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Corey Seager’s four hits in Game 4 keeps his stellar postseason on a roll

Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager hits a solo home run against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager hits a solo home run against the Tampa Bay Rays in the third inning of Game 4 of the World Series on Saturday.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

The last time the Dodgers were in the World Series, Corey Seager was stuck on the bench.

The shortstop’s 2018 season had come to a premature end months earlier, an injury to his ulnar collateral ligament requiring him to undergo Tommy John surgery.

So, instead of playing a key role in the Dodgers’ second straight pennant, he watched from the side, desperately missed by a Dodgers team that dropped the Fall Classic in five games to the Boston Red Sox.

“That was tough,” Seager said. “You want to be out there with your guys. That whole year was hard, not being out there and grinding through things with your guys.”

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He continued, “That’s in the past. I really never want to think about it again.”

On Saturday, Seager was finally having a World Series moment to remember. He logged a playoff career high four hits. He hammered a third-inning home run. And he dropped a go-ahead RBI single into shallow left center field in the eighth.

The Dodgers lost to the Tampa Bay Rays 8-7 in Game 4 of the World Series at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. The series is tied 2-2.

An inning later, however, it became one more postseason disappointment to forget.

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Seager didn’t factor into the sequence that decided the game, when his teammates twice misplayed a relay that ended with the ball bouncing away from the plate as the Tampa Bay Rays’ Randy Arozarena slid home for the winning walk-off run.

He was on the field, but just as helpless as he had been two years before — a harrowing ending nullifying his earlier heroics at the plate.

Saturday was a signature performance from Seager, the 26-year-old who had a career-best regular season, won the NLCS’ most valuable player award and has continued his hot streak in the World Series.

His first time up, he got ahead 3-and-0 before smoking a line drive right at the second baseman. He wouldn’t be unlucky again.

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His home run in the third inning was a no-doubter, a 411-foot blast to right field off Rays starter Ryan Yarbrough with two outs. It was his eighth home run of the playoffs, temporarily tying the MLB record for most home runs by a player in any single postseason (Arozarena later went atop the list himself by collecting his ninth long ball of these playoffs).

Right-handed reliever Peter Fairbanks fared no better when Seager came up again in the fifth. He hit the first pitch he saw, a 99-mph fastball, on a rope to right, advanced to second on a wild pitch in the next at-bat, then raced home on a single from Max Muncy to score another run with two outs.

From the series against the Brewers through the NLDS against the Padres and NLCS against the Braves and into the World Series, the Dodgers rack up two-out RBIs.

The Rays had taken the lead when Seager led off the seventh, this time singling on the second pitch of an at-bat against left-hander Aaron Loup. Five at-bats later, he crossed the plate again on Joc Pederson’s pinch-hit single, a two-run strike that had put the Dodgers back ahead.

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But by the top of the eighth, the score was tied once more, setting the stage for what looked to be Seager’s game-winning hit.

The inning had begun with a Chris Taylor double but was on the verge of faltering after a failed Kiké Hernández bunt and an unproductive groundout from Mookie Betts. Facing reliever Nick Anderson, Seager fanned at one curveball, laid off another, then fouled a third one back in a 2-and-1 count.

With two strikes, Anderson finally threw a high fastball that Seager could get to.

The contact was soft but the result was perfect, the ball landing just over the head of shortstop Willy Adames to bring Taylor home for the go-ahead run. The lead, of course, wouldn’t last, the Dodgers’ latest ninth-inning postseason collapse instead leaving the series tied at two games apiece.

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Now batting .344 in the playoffs with a 1.234 on-base-plus-slugging, Seager’s work is far from over. The Dodgers’ best hitter will need to continue being so for the remainder of a World Series that is now suddenly in doubt.

Otherwise, his monumental effort Saturday might become a footnote in just another season to forget.

Otherwise, this could become just another October that he’d rather not think about again.


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