ARLINGTON, Texas — Rangers manager Chris Woodward admitted that his team headed into its latest homestand (and probably biggest so far this season) as it it was punched in the gut, with Texas seeing possible wins turned into final at-bat losses multiple times during the week. From up off the canvas of those blows emerged shortstop Corey Seager, and his haymaker in the fifth inning of tonight’s game punctuated the fight the Rangers still have this week — as well as a possible sign that Seager is finally coming into his own as a Texas Ranger.
Seager capped off a six-run inning for the Rangers with a three-run home run as the Rangers came from behind to defeat the Minnesota Twins 6-5 at Globe Life Field. Adolis García had three hits hitting right behind Seager while starting pitcher Jon Gray overcame an unsteady beginning to work 5 1/3 innings to pick up his fifth win and end Texas’ four-game losing streak.
Three of the Texas’ four losses during its losing skid was a sweep in Baltimore, as the Rangers scored in the ninth inning on Monday and Tuesday to take the lead, only for the Orioles to score a game-tying run in the bottom of the ninth and then walk it off in the bottom of the tenth in both games. Baltimore’s third-straight one-run win against the Rangers on Wednesday to sweep the series made tonight’s game, the start of a 10-game homestand to end the first half of the season, even more crucial in turning around fortunes before the All-Star Break.
Two batters into the game on Friday against the AL Central leaders, it was 2-0 Twins after an error by Rangers first baseman Nathaniel Lowe and a Carlos Correa two-run homer.
The Minnesota lead was 3-0 before Texas’ bats woke up in a major way in the fifth inning, as Lowe starting the inning with a single before a Jonah Heim single and Kole Calhoun walk loaded the bases with no one out. Mitch Garver was then hit by a Sonny Gray pitch on the arm to drive in the first run, then a Leody Tavares sac fly and Josh H. Smith single tied the score at 3-3 before the Rangers’ two big offseason acquisitions, Seager along with Marcus Semien, were due up.
Semien popped out to first for the second out, then the Twins pulled Gray to put in lefty Caleb Thielbar to face the left-handed Seager, who batted just .222 in the month of June. After getting ahead 1-2, Thielbar left a hanging slider the Seager turned on and crushed almost 400 feet into the right-field bleachers to give Texas a crooked number on the scoreboard in the inning.
Since the start of July, Seager is batting .321 (9-for-28) with two home runs, seven RBI. Almost as remarkable, Seager has struck out just once during the stretch.
Minnesota answered immediately in the sixth off Jon Gray, most notably Ryan Jeffers and his two-run homer with one on to cut Texas’ lead to one. The Rangers bullpen made the one-run lead stand, working 3 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball while allowing just two hits combined amongst four relievers.
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Friday evening’s game, with all photos taken by Dallas-area photographer Ross James. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 27 pictures in total.