Seager’s eighth-inning homer pushes Rangers past Angels 5-3

Texas Rangers v Miami Marlins - Game Two
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ARLINGTON, Texas – Corey Seager hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the eighth inning, helping the Texas Rangers top the Los Angeles Angels 5-3 on Thursday.

Seager drove a 1-1 fastball from Jose Quijada (0-5) deep to left-center for his 32nd homer, extending his career best in his first season with Texas. Quijada came in to pitch the eighth and walked leadoff hitter Marcus Semien before Seager connected for his opposite-field shot.

Matt Moore (5-2) got three outs for the win, and Jose Leclerc handled the ninth for his seventh save in eight opportunities.

Angels star Shohei Ohtani was held out of the starting lineup, but he pinch-hit with one out in the ninth and doubled into the right-field corner. Luis Rengifo and Mike Trout then struck out swinging.

The Rangers won a series for the first time since Aug. 19-22. They also took the season series from Los Angeles and moved a half-game ahead of the Angels in the fight for third place in the AL West.

“To come out and win a series against an in-division team, it’s something to be proud of,” Seager said.

The 28-year-old Seager finalized a $325 million, 10-year contract with Texas in December. But the Rangers (65-84) are playing out a sixth consecutive losing season.

Seager reached the postseason in his first seven seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“Failure always drives you,” Seager said. “You don’t ever want to lose. You remember how it feels, and it makes you go work in the offseason.”

Angels interim manger Phil Nevin didn’t blame the loss on Seager’s homer.

“We walked three leadoff hitters today, and all three of them scored,” Nevin said. “We’ve got to get better at that.”

Angels right-hander Michael Lorenzen was charged with three runs and two hits in five-plus innings. He struck out seven and walked two.

The Angels led 3-1 before the Rangers rallied in the sixth. Leody Taveras walked and Semien singled before Lorenzen was replaced by Aaron Loup.

After Seager bounced into a forceout, Nathaniel Lowe and Adolis Garcia hit consecutive RBI singles. Jonah Heim followed with another base hit, but left fielder Jo Adell cut down Lowe at the plate.

Los Angeles scored three times in the third against Martin Perez. Trout, serving as the designated hitter with Ohtani out of the lineup, hit a two-run double with two out and scored on Taylor Ward‘s single to right.

Perez allowed five hits, struck out five and walked three in six innings. The left-hander won each of his previous two starts.

SITTING SHOHEI

Ohtani was held out of the starting lineup for the ninth time in 151 games this season. It was the first time since Sept. 4.

“We like to think he’s Superman and can do it every day and all that, but he’s human,” Nevin said. “We’ve got to give him days of rest once in a while. I like to do that either the day before or after he pitches.”

Nevin said other factors were the lefty-lefty matchup against Perez and getting Trout off the artificial turf for a day.

CROWD PLEASER

Before the game, some Angels players sat quietly in the clubhouse watching a documentary about Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan, who spent nine seasons with the Angels and five with the Rangers. In it, Ryan said he assumed the December 1971 trade from the New York Mets to “sunny California” sent him to the Dodgers. When he learned he was traded to the Angels, he said, “I could have died.”

And the room burst out in laughter.

UP NEXT

Angels: Ohtani (13-8, 2.43 ERA) pitches on Friday against Minnesota. He is 3-0 in his last four starts with a 0.67 ERA and 29 strikeouts.

Rangers: RHP Jon Gray (7-7, 3.80 ERA) will oppose Cleveland RHP Cody Morris (0-2, 2.30 ERA) in the opener of a three-game home series on Friday night.

Biden praises Braves’ ‘unstoppable, joyful run’ to 2021 win

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said the Atlanta Braves will be “forever known as the upset kings of October” for their improbable 2021 World Series win, as he welcomed the team to the White House for a victory celebration.

Biden called the Braves’ drive an “unstoppable, joyful run.” The team got its White House visit in with just over a week left before the 2022 regular season wraps up and the Major League Baseball playoffs begin again. The Braves trail the New York Mets by 1.5 games in the National League East but have clinched a wildcard spot for the MLB playoffs that begin Oct. 7. Chief Executive Officer Terry McGuirk said he hoped they’d be back to the White House again soon.

In August 2021, the Braves were a mess, playing barely at .500. But then they started winning. And they kept it up, taking the World Series in six games over the Houston Astros.

Biden called their performance of “history’s greatest turnarounds.”

“This team has literally been part of American history for over 150 years,” said Biden. “But none of it came easy … people counting you out. Heck, I know something about being counted out.”

Players lined up on risers behind Biden, grinning and waving to the crowd, but the player most discussed was one who hasn’t been on the team in nearly 50 years and who died last year: Hall of Famer Hank Aaron.

Hammerin’ Hank was the home run king for 33 years, dethroning Babe Ruth with a shot to left field on April 8, 1974. He was one of the most famous players for Atlanta and in baseball history, a clear-eyed chronicler of the hardships thrown his way – from the poverty and segregation of his Alabama youth to the racist threats he faced during his pursuit of one of America’s most hallowed records. He died in January at 86.

“This is team is defined by the courage of Hank Aaron,” Biden said.

McGuirk said Aaron, who held front office positions with the team and was one of Major League Baseball’s few Black executives, was watching over them.

“He’d have been there every step of the way with us if he was here,” McGuirk added.

The president often honors major league and some college sports champions with a White House ceremony, typically a nonpartisan affair in which the commander in chief pays tribute to the champs’ prowess, poses for photos and comes away with a team jersey.

Those visits were highly charged in the previous administration. Many athletes took issue with President Donald Trump’s policies and rhetoric on policing, immigration and more. Trump, for his part, didn’t take kindly to criticism from athletes or their on-field expressions of political opinions.

Under Biden, the tradition appears to be back. He’s hosted the NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks and Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the White House. On Monday he joked about first lady Jill Biden’s Philadelphia allegiances.

“Like every Philly fan, she’s convinced she knows more about everything in sports than anybody else,” he said. He added that he couldn’t be too nice to the Atlanta team because it had just beaten the Phillies the previous night in extra innings.

Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was later questioned about the team’s name, particularly as other professional sports teams have moved away from names – like the Cleveland Indians, now the Guardians, and the Washington Redskins, now the Commanders – following years of complaints from Native American groups over the images and symbols.

She said it was important for the country to have the conversation. “And Native American and Indigenous voices – they should be at the center of this conversation,” she said.

Biden supported MLB’s decision to pull the 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta to protest Georgia’s sweeping new voting law, which critics contend is too restrictive.