Semien, Seager get Rangers rolling over KC

Middle-infield duo combines for 6 RBIs to back Gray's strong 7-inning start

June 29th, 2022

KANSAS CITY -- This past December, the Rangers’ front office along with manager Chris Woodward sat in front of the DFW media at Globe Life Field and introduced three blockbuster signings, signaling the club’s emergence from its full-scale rebuild.

Corey Seager, Marcus Semien and Jon Gray were all introduced that day -- Seager and Semien as the middle-infield superstar pillars of the organization and Gray as the main stability atop a young rotation. 

In Tuesday night’s 8-3 win over the Royals, the middle-infield pillars combined for six of the Rangers’ eight RBIs, while Gray dominated on the mound with seven innings of one-run ball to bring Texas (36-37) within one game of .500 for the first time in a month. 

“Them coming out on fire, it put us up early and gave us a good feel,” Gray said. “From there on, I just wanted to run with it and get as deep into the game as possible. Hats off to them. They were on fire. It was awesome.”

It was just the fourth time this season that Seager and Semien had multihit games. It was the first time they’ve had both multiple hits and RBIs in one game. 

Semien helped put the Rangers up early with a first-inning double before scoring on Adolis García’s double. Semien added a 395-foot, three-run homer into the visitors’ bullpen in the third. Seager joined the party with a two-run double in the next frame to add to Texas’ lead.

“Obviously they’re the ones that got the big hits with guys on base,” Woodward said of Seager and Semien. “But the guys that got on base [ahead of them] were just really stubborn. That's something we've talked a lot about. We can do that every night. You can see when Corey and Marcus get traffic on the bases, they're tough to pitch to. When there’s traffic and Semien is up, it’s difficult and it builds pressure.”

That pressure led to the Rangers’ offense executing up and down the lineup. Every starter except Jonah Heim recorded at least one hit, including two-hit efforts from García and Steven Duggar, who was making his first start with the club.

Woodward has emphasized all season just how dangerous this offense can be when everybody -- especially Seager and Semien -- starts to click at the same time. But Semien noted, it’s not just up to them to keep the ball rolling.

“I mean, Adolis, Kole [Calhoun], Jonah, everybody. Anybody can hit 3-4-5 out of our position guys in the lineup,” Semien said. “We’re deep. It's just a matter of doing better and playing better. I think on the road here, we've been swinging a little bit better so if we can get the bats going at home and continue what we're doing on the road, we'll be doing better in the second half.”

As the Rangers near the halfway point of the season, Woodward is hoping this trend continues as the team continues to hover around .500.

It's not like the Rangers took down the American League’s best team this week, but it showed the first step of what Woodward has wanted to see from his team all season: winning consistently against teams they should win against.

Woodward said the series against the Nationals this past weekend felt like a wakeup call for the offense, when Texas scored just eight runs over three games against one of the National League’s worst pitching staffs.

In two games against the Royals, the Rangers have scored a combined 18 runs on 28 hits.

“It was just like, ‘Hey, we can be better and we’ve got to be better than this,’” Woodward said. “I think this series against Kansas City, we came in with a little bit of a chip on our shoulder to say we're not gonna let that happen again. We’ve still got a lot of games left. Today and yesterday, we did a really good job, but we have to move on and we gotta do it again tomorrow.”