By Sam Bush
Corey Seager and Adolis García homered, Nathan Eovaldi struck out seven, and the Texas Rangers completed an AL Division Series sweep of the Orioles with a 7-1 victory.
The Rangers, whose loss at Seattle on the last day of the regular season made them a wild-card team instead of the AL West champion, have since won all five of their postseason games. They are going to the American League Championship Series for the first time since 2011.
Baltimore won an AL-high 101 games and was never swept in a series during the regular season, but the AL East champions are done after a sweep at the most inopportune time. The Orioles have lost eight playoff games in a row over the past 10 seasons.
Seager pulled a 445-foot drive into the right-field seats in the first inning, and García’s three-run homer — one the All-Star slugger admired while taking a few slow steps out of the batter’s box — made it 6-0 in the second to chase Orioles right-hander Dean Kremer, the Israeli-American pitcher making his first career postseason start.
It was the first Rangers playoff game at Globe Life Field, the stadium that was brand new in 2020 when it hosted much of MLB’s neutral postseason during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Los Angeles Dodgers spent most of that October there, and Seager was the MVP in both the NLCS and World Series. A year later, the shortstop went to Texas on a $325 million, 10-year deal and occupies the same locker he did during that most unusual postseason with limited attendance.
With a full house for his first home playoff game with the Rangers, Seager sent the record sellout crowd of 40,861 into a frenzy when he connected in his first at-bat. He went deep seven times for the Dodgers here in 2020.