The not-so-old building still sits within sight of the brand new palace, empty and facing eventual destruction. The Ballpark at Arlington and the later Globe Life Park is like the reliable old station wagon sitting on the side, having been replaced by the shiny new SUV that is Globe Life Field — the recently opened home of the Texas Rangers, which features a turf field, a retractable roof for relief from the summer heat and yet still resides in the shadow of Jerry Jones’ personal Death Star known as AT&T Stadium.
Perhaps no opposing player was more reluctant to let that old station wagon of a stadium go than Kyle Seager. The Mariners’ third baseman made the Rangers’ previous stadium into his personal hitting nirvana, posting a .301/.365/.536 slash line with 23 doubles, two triples, 15 homers and 56 RBIs in 77 games.
“I enjoyed the old park for sure,” he said. “It was a pretty place to play. The ball usually flew pretty well there and it was a good place to hit.”
And the Rangers’ new park?
New stadium, similar name, same results for Seager in Arlington, who smashed the first grand slam in the building’s history and helped the Mariners roll to an easy 10-2 victory.
You could say it’s already growing on Seager.
“It’s a little different,” he said. “It’s quite a bit bigger in the alleys. The turf is pretty nice. The balls stayed clean. It’s a sharp park.”
And does the ball carry like the old place?
“If you snake it just right down the line,” he said of his homer.
On a night where the Rangers decided to play a game with the roof open for the first time, despite a first pitch temperature of 95 degrees, the Mariners made them rethink the decision, with all nine players in the starting lineup registering hits to for a total of 15 in the game and included three doubles and three homers. The other Kyle that’s been carrying the Mariners’ offense with Seager early in the season, Kyle Lewis, had three hits, including the go-ahead three-run homer. Dylan Moore added three hits, including a homer and an RBI single.
“I don’t think any park is holding the homers by Lewis or Dylan,” Seager said.
All the offense provided by the Mariners allowed Justin Dunn to grind through six complete innings to earn his first big league win, despite not having his best stuff or command to rely upon. Dunn allowed two runs on seven hits with three walks and two strikeouts.
“It means everything,” he said. “It’s a dream come true. I’ve been waiting for this moment from when I was five or six years old.”
After watching his good friend Justus Sheffield pick up his first MLB win on Sunday, Dunn matched him, but wasn’t quite as dominant.
“You know I couldn’t let him have the moment alone,” Dunn said with a smile.
Still he showed some resiliency, which is a needed quality for any pitcher. After a 24-pitch first inning that seemed destined to repeat his 30-plus pitch first inning in his last outing, Dunn got his pitch count under control with a seven-pitch second inning.
The seminal moment of his outing came in the bottom of the fifth inning. His teammates had just given him a 4-2 lead thanks to Lewis’ three-run homer off Rangers starter Kyle Gibson. Lewis drove a low curveball over the wall in center for his fourth homer of the season.
Looking to follow that up with a shutdown bottom of the inning, Dunn immediately allowed back-to-back singles to the first two batters he faced. Needing to get through the fifth to be qualified for the win and not wanting to give any runs back, Dunn came back to strike out Willie Calhoun, who had tripled off him earlier, swinging for the first out. He froze the ultra-dangerous Joey Gallo with a slider for a called third strike. And then closed out the inning by getting Todd Frazier to fly out.
“I went into compete mode and trusting my stuff,” Dunn said.
His catcher Austin Nola asked where he went in that moment, “Did you go into a dark place?”
No, Dunn went some place else.
“I went into a boxing ring and I was going down throwing haymakers,” he said. “It was my chance to get the win. I saw the finish line and I wanted to give every little aspect I had.”
The Mariners’ offense gave Dunn a little more cushion that allowed Servais to bring him back in the sixth inning and build his pitch count.
Seattle rolled up five runs in the inning off the Rangers bullpen with Moore tallying an RBI single and Seager’s fifth career grand slam, which was a towering fly ball to right field off right-hander Jimmy Herget.
The Rangers’ only offense was provided by Calhoun, who came into the game with a frigid .103/.156/.138 slash line in 32 plate appearances. Calhoun tripled into the right field corner off Dunn, scoring Shin Soo-Choo in the first inning to give the Rangers a quick lead.
The Mariners answered with an RBI single from Moore in the third inning to tie the score, but Calhoun broke the tie in the bottom half of the inning with a sacrifice fly.
Editor’s note: The Times declined to send reporter Ryan Divish to Arlington, Texas for this game because of COVID-19 safety concerns.