World champion Rangers overcome disputed tip and beat Cubs 4-3 on Heim's 10th-inning single

Fri, Mar 29, 2024
MLB News (AP)

World champion Rangers overcome disputed tip and beat Cubs 4-3 on Heim's 10th-inning single

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) - Jonah Heim hit a game-ending RBI single with two outs in the 10th inning as the World Series champion Texas Rangers opened the season with a 4-3 win over the Chicago Cubs on Thursday night.

Adolis Garcia and Travis Jankowski homered for the Rangers, who unfurled the franchise's first World Series championship banner from the rafters high above right field before the dramatic victory.

Drew Smyly, the Cubs' seventh pitcher, walked two to load the bases before Heim lined a sharp hit into right-center field and was mobbed by his teammates.

Jankowski led off the ninth with a tying pinch-hit homer after Chicago went ahead on a disputed play with two outs in the top half of the inning involving All-Star catcher Heim.

Michael Busch scored from second base on what Heim thought was a foul tip - and appeared to be on slow-motion replays, though that kind of play isn't subject to video review. Jose Leclerc, who had walked Busch, was charged with a wild pitch.

David Robertson, the veteran reliever Texas signed in free agency, worked the 10th for the win.

Cubs left-hander Justin Steele struck out six in his first career opening-day start before exiting with left hamstring tightness with two outs in the fifth inning. The first-time All-Star last year, when he was 15-6 with a 3.06 ERA, got hurt while fielding a sacrifice bunt.

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Nathan Eovaldi, the winner in World Series Game 5 at Arizona last Nov. 1 that clinched Texas' first championship, allowed two runs over six innings in the opener.

Texas had rookies Wyatt Langford and Evan Carter in the lineup with all six of its All-Stars from last season, including Eovaldi. Carter made his debut at the end of last season, while Langford was the designated hitter and the first Rangers position player to make his MLB debut by starting on opening day since former shortstop Elvis Andrus in 2009.

Langford, the fourth overall pick in last summer's amateur draft, hit a tying sacrifice fly in the fourth. His first big league hit was an infield single right after Garcia homered in the sixth.

A month after slugger Cody Bellinger signed an $80 million, three-year contract to stay with the Cubs, though he does have an opt-out after this season, the 2019 NL MVP hit an RBI double to put Chicago up 2-1 in the sixth.

The Cubs played their first game with Craig Counsell as the big league's highest-paid manager at five years worth more than $40 million. His contract with budget-conscious Milwaukee had expired after three NL Central titles and five playoff appearances the past six years.


A sellout crowd of 42,130 was the largest ever for a regular-season game at Globe Life Field, which opened in 2020. The only three larger crowds for games came during the playoffs last October.


Cubs: RHP Jameson Taillon was placed on the 15-day injured list and INF Patrick Wisdom on the 10-day IL, with those moves retroactive to Monday. Both players have back strains.

Rangers: Offseason addition RHP Tyler Mahle (rehab from Tommy John surgery) began the season on the 60-day IL. RHPs Michael Lorenzen (right neck strain), signed last week, went on the 15-day IL. That move was retroactive to Monday, as was Gold Glove 1B Nathaniel Lowe (right oblique strain) to the 10-day IL.


A day off before RHP Kyle Hendricks pitches Saturday for the Cubs. Texas likely will go with lefty Andrew Heaney.



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