season, fell back into his first-inning struggles as Seattle worked its way through two-thirds of the lineup to take a 2-0 lead.

When the Mariners padded their lead with another run in the second, things weren’t looking so good for the Rangers. Trailing 3-0 heading into the fourth with just one hit on the board, it happened.

The bird showed up, the rally started and the Rangers took the lead.

Dubbed "rally bird,” the gray-feathered friend made its first Major League appearance in the top of the fourth inning, but it had hung around Globe Life Field long before that. No one knows how the bird made it into the roofed ballpark, but it was first noticed in the series opener on Friday.

During pregame Saturday, the bird roamed about the infield as the grounds crew prepped for the game. It made another appearance during Ian Kinsler’s and executive vice president of public affairs John Blake’s induction ceremony into the Rangers Hall of Fame.

For the most part, rally bird remained out of sight until the Mariners were up to bat in the fourth inning and caused a few distractions. J.P. Crawford was standing at first base as he and Nathaniel Lowe tried to scare the bird away. It flew around second, then to at third as Sam Haggerty drew a walk, then found its way to Dunning near the mound.

“You play this game forever and see a bunch of crazy stuff happen," Lowe said. “A bird landing on the field is pretty par for the course for the bizarre sport that we play.”

Duran said he tried to shoo away the bird so it wouldn’t get hurt if a play came his way. Dunning, however, let it be. He took a quick glance, then refocused to work his way out of a jam.

Soon after, Dunning struck out Julio Rodríguez swinging and Texas’ comeback ensued. Following Corey Seager’s flyout to start the bottom of the fourth, five consecutive Rangers reached base. It led to three runs, then four when Bubba Thompson tapped a sacrifice bunt to score for the lead.

Texas added three more insurance runs in the win, one courtesy of an Adrián Beltré-esque solo shot by Seager for his 26th home run of the season that matched a career high he last set with the Dodgers in 2016.

So, was it the bird? Or was it just plain ol’ baseball?

“Keep him in the building, if that’s the case. We need that,” Woodward said. “If he’s our rally bird, we’ll put him up on the screen and give him all the publicity he wants if it helps us win games.”