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Tuesday newsletter time: See Jonah Heim’s heads-up play as Rangers split in Miami

(AP photo/Lynne Sladky)


No baseball game is the same, though it can feel that way when a team is trying to get to the finish line.

Something is going to happen that makes a game stand out from the one before it.

On Monday night, Jonah Heim provided that moment.

The Rangers catcher made a rare play, one that many observers had never seen, as the Rangers dropped the second game of a doubleheader at Miami, 10-6. The Rangers won Game 1, 3-2.

Right-hander Jesus Tinoco was pitching to Marlins rookie J.J. Bedlay, who fouled tippled a 2-2 pitch into Heim’s mask. The ball shot high into the air, and Heim moved quickly from behind the plate to catch it with his bare hand.

That goes down as a strikeout on a foul tip. Crazy, right?

That play wasn’t the only highlight in the Game 2 loss in which an eight-run fifth inning had the Marlins well on their way to a doubleheader split. The Rangers led 3-1 entering the inning thanks to a homer by Josh Jung and a two-run shot by Marcus Semien.

Corey Seager later hit his 30th homer of the season, a two-run shot.

Jung delivered an RBI double in the first game, and tied the Rangers record for the most extra-base hits (four) in his first five MLB games. Ruben Sierra did it first, in 1986, and ballyhooed prospect Ruben Mateo accomplished that feat in 1999.

The Rangers are headed home for two games tonight and Wednesday before going back to Florida this weekend to play Tampa Bay.

Why Gray matters

Right-hander Jon Gray was reinstated from the 10-day injured list (oblique) and did some of his best pitching of the season over 3 2/3 innings Game 2, throwing 39 of his 45 pitches for strikes and exiting with no earned runs allowed.

It was his first outing since early August, so the Rangers weren’t going to toy with stretching him out in the minors. Gray admitted afterward to feeling some fatigue.

Gray could start four more times this season, but each one will all be monitored to make sure he doesn’t aggravate the injury and can still have a normal off-season workload.

He has been very good this season, the first of a four-year, $56 million deal, but he has been on the injured list three times.

If Gray can stay healthy next season, which at this point has to rate as a signfiiciant “if,” the Rangers will have a quality stater at the top of the rotation or near the top.

Big week for affiliates

Double A Frisco has whittled its magic number to clinch the second-half title of the Texas League South Division to six games with six to play this week.

The RoughRiders are two games up on Midland, which is playing host to the league’s best team, Wichita. Frisco is finishing he regular season against the league’s worst team, Northwest Arkansas.

When the Rangers talk about player development, they want their minor-leaguers to learn how to win before reaching the major leagues. A postseason berth would be handy for a group of prospects that includes right-hander Jack Leiter and shortstop Luisangel Acuna.

It will be good to see how prospects perform with more on the line, both this week and potentially in the playoffs. The pitchers are worn down and will need to find something extra if Frisco is postseason bound.

Outfielder Evan Carter will part division race. He was promoted from High A Hickory after the season finale there. Infielder Thomas Saggese was also promoted to Frisco, which first baseman Blaine Crim goes from Frisco to Triple A Round Rock.

Speaking of Round Rock, the Express is one game out in the Pacific Coast League East Division. El Paso and Oklahoma City are tied for first, and Round Rock is playing at El Paso this week in a crucial series. Oklahoma City is at Albuquerque, where baseball’s go a long way.

Doggy video!

Three dogs currently in the Wilson house, and none has tried this yet. I hope they never do. Enjoy. See you Wednesday.

Jeff Wilson, jeff@rangersoday.com

Jeff Wilson

Sports reporter for two decades. Sports fan for life. Covers the Texas Rangers. Graduate of TCU. Colorado native. Author of Purple Passion: TCU Football Legends (https://t.co/2fmXLyympx). Follow me on Twitter at @JeffWilsonTXR

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