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Monday newsletter time: Marcus Semien helps spark Rangers with revenge homer

(Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports)


ARLINGTON — The bottom of the first inning Sunday started with a fairly terrifying moment, a fastball from Giants starter Keaton Winn that caught Rangers second basemen Marcus Semien on the bill of his helmet.

Semien looked unhappy, as he should have been, before walking to first base. He would score later in the inning.

He batted again in the second and made Winn pay.

Semien’s two-run homer put the Rangers up five en route to a 7-2 victory and brought back memories of another hit-by-pitch that left him miffed, last season at Houston.

Framber Valdez hit Semien in retaliation for Andrew Heaney hitting Yordan Alvarez. How did Semien respond? By homering in his next at-bat and pushing the Rangers to a win they badly needed.

In his second at-bat Sunday, Semien ambushed the first pitch, a slider, from Winn, who told Giants reporters he didn’t think Semien would be swinging.

“That’s what I want to do anyway, if I get hit or not,” Semien said.

The Sunday win allowed the Rangers to avoid a three-game sweep and sent them on their way to Los Angeles on a happy flight. Maybe the hit batter-homer combo is the spark the Rangers needed.

Or maybe it was Wyatt Langford’s two-out two-run single when it looked like the Rangers might fail to score after loading the bases with no outs.

“Huge,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “I told him that, too.”

Or maybe it was Adolis Garcia stealing home as Langford took second in a three-run first.

Good things happened for the offense, and the Rangers need to figure out how to keep it going this week in a road series at the Dodgers and the Mariners.

The return of Corey Seager would help with that. He wasn’t needed Sunday off the bench, and the off day today will give him four days off for his left hamstring to heal. He talked, kind of, to the media before the game.

“I feel OK,” said Seager, who thought he could pinch hit.

Josh Jung will be traveling with the team to the West Coast, so he won’t be starting a rehab assignment Tuesday. He said he needs to take live batting practice before he is sent out, and that can be accomplished as soon as Tuesday. Triple A Round Rock and Double A Frisco are both home this week.

Or maybe the Dodgers and Mariners will make the mistake of hitting Semien.

“He plays with a lot of fire,” Bochy said. “He gets ticked off sometimes.”

Eovaldi strong

Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi needed 90 pitches to complete seven innings in his third start off the injured list and should have no restraints going forward.

He allowed two runs on five hits, walking one and striking out five. One of the runs came on a Mike Yastrzemski homer on an 0-2 pitch.

Other than that, Eovaldi was nearly flawless to the amateur eye. As his own worst critic, he found some things to nitpick.

“I felt like I was able to make some adjustments as the game went on,” he said. “I thought the fastball command early on wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be, and I got away with some pitches.”

Jon Gray said that he will be ready to start Wednesday after coming off the injured list Saturday and working 2 1/3 innings in relief. Bochy didn’t commit to anyone in the Dodgers series, but Dane Dunning, Jose Urena and Michael Lorenzen are also available.

One of those three will have to go to the bullpen to make room for Gray.

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Jeff Wilson, jeff@rangerstoday.com

Jeff Wilson

Sports reporter for two decades. Sports fan for life. Covers the Texas Rangers. Graduate of TCU. Colorado native. Author of Purple Passion: TCU Football Legends (https://t.co/2fmXLyympx). Follow me on Twitter at @JeffWilsonTXR

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