Seager, Semien team up to spark series win

Shortstop cracks go-ahead homer after second baseman's walk sets table

September 23rd, 2022

ARLINGTON -- Corey Seager is no stranger to success, especially at the Rangers’ home of Globe Life Field. After all, he won a World Series and a World Series MVP right here in this building.

So in a tie game going into the eighth inning, the top of the lineup is exactly who the Rangers want coming to the plate. Marcus Semien got things started with a leadoff walk that set the stage perfectly for Seager to have another big moment in the ballpark.

Seager came up big once again, launching a 405-foot shot into the visitors’ bullpen in left-center field to break the tie and secure a 5-3 win and a series victory for the Rangers over the Angels. It was Seager’s 12th go-ahead home run of the season, good for best on Texas’ squad and seventh in the American League.

“It’s big,” Semien said. “Being at the top of the lineup, we want to create runs. I was glad to get on base and work that [pitcher], and then Corey got a pitch to hit and did what he does. So it's going to be big for us going into the end of the year to finish strong and see what we can do going into next year.”

The homer felt even more important for Seager, as he continues to work through an unlikely slump for a player of his caliber. Though he does have a career high in home runs, now with 32 on the year, Seager has the lowest batting average (.246) and on-base percentage (.320) of any season in his career.

To have a big hit, in a big situation -- regardless of the Rangers and Angels’ places in the standings -- is still important for him and the club.

“I know he comes across as so even-keeled, but underneath everyone's tough layer or whatever, there’s a human,” said interim manager Tony Beasley. “And a human has feelings. So when he struggles, he feels it. And when he has success, he feels that as well. So it's good for him to have a good day and come up clutch with a big hit in the eighth. It was huge to lift us. I would think that, yeah, that gives him a good feeling and something that he can build upon confidence-wise.”

Rangers starter Martín Pérez, who gave up three runs in the third inning but was lights-out otherwise, credited Seager and the offense for completing the comeback after the Rangers went down 3-0 early in the game.

“Our goal as the starter is to go as deep as you can, and we're going to score runs at any moment,” Pérez said. “Corey hit the ball really good, and he gave us the win.”

While Seager had the final dagger, Semien drove the offense for much of the game, notching a 2-for-3 day before adding the walk that set up Seager’s go-ahead homer. 

After starting the season slowly, Semien has hit his stride over the last few months to play like the Rangers expected when they signed him to a seven-year, $175 million deal this offseason.  

“I just started off slow, you know,” Semien said. “I think that I got more comfortable, as we got into June and tried to stick with the same process every day, do the same work and make adjustments when I needed to. I'd say since June, I felt a lot better than the beginning.”

Semien has hits in nine of his last 10 games, good for a .425 average over that time period. He is also slashing .345/.389/.595 with a .984 OPS through 20 September games, in which he has raised his season batting average from .239 to .254. 

“He's been the catalyst for us,” Beasley said. “Leading off, he's been making things happen on both sides of the ball, defensively, offensively, on the basepaths. He's done an outstanding job for us. You eliminate the first month or so and it's the type of season that you expect from Marcus Semien. 

“The thing I like about him is the fact that he's never satisfied. He's always striving to get better and improve his game. He's a winning player. I'm glad that he's playing like he’s capable of playing.”