via Texas Rangers
ARLINGTON — Rangers manager Jeff Banister said he had a conversation with Adrian Beltre in the dugout after Nomar Mazara’s seventh-inning home run that tied the game.
“I talked about how Mazara has turned himself into a special player, and that’s what he’s doing,” Banister said.
That conversation came before Mazara’s biggest swing of the day, though. The lanky lefty led off the bottom of the 10th inning with a home run off of Tigers reliever Warwick Saupold, lifting the Rangers to a 5-4 victory on Wednesday afternoon at Globe Life Park.
This was the first multi-home run game of Mazara’s career, and the first time he has hit one for a walk-off. The Rangers have now homered in 13 straight games, the longest streak in the Major Leagues this year.
“It was not only big for me but for the whole team,” Mazara said. “I have been feeling pretty good lately, but that’s not what it is about. It’s about going out there and trying to find a way to win games.”
Mazara’s first home run erased the Tigers’ 5-4 lead and was pretty impressive. The shot had a 110.3-mph exit velocity and a projected distance of 447 feet, according to Statcast™, when it landed in the bleachers in the deepest part of right-center field.
But the second home run was even more noteworthy. Mazara smashed a 1-0 fastball down the right-field line with an exit velocity of 117.1 mph. That’s the hardest-hit home run by a Rangers player since the start of the 2015 season, and gave Mazara six homers of 110-plus mph in 2018, tied with Joey Gallo for the most in the Majors.
“I wasn’t trying to hit a home run; I was just trying to hit something hard,” Mazara said. “He threw me a changeup. I said, ‘OK, he’s got to come in now.’ He threw me a fastball middle-in and I put a good swing on it.”
Mazara has seven home runs in his last nine games and is hitting .291 with nine home runs, 24 RBIs and a .663 slugging percentage over his last 22 games.
“My hands are working really really good,” Mazara said. “That’s all I care about. I don’t have to do too much with my body. Just go up there and look for your pitch and put a good swing [on it]. I feel really comfortable at the plate and have good plan.”
This game had a chance to turn out messy, as Rangers starter Bartolo Colon allowed three runs (two earned) in five innings. It was the shortest of his six starts, and he threw 98 pitches. That’s 19.6 pitches per inning for a guy who went into the start averaging 13.3, the second-fewest in the American League.
There were other mistakes, as well: third baseman Renato Nunez had two errors, the Rangers made a couple of big outs on the basepaths and the lineup went 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position. That’s part of why they were trailing, 4-3, going into the bottom of the seventh, before Mazara tied it up.
Reliever Jake Diekman kept it tied in the top of the eighth when — with runners on second and third — he struck out Victor Martinez and JaCoby Jones. Keone Kela then delivered two scoreless innings before Mazara struck the winning blow.
“That was a good team win,” outfielder Delino DeShields said. “I’m happy we didn’t have to go any longer, thanks to the big fellow. A win like that puts a lot of good vibes in the clubhouse. He’s Mr. Clutch. That’s a guy you want in that situation. He’s so relaxed and just enjoys the moment. He’s the guy.”