On Wednesday night, the Texas Rangers put to bed the demons of 2011 in one of the strangest elimination games ever witnessed during World Series history.
The Texas Rangers celebrated a historic first World Series championship win, defeating the Arizona Diamondbacks by a 5-0 score on Wednesday evening.
Bruce Bochy became the first manager ever to win four World Series with two different teams.
In 2011, the Rangers came within one strike — not once but twice — of winning the World Series, only for St. Louis Cardinals to steal it away and defeat them.
. And yet, it wasn’t an easy road.
Before the game, Arizona manager Torey Lovullo advised starting pitcher Zac Gallen not to attempt being Hercules and make too many heroic efforts. “Don’t try and become Hercules! Just stay focused and follow what’s expected of you.”
Gallen was like Hercules, Zeus and Apollo, all in one mighty body. He pitched six no-hit innings while retiring 18 of 19 batters until issuing a two-out walk to Nathaniel Lowe in the fifth.
As Texas starter Nathan Eovaldi gave Arizona opportunity after opportunity to score, they never did.
Arizona put leadoff hitters on base in the first three innings – two even reached base in the third – but could not convert those chances.
After five innings, they had stranded nine runners and gone 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position. Eovaldi managed to avert more imminent disasters than any pitcher should be capable of accomplishing.
He achieved a victory that gave him a perfect postseason record; Texas won all six games he started during that season and made history by becoming the first pitcher ever to win five postseason games in one year.
“I wasn’t helping myself out at times, and they put together quality at-bats,” Eovaldi admitted but said their team still managed to come out ahead. His “do-it” mentality meant preparing mentally with a positive outlook before going out there and “attack, attack” them all game long.
Gallen’s no-hitter was broken up by Corey Seager, who started the seventh inning by hitting a single to left field to open it up.
And Seager was honored as Series MVP – joining Reggie Jackson as one of only two position players to have twice won it while playing for two different organizations – Los Angeles Dodgers in 2020 while playing with them before the Rangers won four games to one and Seager hit.286 with three homers over this five-game series victory.
Evan Carter responded quickly with a double to right center, setting up Mitch Garver for a single up the middle that scored Seager for a 1-0 advantage – something they had done 11 times already in this postseason! Taking an early lead would prove critical as the Rangers finished 11-0 when scoring first in postseason play.
At 1-0 through eight innings, it remained close until the ninth when Texas put away Arizona closer Paul Sewald with four runs – highlighted by Marcus Semien’s two-run homer – to secure their victory and continue their postseason dominance. For 16 consecutive postseason games, Rangers players have hit at least one home run. The Rangers have been an offensive juggernaut during this postseason run.
Semien, who usually prefers to remain subdued during games, performed an elegant Lindy Hop all around the bases following his home run. “Everything I had worked towards had led up to this moment,” stated Semien. “We went six innings without getting a hit at all!”
“Gallen was exceptional tonight, but we came through,” said manager Bruce Bochy. “Once Corey Seager got that first hit, we all looked up.” The Rangers won 11 consecutive road games during postseason play – an amazing feat that has never been accomplished before!
The D-Backs have had plenty of opportunities to score first during this game. During Arizona’s own magical postseason run they were perfect in all seven instances when scoring first.
–Corbin Carroll began the home first with a four-pitch walk, then stole second on his fourth pitch before moving up on a ground ball to third base on another ground ball before Christian Walker walked and Tommy Pfam grounded out to shortstop for two outs and no runs scored with no hits or walks left on. Still, no score recorded as it remains tied 0-0.
–Lourdes Gurriel Jr. opened the second with a single, taking second on a ground ball before moving up on a double steal of second base off an error by Evan Longoria before Leody Taveras made a diving catch against Gerald Perdomo; no runs scored, one hit recorded and no left on base; still 0-0..
–Carrolll started the third with a single, and Ketel Marte was given a walk. Gabriel Moreno bunted both runners to second and third bases before Walker struck out and Pfam grounded to short – leaving no runs, one hit, one walk and two left on base (0-0).
–Longoria doubled on a bloop hit to right with two outs in the fourth inning but was also stranded by innings end.
-A pitch hit Marte to start off the fifth inning. Walker singled, and Pfam walked with two outs remaining before Gurriel grounded to shortstop for an out. No runs scored, two walks taken, and three left on base in total with no scores to show for it; still tied at zero.
Eovaldi finally went 1-2-3 in the sixth, and his teammates helped him. Former Cincinnati Reds pitcher Aroldis Chapman began the seventh by issuing a one-out walk before striking out Moreno with a 101 miles-per-hour fastball for out two.
Josh Sborz entered and quickly retired Walker with a line drive to center field. From then on out, he pitched two and one-third innings with no runs scored, one hit allowed, no walks issued and four strikeouts.
After striking out Marte with a called strike, his final strikeout brought an exhilarating finish and brought Rangers fans joy they had been waiting 51 years to experience.
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