SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — They like to joke that Scott Heineman hits the home runs and his big brother brings him a little good luck then gets a front-row seat to watch him round the bases.
Scott homered in the ninth inning for the Texas Rangers in a 7-3 loss to San Francisco as brother Tyler played catcher for the Giants.
“I saw him after the game. We did a jersey swap, which was pretty cool,” 27-year-old Scott said. “First thing he said to me was like, ‘Dude, unbelievable, 3 for 12 with three home runs.’ Maybe I got good fortune when he’s behind the plate.”
Their father will be gifted the jerseys after making the request earlier in the day.
“We just figured we would do something kind of special,” Tyler said.
Before first pitch, the brothers walked out to home plate from opposite dugouts and represented the Rangers and Giants to confirm the lineup cards, then posed for a photo with the umpires.
Hands on hips, they could only grin. Who would have thought this might happen? Not this year in interleague, at least, when the NL West had been scheduled to face the AL Central before the coronavirus pandemic changed everything.
Their two managers chatted ahead of time about sending the Heinemans to meet at the plate. There’s no socializing or shared meals this weekend as each strictly sticks to safety protocols.
What made the moment even sweeter for the close-knit siblings is Scott and Tyler each earned a start — something that might not necessarily have happened in other circumstances but worked out beautifully in this condensed 60-game season.
“It’s something that we’re never going to forget,” said the 29-year-old Tyler. “Obviously we wish it was under circumstances where there are fans in the stands and our family could come but we’ll take whatever we can get. Both of us are striving to make a name for ourselves up in the big leagues and hopefully we can play against each other for years to come.”
Scott filled in at center field for Texas in place of the ailing Danny Santana, while Giants catcher Tyler has a greater opportunity to play after Buster Posey opted out of the season to care for premature twin girls he adopted last month.
“It’s just sheer coincidence,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said of the good fortune for both sides.
It took a bit of thoughtful planning to pull this off. Managers no longer trade lineup cards before the game as has long been tradition but rather make sure both cards match up correctly.
Woodward reached out to Giants counterpart Gabe Kapler about making this game more special for the players and their proud parents.
“It’s a gesture that Woody wanted to extend,” Kapler said. “I thought it’s an awesome idea. The thing that I think is most cool about that is how his mom and dad are going to feel about that. That’s one of the things that I talked to our Heineman, to Tyler about, was how cool it is for a mother and father to see something like that, to see their kids play in a major league game.”
The siblings couldn’t wait just to share a major league field even if they weren’t playing — but then that happened, too.
Typically, their family members certainly would have tried to attend the game, but fans aren’t allowed in the ballpark given the spread of COVID-19.
Tyler produced an eighth-inning double before Scott’s big swing.
“If he had gotten a single that would have been a little bit better for me,” Tyler said. “I don’t think I’m going to live that down.”
Woodward understands how much this must mean for the family.
“It’s kind of a dream come true. I don’t have a brother but I can only imagine what that would be like to have two brothers,” he said. “… It’s got to be a special moment. You grew up together, you’re playing whiffle ball in the backyard, you’re just messing around the whole time as baseball players. To see each other kind of grow up and become both major leaguers and fortunately they’re both starting today which makes it even more special. Hopefully our guy dominates the other.”
AP Baseball Writers Stephen Hawkins and Noah Trister contributed to this report.