Heaney shoves Nolan Ryan aside.

Royals catcher Salvador Perez strike out to make it nine Ks in a row for Andrew Heaney.

Two-point-two innings. Seven earned runs.

Five innings. Zero earned runs. And a franchise-record-setting night.

Andrew Heaney’s second start was light years ahead of his first start. Yes, his first start was against a rejuvenated Baltimore team and his second was against a surrendering Kansas City team. That certainly helps. But if a team, or a pitcher, is to have a noteworthy season, they have to beat these teams. And the Rangers did, 11-2.

Again, it doesn’t matter that they are playing a patsy. The Rangers have been the patsy for the past six years. And the only way to move off patsy status is to win.

Heaney pitched five then was removed from the game, with a 4-1 lead.

But before he left, he made quite an impression in the Rangers record book.

Heaney struck out Matt Duffy and Nickey Lopez to finish the first inning. One, two.

Then, in the second, he struck out Hunter Dozier, Nate Eaton, and Jackie Bradley Jr. Three, four, five.

In the third, he struck out Bobby Witt, Jr, Edward Olivares, then Vinnie Pasquantino. Six, seven, eight.

He led off the fourth by striking out Salvador Perez. Nine

Nine straight strikeouts. That broke a Nolan Ryan record. And when you start flying in that airspace, you are in some very rare air indeed.

After five innings of Heaney dominating, Texas pretty much locked up with a seven-run sixth inning, punctuated by an Adolis Garcia soul-crushing grand slam to put the Rangers up 11-1. 

Then, it was merely a matter of filling out the paperwork and putting this one to bed.

The Rangers won a game they should have won. Andrew Heaney won a game he needed to win. Texas sits atop the American League West. And Heaney leapfrogged Nolan Ryan.

One game meant so much.