Corey Seager would be a tough read at a poker table because you’d never know when he was bluffing. He’d have the same look on his face, the same demeanor, the same body language, whether he was holding pocket aces or low cards in off suits.
Seager followed three intentional walks to Cody Bellinger with hits — a single in the first inning, an RBI single in the third and a two-run double that capped a game-breaking four-run rally in the eighth. He added a tying RBI double in the fifth.
Seager is batting .386 (22 for 57) with a 1.207 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, four homers, nine doubles and 18 RBIs in his last 15 games since May 24, raising his season average to .270 and his OPS to .818.
And he has looked and acted exactly the same as he did in the first two months of the season, when he hit .237 with a .701 OPS, four homers, 12 doubles and 22 RBIs in 50 games and was clearly struggling to find his timing and rhythm after missing the final five months of 2018 and undergoing elbow and hip surgeries.
“Different guys show different emotions — some guys get excited and are high-energy guys,” said third base coach Dino Ebel. “Corey looks the same every day, when it’s good and when it’s bad.
“He’s very calm, especially for a young guy: He’s very confident in what he does.”
Dodgers starter Rich Hill (3-1) escaped a bases-loaded one-out jam in the third inning, a first-and-third, one-out jam in the fourth, and a bases-loaded, no-out jam in fifth to earn the win, and Julio Urias, Joe Kelly and Yimi Garcia combined for four innings of scoreless relief, but Seager’s fingerprints were all over Saturday’s win.
After Joc Pederson reached on a strikeout/wild pitch in the third, Justin Turner doubled to left, Bellinger was intentionally walked and Seager stroked an RBI single to right-center off Giants starter Jeff Samardzija (3-5) for a 1-0 lead.
Turner singled to lead off the fifth and took second on a wild pitch. Seager drove an RBI double into the gap in right-center for a 2-2 tie.
The Dodgers took a 3-2 lead in the sixth when Kyle Garlick led off with a pinch-hit double — his first major league hit — Pederson was hit by a pitch, Max Muncy walked and Turner hit a sacrifice fly.
The Dodgers broke the game open in the eighth on Dereck Rodriguez’s bases-loaded walks to Muncy and Turner and, following another free pass to Bellinger, Seager’s two-run double to left-center off Mark Melancon that made it 7-2.
“They’re both good hitters,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of Bellinger and Seager. “It’s not a fun spot to be in, trust me. We were doing a good job of limiting damage early, but the big hit was in the eighth inning. That put it away.”
Neither Bellinger nor Seager was offended by Bochy’s strategy. They understand the pick-your-poison dilemma Bochy was facing.
“That was the game plan today, and Seager made them pay,” Bellinger said. “I think they probably won’t do that tomorrow. I think it was only a matter of time before [Seager] started to come around. When he does, it can be really scary.”
Seager was able to fight through the frustration of his early-season struggles.
“You get upset, but you just try to not show it,” Seager said. “I was definitely grinding at the beginning of the year. You get upset when it’s a good pitch and you miss it because you’re just not where you’d like to be. It’s one of those things where you just have to move on and fight through it and look for those positions.”
The Corey Seager he is seeing now reminds Dodgers manager Dave Roberts of the one who won 2016 NL rookie-of-the-year honors and finished third in MVP voting.