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Mar 28, 2024 11:22 pm

Rangers open title defense with walk-off win vs. Cubs in 10th

Jonah Heim

Jonah Heim redeemed himself for a mental miscue by delivering a walk-off RBI single in the 10th inning, lifting the Texas Rangers to a 4-3 victory over the Chicago Cubs in the season opener on Thursday in Arlington, Texas.

Inherited runner Marcus Semien advanced to third base on a groundout in the 10th inning, and Drew Smyly (0-1) walked the bases loaded before Heim deposited the ball into center field to end the game. David Robertson (1-0) worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the top of the 10th to pick up the win.

Chicago seized a 3-2 lead in controversial fashion in the ninth inning, as Michael Busch scored from second base on a wild pitch. Replays, however, showed that pinch hitter Miles Mastrobuoni made contact with a pitch by Jose Leclerc, and Busch alertly scampered home after Rangers catcher Heim did not immediately chase after the ball.

Texas’ Travis Jankowski belted a pinch-hit homer to lead off the ninth and Adolis Garcia launched a solo shot among his two hits. Rookie Wyatt Langford had a sacrifice fly and an infield single in his MLB debut for the Rangers, who unfurled their 2023 World Series championship banner before the game.

Chicago’s Christopher Morel had a triple among his two hits and scored the game’s first run on a sacrifice fly by Dansby Swanson in the second. Cody Bellinger added an RBI double in the sixth for the Cubs, who saw ace left-hander Justin Steele exit the game in the fifth with tightness in his left hamstring.

Steele immediately clutched at the back of his left leg after fielding a bunt by Leody Taveras and backhanding the ball to first baseman Busch. Steele, who tossed 4 2/3 innings of one-run ball with six strikeouts, remained on the field before getting up and walking off with manager Craig Counsell by his side.

Jankowski forged a tie after depositing a 3-2 slider from Adbert Alzolay over the wall in right field to lead off the ninth.

Seiya Suzuki belted a two-out double to left field in the sixth and scored on Bellinger’s double to right to regain the advantage for the Cubs.

That lead was short-lived, however, as Garcia capped an eight-pitch at-bat by depositing an offering from Yency Almonte over the wall in left field in the sixth. Garcia punctuated his first homer of the season with a bat flip.

Rangers Opening Day starter Nathan Eovaldi limited the Cubs to two runs over six innings, allowing four hits and a walk while whiffing three.

–Field Level Media

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