Corey Seager snatches Rangers victory from jaws of Diamondbacks: ‘He saved us’

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Major League Baseball

Oct. 28, 2023 5:26 a.m. ET

ARLINGTON, Texas — Who else but Corey Seager and Adolis García would play superhero for the Rangers?

Well before October, Seager had experienced his share of signature moments at Globe Life Field. But on Friday, he cemented himself in Texas lore forever. With the Rangers down to their last two outs and trailing by two runs, Seager clubbed a game-tying, two-run home run off Diamondbacks closer Paul Sewald that still might not have landed. As the ball sailed, García stood in the on-deck circle, screaming and pumping his fist.

The blue, white, and red crowd of 42,472 at Globe Life Field, simmering for nine innings, finally erupted with all it had. A steady and decibel-shattering roar continued for minutes, long after Seager himself had rounded the bases and high-fived his teammates in the dugout. If the thunder from the stands wasn’t enough to elicit goosebumps, Seager’s reaction to his home run will spark the Rangers for days to come.

“That was the best moment of the game,” García said afterward. “He fired me up.”

No kidding. Two innings later, García hit a game-ending homer into the right-field seats off Miguel Castro, as the Rangers spilled onto the field and celebrated a stunning 6-5 win over the D-backs in Game 1 of the World Series. Even after a cooling-off period, the American League champs remained in awe of what they had witnessed, especially from Seager.

“It’s hard to hit a bigger home run than what he did there, down two in the ninth,” Texas manager Bruce Bochy said. “He saved us there. You could see it in him.”

Seager is one of baseball’s relative stoics. The business-like shortstop doesn’t allow himself to get excited, let alone show that response to the world. But this was different. This moment was too big, too important. This was the most emotion Seager has ever shown on a baseball field. 

“He’s just going nuts and nuts,” Rangers first baseman Nathaniel Lowe said. “That’s so different from his process in the regular season.”

Third baseman Josh Jung added: “The chills is what was crazy. After Corey’s home run, it’s just like blackout moments for everyone. I can only imagine what it was like for him — all the adrenaline rushing through his body.”

The second Seager turned on the first pitch from Sewald — a 94 mph fastball at the top of the zone — he knew it was gone. Everyone did. Standing at home plate, holding his bat, with his chin pointing skyward, Seager howled right then and there. After he watched it go, but before the ball had even touched down, Seager turned to his teammates in the dugout and screamed at them, too. Only once he rounded first base did the detached, cold-blooded Seager return. 

“Just excitement, obviously,” said Seager, who had come back down to earth in time for his postgame press conference. “It’s fun. This is the playoffs. This is kind of what it’s all about. So, it was a cool moment, for sure.”

Corey Seager crushes game-tying, two-run HR in Game 1 of World Series

Seager has now hit the third-most home runs by a shortstop in postseason history (17), trailing only Derek Jeter (20) and Carlos Correa (18). The lefty slugger just eclipsed Jeter and Correa for the World Series record with four — in a mere 14 games. His 10 postseason homers at Globe Life Field, the host site for most of the 2020 postseason due to the pandemic, are six more than anyone else in this park. It’s where Seager accomplished his greatest feats, earning NLCS and World Series MVP honors with the Dodgers.

But none of his previous blasts here were bigger than his latest. 

“That’s why you bring a guy like that here,” Lowe said. “That’s why you pay top dollar for a top-tier player and you get a top-tier performance when you need it the most.”

In the winter of 2021, the Rangers broke the bank for Seager, signing him to a 10-year, $325 million deal the same day they announced a seven-year pact with Marcus Semien. With two shrewd moves, Texas’ middle infield was secured for the foreseeable future, and especially for a moment like Friday’s World Series opener. Now, 695 days since Seager draped his No. 2 Rangers jersey over his shoulders for the first time, the superstar shortstop has earned every cent of his contract. 

That goes beyond what he does in the box. 

Seager’s mindset and approach to the game, hitting relentlessly in the cage whenever he has a free moment, has rubbed off on his teammates. Texas boasted the AL’s best offense this year, with Seager ranking second to Shohei Ohtani among all qualified hitters in slugging, OPS and OPS+. Multiple Rangers noted Friday that Seager’s attitude has had a ripple effect throughout the clubhouse, his intensity and productivity fueling them.

“It was pure ecstasy, just euphoria,” utility outfielder Travis Jankowski said of Seager’s shot. “I looked over at [Game 1 starter Nathan] Eovaldi and said, ‘That might be the coolest home run I’ve ever seen in my life.’ Two innings later, Adolis does that, and I’m like, ‘Sheesh. I better go 1A and 1B now, right? You can’t put one above the other.”

Adolis García smashes walk-off homer as Rangers beat D-backs

Being on the other side of a game-altering ninth-inning home run is still fresh in Semien’s mind … because it happened exactly a week ago in the same building. Semien said it was tough to sleep the night José Altuve hit a go-ahead, three-run home run off Texas’ José Leclerc to give the Astros an improbable win in Game 5 of the ALCS. Semien might again have trouble sleeping after a thrilling start to the World Series, but at least he’ll be grinning as he tosses and turns. 

While the Rangers chanted “El Bombi” in the tunnel after Friday’s final out, there’d be nothing for them to celebrate without Seager crashing the D-backs’ party. 

“Honestly,” rookie outfielder Evan Carter said of Seager’s heroics, “right now, it’s otherworldly.”

Words like otherworldly and mystical and superhuman are some of the only ways to describe Seager’s unforgettable smash. But it’s also just one swing, a juncture that Texas hopes sets the tone for the rest of the Fall Classic.

There’s still more work to be done. Seager’s composure after he rounded first base signaled as much. Let the fury out, allow the emotions to show, but only for a moment. Don’t let the excitement derail the goal. These are Seager’s Rangers, after all. The last thing they’ll do is sell the skin before they’ve caught the bear.

For Texas, it’s one win down, three more to glory.

Deesha Thosar is an MLB writer for FOX Sports. She previously covered the Mets as a beat reporter for the New York Daily News. The daughter of Indian immigrants, Deesha grew up on Long Island and now lives in Queens. Follow her on Twitter at @DeeshaThosar

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