ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Corey Seager was hitting home runs in Globe Life Field before he called the park home. The shortstop now has his first multihomer game with the Texas Rangers.
Seager snapped an 0-for-16 slump with solo homers in each of his first two at-bats, Martin Perez pitched 6 1/3 solid innings and the Rangers opened a nine-game homestand with a 6-4 win over the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday night.
“Corey, he’s going to keep coming at you ... He doesn’t give in. And it’s every single pitch. He’s trying to do damage, he’s trying to hit the ball as hard as he can,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “It’s nice to see him get some results.”
After going the opposite way to left-center for a two-out solo shot in the first inning to put Texas ahead to stay, Seager’s leadoff homer in the third to right-center made it 4-0.
All six of his homers this season have come in the stadium where two seasons ago in the neutral-site playoffs, he hit seven homers in 16 games for the Los Angeles Dodgers and was MVP of both the NL Championship Series and World Series.
But Seager had been hitless in the previous four games to drop his batting average to a season-low .231.
“It was just a good offensive night all around. You know, we had some chances in New York and never felt like we got that big hit,” said Seager, who joined Texas over the winter on a $325 million, 10-year contract. “So to kind of get out there and get on the board early and take some walks, get some big hits, it kind of really kind of jumpstarted us.”
Texas had three consecutive singles off Brad Keller (1-3) after Seager’s two-out homer in the first, with Kole Calhoun’s two-run hit making it 3-0. The Rangers were coming off a three-game series against the Yankees when both teams had a combined five runs — New York won two of the games.
Perez (1-2) struck out six without a walk and was charged with four runs, but only one was earned. The left-hander has allowed just two earned runs over 26 1/3 innings for a 0.68 ERA his last four starts.
“Martin’s doing what Martin does. He’s pitching really well,” Woodward said. “I mean, he just kind of ran out of pitches there, but I still thought he had a lot left.”
The Royals, who have lost three games in a row and eight of 10, scored the three unearned runs in the seventh with just-in third baseman Charlie Culberson making errors on consecutive plays.
Joe Barlow worked a perfect ninth for his sixth save in as many opportunities, including Calhoun’s diving catch of Whit Merrifield’s liner in the right-center gap for the second out
Keller allowed six runs (five earned) and nine hits over 5 2/3 innings, with three strikeouts and one walk. The right-hander’s season ERA went up almost a full run — from 1.74 to 2.70.
“He got better as he went. A couple of pitches he’d like to have back,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said. “One obviously the fastball on the home run. He gets two quick outs with good plays behind him, and then the ball got too much of the plate.”
Perez departed after 106 pitches with a 6-2 lead. He had twice in his previous three starts exited scoreless games — seven innings at Philadelphia last Wednesday, and six innings against Oakland — and left a 1-1 game against Houston after seven innings.
Royals rookie infielder Bobby Witt Jr. played his first game against the Rangers less than 15 miles from where he went to high school. The second overall pick in the 2019 amateur draft is the son of former Texas pitcher Bobby Witt, who was there with the rest of his family and plenty of friends.
The 21-year-old Witt led off and played shortstop, only his second start at short after 24 games at third base. He went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts. He opened the game striking out on a nine-pitch at-bat against perez when he fouled of five pitches, one a drive down the left field line that was only feet from being a homer. The first two Rangers batters grounded out to Witt.
Royals: Salvador Perez was initially in the lineup as catcher on his 32nd birthday, but was switched to designated hitter for the third straight game. Perez has been dealing with right leg discomfort since catching the first game of a doubleheader Sunday.
Rangers: Catcher Mitch Garver was placed on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to Monday, because of a right forearm flexor muscle strain. The team hopes medication and rest will ease the issue in his throwing arm. ... RHP Jon Gray, who exited his start Monday because of knee soreness, felt good Tuesday and appears on track to make his next scheduled start Saturday against Boston.
Both teams are expecting to use an opener for the second game of the series, which follows a weekend when both had consecutive rainouts, played doubleheaders Sunday and then had makeup games Monday on what was supposed to be an off day.