Connor Sadzeck made his major league debut Saturday night, and he did it in a scintillating fashion. The 6-foot-7 right-hander who regularly throws in the high-90s, struck out Mitch Garver on four pitches to end the top half of the sixth inning at Globe Life Park.
The Rangers, who hit four home runs to beat the Twins 7-4, have long expected Sadzeck to eventually find a spot on the roster. Perhaps that’s now and into the future.
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Sadzeck registered fastballs of 99, 99 and 100 mph before getting Garver swinging on an 80 mph curveball.
“I went for the punch out with the fastball the pitch before and didn’t get it, but it kind of worked out,” Sadzeck said. “It set up for the curveball, and I was able to make a good pitch and get the swing and miss, so … it was pretty surreal.
“I know people say it’s a dream come true, and it really was. It’s kind of unexplainable. It was awesome,” said Sadzeck, who had about 10 family members in from Illinois for the game, along with his girlfriend from Arizona.
Before throwing his first major league pitch, Sadzeck missed a sign from catcher Isaih Kiner-Falefa and stepped off the rubber to regain his composure and retake the sign.
“He settled himself and took dead aim at the strike zone,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. “What can you say about a big guy who creates angle and throws a 100 [mph]? Breaking pitch was pretty solid, too.”
Banister greeted Sadzeck at the dugout entrance and welcomed him to the big league.
“You could tell, those moments are so fun, just to watch things happen, know the number of people he has in the stands just to watch him become a big leaguer tonight, watch him point to all the people in the stands who carried him to this point. It was awesome to watch,” Banister said.
Sadzeck, 26, said getting up in the bullpen during Friday’s game helped calm his nerves.
“Getting the blood pumping and the heart racing a little bit. I had a little bit of that today, but I felt a little more calm out there and stayed within myself and tried to get Strike 1. That was the big thing,” he said.
In the dugout, Banister congratulated him and told Sadzeck “there was many more to come.”
Three thoughts from the Rangers’ 7-4 win:
1. Beltre milestone tracker — Adrian Beltre homered in the fourth inning to give him 470 homers in his career, three shy of tying Carlos Delgado for No. 32 all-time. He passed Hall of Famer Robin Yount into sole possession of 17th all-time with 3,143 hits. He now has 1,690 RBIs, five shy of tying Cal Ripken for 27th all-time.
2. Yo Yo Yo — Yovani Gallardo earned the win after holding the Twins to three runs on six hits over five innings. Gallardo’s wild pitch allowed a run to score in the first, and Jake Cave’s solo homer in the second gave the Twins a 2-0 lead. Gallardo snapped a two-game losing streak and is now 8-3, despite a 5.97 ERA. His eight wins are second-most for Texas behind Mike Minor’s 10 wins.
3. Zac’s opportunity — Reliever Zac Curtis was called up from Triple-A Round Rock, primarily to give the Rangers left-handed cover out of the bullpen. Curtis, who pitched in seven games for the Phillies earlier this season, took over for Gallardo in the sixth and retired two of three batters he faced. He hopes to prove to the Rangers that he’s a viable option in the future.
“It’s another opportunity to show what I can do, show that I belong here,” said Curtis, who turned 26 on July 4. “Just excited to be here, really. Very thankful for the Rangers to claim me, giving me another opportunity to be in the big leagues.”