Home Sports Corey Seager provides the offense as Rangers defeat the Dodgers

Corey Seager provides the offense as Rangers defeat the Dodgers

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LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA-Rangers Corey Seager hits a home run against the Dodgers in the fifth inning at Dodgers Stadium on Wednesday. (Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times)

The first time Dodgers fans saw Corey Seager On the bench this week, they applauded.

However, the first time they saw the former Dodgers shortstop on the field, Seager gave them no choice but to boo.

In his first game as a visiting player at Dodger Stadium, three years since leaving the franchise that drafted him, where he first became an All-Star and World Series champion, Seager led the Texas Rangers to a victory 2-for-3, providing the decisive blow in his first game back from a hamstring injury with a three-run homer Walker Buhler in the fifth inning.

“We miss him,” Rangers coach Bruce Bochy said after Seager missed the previous five games. “It’s good to have him back.”

His former club couldn’t say the same.

The Dodgers nearly saved the game in the ninth inning, when Jason Heyward nearly tied the score with a two-runner double. But running back Andy Pages was ejected at home on a bang-bang play at the plate after ignoring a stop sign from third base coach Dino Ebel.

The Dodgers called for a challenge to see if Rangers catcher Jonah Heim was blocking the plate. But after a video review, the call was confirmed.

Game over.

Another night at Dodger Stadium, decided by Seager’s swing.

Read more: Hernandez: Corey Seager’s return to Dodger Stadium raises questions about his departure

“It sucks that he’s my friend and he cut me,” Buehler said of Seager, his former Dodgers teammate before the Rangers signed him for $325 million two winters ago. “But at the end of the day, people don’t give 300 million for no reason. “He’s as good as there is in this game.”

Twenty-four hours earlier, Seager was welcomed back to Chavez Ravine with a warm reception on Tuesday, receiving a video tribute and extensive ovation from his former fan base before the start of this week’s three-game series.

However, due to a hamstring injury, Seager did not play in that game.

Only on Wednesday did Seager return to the lineup. And in his second at-bat, he reminded his former club of exactly what he let slip.

With the Dodgers leading by one in the fifth inning, thanks to Shohei Ohtani’s 17th home run in the first inning, Seager came to the plate with two on base (one on an error by newly acquired Cavan Biggio, who started at third base) and got in a full count battle with Buehler.

The first reward pitch: a slider that Seager fouled out.

Next up: a bright red fastball, down the middle.

Andy Pages, representing the tying run, is thrown out at the plate by Rangers catcher Jonah Heim to end the game.

Andy Pages, representing the tying run, is thrown out at the plate by Rangers catcher Jonah Heim to end the game. (Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times)

Seager did not fail.

With an explosive swing and two-handed shot, the same silhouette that defined Seager’s decorated Dodgers career, the slugger launched his go-ahead three-run shot deep into the right field pavilion.

“I tried to come in,” said Buehler, who allowed no other runs in a five-inning, seven-hit, two-strikeout start, “and I kind of left it on the plate.”

The blast was Seager’s 13th home run of the season. He scored the 60th long ball of his career at Dodger Stadium. And, in what was almost certainly a first for the 30-year-old veteran, it sparked a reaction he had never received before at Dodger Stadium.

Boos. Many of them.

“I guess it comes with the territory,” Seager said after the game with a sheepish smile. “I mean, I don’t blame them. I understand.”

The Rangers’ 3-1 lead held until the ninth, when the Dodgers came close to a last-gasp comeback after a close play by Pages at the plate.

With two in and two out, Heyward hit a double to center field that easily scored Will Smith from second, and was blocked by the Rangers’ Leody Taveras in center field.

Having started the play at first base, Pages saw the ball and then decided to go for the tying run.

What Pages didn’t see: Ebel holding up a stop sign with one hand at third base, running past the base coach on his way to being thrown out on a stunning relay play by Rangers infielder Marcus Semien .

“As soon as I saw the center fielder make a little mistake, I thought about scoring that tying run,” Pages said in Spanish. “You learn from those things. Unfortunately, those things have to happen for you to get better.”

Manager Dave Roberts said Dodgers coaches weren’t upset with Pages, the 22-year-old rookie outfielder who has given the club much-needed production at the bottom of the lineup.

After all, it was Pages’ two-out walk that even allowed Heyward to come to the plate.

“It’s one thing to be defiant and ignore a stop sign when you see one, and it’s another thing to try to make a play and try to be aggressive, seeing the ball in the outfield, and that’s what he did,” Roberts said. , noting that the Rangers still had to perfectly execute their relay game to catch him. “It’s certainly not a reprimand situation. “It’s just a teaching moment.”

One that also ensured that Seager’s boo remained the decisive blow in the game.

“He certainly deserves all the applause from Dodger fans, he helped us win a championship,” Roberts said of his former shortstop. “But he also deserved those boos after the three-run homer.”

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This story originally appeared on Los Angeles Times.

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