Arlington, Texas — Adolis García took a few steps while watching the ball before tossing his bat aside after another big swing this postseason. This one won an extended Game 1 of the World Series for the Texas Rangers.
After Corey Seager hit a two-run home run to tie the game, García’s drive went over the right-field wall in the 11th inning, leading to him raising his right arm triumphantly as he rounded the bases. This resulted in a 6-5 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks in the opening game of the unexpected World Series between two wild-card teams.
“He’s playing at a different level,” remarked Josh Jung, a rookie for the Rangers. “Whenever he steps up to bat, it’s like a show. I’m speechless. It’s just amazing.”
Miguel Castro stepped onto the field to confront García with only one out remaining. The powerful Cuban hitter, also known as El Bombi, sent a 3-1 sinker in the opposite direction, landing it in the second row of seats as Corbin Carroll made an attempt to catch it. This marked García’s second run batted in of the game, breaking the record for most RBIs in a single postseason with a total of 22.
García has hit a home run in five back-to-back games, which is tied for the second longest streak in the history of postseason games. He also hit the first walk-off home run in the World Series since Max Muncy did so in Game 3 of the 2018 series for the Los Angeles Dodgers against Boston, with Nathan Eovaldi starting for the Rangers in this particular game.
“It was an exciting moment,” García said. “I was just looking to the dugout, looking at all my (happy) teammates.”
García, the AL Championship Series MVP, also had an RBI single in the first following rookie Evan Carter’s run-scoring double. He finished with three hits and reached base five times.
In the ninth inning, he was struck on the left hand by a 92 mph fastball. However, he quickly recovered and proceeded to steal second base.
García expressed gratitude that the situation was not worse.
During the 2015 postseason, Texas achieved a historic win in their first extra-inning game by coming back from multiple runs down in the ninth inning. This was the first time a team had accomplished this feat since the Kansas City Royals did it in their World Series clinching Game 5 against the New York Mets.
The second game will take place on Saturday evening in Texas. Merrill Kelly is expected to be the starting pitcher for Arizona while Jordan Montgomery will take the mound.
In the ninth inning, Seager hit a home run off of Paul Sewald’s fastball to tie the game. The inning started with Leody Taveras, the No. 9 hitter, getting a walk.
García shared, “The whole group was elated and began jumping in excitement. We could finally relax and breathe a sigh of relief.”
Usually reserved, Seager displayed strong emotions during this postseason, quickly turning and shouting towards the dugout when the ball was headed towards the stands. He raised both arms in triumph as he rounded first base.
“He might have turned it up a notch, to be honest. He saved us there,” Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said. “You can see it in him. He gets everybody fired up.”
Jose Leclerc earned the win by retiring all six batters he faced, while five Texas relievers worked together for 6 and 1/3 innings without allowing any runs.
Sewald’s blown save, the first in seven attempts this postseason, was a noticeable mistake for the Diamondbacks bullpen, which has been outstanding during October.
Torey Lovullo, manager of Arizona, expressed his frustration with the ups and downs of the game. He emphasized the importance of resilience and adaptability in overcoming challenges and maintaining a positive mindset. He remains confident in his team’s ability to bounce back, as they have successfully done many times this season.
The home run Seager hit in Game 7 of the ALCS against Houston was reminiscent of his tying shot in the previous game. The reaction was also similar, as Seager celebrated with a huge hand slap for third base coach Tony Beasley and jumped into the dugout with his teammates.
“It was an intense experience. He really put his all into hitting those balls. If I were in his position, I would also be shouting,” shared Marcus Semien, the second baseman for Texas.
“It was an enjoyable experience. It’s the playoffs. This is what it’s all about,” Seager expressed, “It was definitely a memorable moment.”
The first game of the World Series went into extra innings for the second consecutive year, a first in history. In contrast to the regular season, there are no predetermined runners on second base to begin extra innings in the playoffs.
The Arizona team was leading 4-3 when Tommy Pham hit a home run in the fourth inning. In the following inning, Ketel Marte’s double brought in another run and extended his postseason hitting streak to 17 games, which is a record. Marte is the only player to achieve hits in all 17 of his first postseason games.
In the third inning, Carroll scored a two-run triple for the Diamondbacks and then quickly ran home on Marte’s grounder. In the bottom of the inning, Texas equalized when Gallen walked Garver with the bases loaded.
Gallen showed determination for Arizona as he pitched five innings, despite trailing 2-0 after only four batters in the NL All-Star game. He matched his season record with four walks.
Ryan Thompson, Joe Mantiply, and Kevin Ginkel each threw a scoreless inning prior to Sewald’s entrance.
After suffering through back-to-back 100-loss seasons, the Diamondbacks and Rangers are now facing off in the third all-wild card World Series, marking the first time since 2014.
The Diamondbacks were able to steal four bases in their recent game, bringing their total to 20 stolen bases in the postseason. This is the highest number of stolen bases by any team since the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays, who set a record with 24. In the third inning, Arizona had a rare combination of a sacrifice bunt, a triple, and a stolen base, resulting in three runs.
Eovaldi recorded eight strikeouts, setting a record for most strikeouts by a Texas pitcher in a World Series game. However, the tall right-hander surrendered five runs in 4 2/3 innings, a significant increase from the five runs he had given up throughout his first four postseason starts where he emerged victorious.
Each team advanced to this point by winning Games 6 and 7 of their League Championship Series away from home. This is the first time in both LCS matchups since they changed to a best-of-seven format in 1985.
García expressed that the series will be highly enjoyable.
NOW AND THEN
In the third inning of the game, Evan Longoria’s single for the Arizona team equaled the number of hits he had in the 2008 World Series. As a newcomer with the Rays, he had only one hit out of 20 attempts. This achievement makes him the first position player in MLB history to participate in a World Series 15 years after his initial appearance in the Fall Classic. He also joins a select group of players, including Eddie Murray, Pee Wee Reese, and Willie Mays, to have a hit in the World Series at both 23 years old or younger and 38 years old or older.
Can I improve upon that?
García’s game-winning home run occurred on the same date, 12 years later, as David Freese’s walk-off hit in the 11th inning for the St. Louis Cardinals against Texas in Game 6 of the 2011 World Series. This was the game where Texas was just one strike away from winning the championship twice before Freese’s triple tied the game in the ninth inning. During that postseason, Freese had a total of 21 RBIs, which was the record that García surpassed.
In three postseason starts, Kelly, a 35-year-old right-handed pitcher, has a record of 2 wins and 1 loss with an earned run average of 2.65.
Montgomery will be starting for the Rangers on his regular schedule, following his 2 1/3 inning performance in Monday’s Game 7 of the ALCS against Houston. The 30-year-old, who was acquired at the trade deadline and is set to become a free agent, has a perfect record of 3 wins and an impressive 2.16 ERA in this year’s postseason.