'Blessed' Brock delivers walk-off knock

June 9th, 2021

ARLINGTON -- As soon as could walk and talk, he wanted to play baseball. Growing up in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, that meant he wanted to play for the Texas Rangers.

Holt's Rangers career may have reached a peak Wednesday afternoon when he drove a walk-off RBI single into center field in the 11th inning to steal a 4-3 win from San Francisco at Globe Life Field.

“I'm getting to live out my childhood dream that not many people get to do,” Holt said. “I'm blessed to be able to do that and I'm happy to be here, regardless if I get walk-off hits or not.”

The Giants intentionally walked Isiah Kiner-Falefa -- who is slashing .291/.327/.410 -- to get to Holt before Holt promptly delivered the deciding base knock.

Manager Chris Woodward said he understood the decision to walk Kiner-Falefa, and he agreed that he probably would have done it himself had he been on the other side, but he was confident either guy could have ended the game.

“I thought for sure Kiner was gonna win [the game] right there,” Woodward said. “But I figured either one of them would win it. With the lefty on the mound, well, [Jake] McGee's fastball is really good, but that's kind of Kiner’s bread and butter. Brock probably represents just as good an opportunity or better to win. He can hit high fastballs as well. We had two guys back-to-back that were good matchups.”

Giants manager Gabe Kapler said they weren’t worried about an additional baserunner since the Rangers only needed one run to win, and he wanted to avoid one of their better hitters in Kiner-Falefa.

Holt said he was prepared to be walked once he realized the situation, but he was just happy to win a game no matter how it happened. He was “in the zone” so much after the hit that Rangers starter Kyle Gibson joked about giving him a hard time for not being happy enough.

“I was obviously happy that we won, but just in the zone,” Holt said. “It's always fun when your teammates come out and pour water on you. It's fun winning baseball games, especially when times have been a little rough for us. It's just good to get one.”

Eli White notched the Rangers' first two hits on just his second day since being called up from Triple-A Round Rock. He scored the first run of the game on a groundout from Kiner-Falefa in the sixth inning. Woodward said he was a spark for Texas’ late offensive surge.

Wednesday’s win moves the Rangers’ record to 24-39, keeping them in last place in the American League West with just under 100 games left in 2021. Woodward said that Texas is desperate to string wins together right now and fight through every day.

Before Wednesday’s game, Woodward joked that he needed a lot more than a few minutes on a Zoom call to describe what it takes for a young team to learn how to win, but that it’s all about execution and consistency from his players on an individual basis.

The win over the Giants was a step in the right direction.

“There's a lot that goes into being able to execute consistently,” Woodward said. “Clearly, every player that puts a uniform on, that's their aspiration, to be good all the time. But there's so many ups and downs, there's so many feelings and thoughts that go into that. 

“Then as a collective group, it’s trusting that everybody is going to put their best foot forward. Everybody can kind of trust that the effort, the work, the dedication and the commitment to what we're trying to do on a daily basis is there.”

Woodward emphasized that the collective buy-in as a group drives the belief that they’re going to win every day, no matter who’s on the field. But that attitude takes time to manifest, something he hopes comes through in the back half of the season and as the Rangers try to snap a 15-game road losing streak on Friday against the Dodgers.

“When things are going like they’ve been going, everybody gets a little frustrated, a little uptight, especially the last two and a half weeks,” Holt said. “It's good to beat down, and fight back and put together some good at-bats to get back into the game plan and end up winning it. That's a big one for us.”