Nathan Eovaldi pitched six gutsy innings, Mitch Garver broke a tie in the seventh with an RBI single, and the Texas Rangers became the World Series champions for the first time in the franchise’s 63-season history after beating the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-0 in Game 5. on Wednesday night in Phoenix.
Marcus Semien hit a four-run ninth and the Rangers, who were held hitless by Zach Gallen through six innings, finished with an 11-0 record on the road this postseason, sweeping the Fall Classic with three straight wins in the desert.
In his first season with Texas, manager Bruce Bochy won his fourth title 13 years after his first, which came in 2010 when the Giants defeated the Rangers. He also won it all with San Francisco in 2012 and 2014.
“I was sitting on the bench in Nashville just enjoying myself,” said Bochy, 68, who came out of retirement to manage the Rangers.
A night after the Rangers blew a 10-run lead in the third inning in Game 4, they wrapped up baseball’s third all-time wild card World Series by outlasting Arizona in a battle of white-knuckle pitchers.
Gallen pitched a no-hitter in the seventh before giving up an opposite-field single to World Series MVP Corey Seager, whose weak grounder found the hole. Rangers rookie Evan Carter, all of 21, followed with a double to right-center. Garver then drove in the first run, clenching his fist as the hard-hitting infielder broke through the middle of the infield to score Seager to make it 1-0.
Garver was one out for 17 in the World Series before his huge hit.
With the Rangers clinging to a 1-0 lead, Josh Jung and Nathaniel Lowe singled off Paul Sewald to start the ninth. Jung scored on Jonah Heim’s single and Lowe singled from first base when center fielder Alec Thomas let the ball slip past him on an error.
Two outs later, Semien’s two-run homer made it 5-0. It was the 13th time Texas scored at least three runs in an inning this postseason.
“Everything I’ve ever worked for is for this moment,” Semien said. “Galen was incredible tonight. But we got through. When Corey got the first hit, everyone kind of woke up. The pitching was incredible.”
Eovaldi stayed out of trouble all night before Aroldis Chapman and Josh Sborz finished it off.
Sborz struck out four in 2 1/3 innings with one hit for his first postseason save. He threw a third strike past Ketel Marte to end it.
“We’re going into hostile territory wherever we go,” Sborz said. “And we just stayed calm, did our job and played like we’ve been playing all year.”
It’s the first title for the Rangers, whose history dates back to 1961 when they were the expansion Washington Senators. They moved to Texas for the 1972 season and came agonizingly close to a World Series championship in 2011, needing just one hit twice before losing to the St. Louis Cardinals.
Now, five stadiums, roughly two dozen managers and 10,033 games later, the Rangers are champions.
It wasn’t easy at all.
Texas led the AL West for most of the year, but lost the division title to rival Houston on the final day of the regular season. The Rangers dealt with a season-ending injury to ace Jacob deGrom and a major injury to Seager later in the year before slugger Adolis Garcia and three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer lost Game 3 of the World Series.
However, players like trade-deadline acquisition Jordan Montgomery, reliever Jose Leclerc and backup Travis Jankowski have stepped up for the resilient Rangers, a quick and impressive turnaround under general manager Chris Young after Texas lost 102 games in 2021. and went 68-94 last year, their sixth straight losing season.
A disheartening 1-0 loss in the regular season finale at Seattle left the Rangers with the No. 5 seed in the AL playoffs and sent them across the country to open the playoffs at Tampa Bay, part of a two-week road trip that took them. four cities, two on each coast. But after sweeping Rice and the AL East champion Orioles, the AL’s two winningest teams, Texas got revenge against Houston by winning a hard-fought AL Championship game in which the road team won all seven games.
It sent the Rangers to their first World Series in 12 years.
In the end, the Rangers had to get past the Diamondbacks, who won just 84 games during the regular season but beat the Brewers, Dodgers and Phillies in a remarkable postseason run that finally fizzled.
“I’m sorry I didn’t do my job to get us there,” manager Torey Lovullo said, pausing as his voice cracked with emotion. “But I will. We all will.”
Gallen was one of the best pitchers this season, starting in the National League All-Star Game. But the 28-year-old hasn’t been sharp in the playoffs, posting a 2-2 record and a 5.27 ERA through five starts.
That changed on Wednesday. With some help from the defense, the bespectacled righty was at his best, mowing down the first 14 batters he faced before walking Lowe.
Eovaldi wasn’t quite as sharp, but still tied Gallen’s zeros on the scoreboard despite walking five, his most since 2013.
The Diamondbacks had some juicy scoring opportunities in the first five innings, but failed to convert, going 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
Eovaldi went six, giving up four hits and striking out five on 97 pitches.
“He was a traffic cop tonight,” Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux said.
Seager, who also led the Los Angeles Dodgers to a championship in 2000, joined Hall of Famers Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson and Reggie Jackson as the only players to win World Series MVP awards twice.
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