These are the kind of games Marcus Semien envisioned when he and Corey Seager signed with the Texas Rangers.
Semien hit a tiebreaking RBI triple in the eighth inning of a 9-7 win over the AL Central-leading Minnesota Twins on Saturday, after earlier being part of back-to-back homers with Seager for the first time since the Rangers committed a half-billion dollars to the middle infielders last December.
“It seems like every time I’m putting my helmet away, he hits a home run. That means that we had not gone back-to-back,” Semien said. “Of course I was happy. I just hit one myself.”
A three-run shot by Semien in the fourth tied the game at 6, and Seager followed with a go-ahead shot that chased Twins starter Devin Smeltzer. That was two innings after a three-run homer by Kole Calhoun, another offseason addition for the Rangers.
“It was just kind of an all-around game offensively for us,” said Seager, adding props to Calhoun in the locker to his right.
It was the sixth time this year Texas had back-to-back homers, but the first with Semien and Seager. It came in the 82nd game, one past the midpoint of their first season together.
“It’s not surprising because I know they’ve been having good at-bats,” manager Chris Woodward said. “When those two guys are at the top swinging like that, man, it makes it really tough on that opposing team.”
Seager, the shortstop who signed a $325 million, 10-year deal with Texas, homered for the third time in four games and has 18 this season. Second baseman Semien, who got a $175 million, seven-year contract, went deep for the fourth time in 10 games and has 11 homers overall.
Rookie first baseman José Miranda and Gary Sánchez homered for the Twins, whose three-game losing streak matches their longest this year.
“We’re playing some games over the last couple of weeks that resemble this one. You know, sometimes we’re winning the game and sometimes we’re not, like today,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “We’ve had a tough time stopping them from scoring. They’ve had good at-bats since we’ve come into town. And they had a couple of hitters that are swinging the bat real good right now.”
The Twins have blown multi-run leads in both games at Texas. They led five different times in their extra-inning loss at the White Sox on Wednesday.
Minnesota got even at 7 on Gilberto Celestino’s RBI groundout in the eighth. After Leody Taveras opened the bottom of the inning with a single off Jhoan Duran (0-3) and advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Josh Smith, Semien hit a sharp liner that dropped and skipped past left fielder Nick Gordon to the wall.
“At first I thought it was just going to be a single, and then I saw Gordon dive for it, and I just kept running,” said Semien, who scored on a single by former Twins catcher Mitch Garver.
Matt Moore (4-2) retired the only batter he faced. Brett Martin worked a perfect ninth for his second career save, after getting his first in the series opener that was his 163rd career appearance.
Texas starter Martín Pérez, a potential first-time All-Star on Sunday, overcame taking a comebacker off his lower left leg and later a six-run outburst by the Twins to remain unbeaten in his last 15 starts. The left-hander, back in Texas this season after three seasons away, struck out five, walked one and exited after six innings with a 7-6 lead.
“Location was a little off and that inning when he gave up six,” Woodward said. “The warrior kind of came out (after that). ... That’s just the mark of a champion.”
The back-to-back homers by Semien and Seager came after the Twins went ahead 6-3 in the top of the fourth. Miranda had a three-run homer, Sánchez hit a two-run shot and Byron Buxton had an RBI double on a ball that ricocheted off the top of the wall in right field.
HOT, HOT, HOT
It was 105 degrees outside when the game started, but more than 30 degrees cooler inside under the closed retractable roof. The game-time temperature Friday night was 104, and it’s supposed to be over 100 again Sunday for another day game.
Twins right-hander Dylan Bundy (4-4, 4.50 ERA) struck out 12 batters when he last faced the Rangers in Texas in September. Texas right-hander Dane Dunning (1-6, 4.15) is the only MLB pitcher with at least seven quality starts and no more than one win.