2023 World Series

From BR Bullpen

2023 World Series
Texas Rangers logo
2023 World Series logo
Arizona Diamondbacks logo
Texas Rangers
90 - 72 in the AL
4 - 1
Series Summary
Arizona Diamondbacks
84 - 78 in the NL


If anyone before the start of the season had bet that the 2023 World Series would feature the Texas Rangers and Arizona Diamondbacks, that person would be very rich today. The match-up was not only unprecedented - not something particularly rare as the last four World Series had also featured unprecedented match-ups - but completely unexpected as both teams had figured to be improved, but not by leaps and bounds as was the case. Both teams had lost over 100 games as recently as 2021, so their turn-around was remarkable. It was also the first World Series to feature two wild card teams since 2014, and just the third overall.

Bruce Bochy was one of the all-time great managers, taking his third different team to his fifth World Series, having won it three times with the San Francisco Giants in the 2010s. The Rangers were just making their third appearance in the Fall Classic after those that came back-to-back in 2010 and 2011, and looking to win it for the first time. one of only six franchises in the majors without a title to their name. The Diamondbacks had been winners in their only previous appearance, in 2001, but it was the first time for manager Torey Lovullo, who was however a veteran of eight seasons as a big league manager, the last seven with Arizona, and was also universally respected.

The Rangers won the series, four games to one, as the Diamondbacks were unable to stop their bats except for one game, earning the first championship the franchise's history, dating back to 1961. They won all three games they played on the road, completing a remarkable 11-0 stretch in their opposition's ballparks during this postseason. Corey Seager was named the winner of the Willie Mays Award as the series MVP, his second time winning the honor, as he had done so previously in 2020.

The Teams[edit]

Rangers The Texas Rangers had one of the best offenses in the majors, with their 881 runs leading the American League and trailing only a couple of 100-win teams in the National League. They had led the AL West for most of the season before a late-season slump had left them tied with the Houston Astros, on whom they took their revenge in the ALCS, and before that they were among the best teams in the circuit all season even if their record of 90-72 was good but not great. The heart of that offense was their keystone combination of SS Corey Seager, a leading MVP candidate, and 2B Marcus Semien. Both of them had been signed as free agents before the 2022 season, and they had finished respectively with 33 and 29 homers, 96 and 100 RBIs, and averages of .327 and .276, with Semien leading the AL in hits (185) and runs scored (122). The two usually occupied the top two places in the batting order. Other big bats were RF Adolis Garcia, the ALCS MVP, who hit 39 homers and drove in 107 runs, rookie 3B Josh Jung (23 homers and 70 RBIs) and C Jonah Heim (18 homers and 95 RBIs); all five had been All-Stars. Rookie LF Evan Carter, who had only made his big league debut in September, had shown a tremendous batting eye since being installed in the starting line-up, 1B Nathaniel Lowe was one year removed from winning a Silver Slugger Award, and CF Leody Taveras could lay a claim to being the best number nine hitter in the majors. This was a scary line-up with no weak link.

Before the season, the Rangers had signed three big name free agent pitchers in Jacob deGrom, Andrew Heaney and Nathan Eovaldi to improve a sub-par starting rotation. DeGrom had been shut down by an arm injury in the early going, never being able to assume the mantle of ace, Heaney had had a decent season going 10-6, 4.15, but Eovaldi had pitched very well, finishing at 12-5, 3.63, and had been outstanding in the postseason. Two trading deadline acquisitions, Jordan Montgomery and Max Scherzer, now occupied the number two and three spots in the rotation, with Montgomery having been excellent after going 4-2, 2.79 in 11 starts after the trade, but Scherzer, who had had another fine season (13-6, 3.77 overall), was also coming back from an injury and had been unimpressive in the ALCS. Other regular season starters Dane Dunning (12-7, 3.70), Jon Gray (9-8, 4.12) and Martin Perez (10-4, 4.45) were now working out of the bullpen, but could be tabbed if and when a fourth starter was needed. The bullpen had been a problem area all season, as the team had finished with 30 saves but 33 blown saves, something unprecedented for a postseason team. Veteran Will Smith had been the nominal closer with 22 saves, but his 2-7 record and 4.40 ERA meant that he was now relegated to the role of little-used LOOGY, with José Leclerc (0-2, 2.68, 4 SV) handling the save situations. Set-up man Aroldis Chapman (2-3, 3.72, 4 SV) had once been one of the best relievers in baseball but was now wildly inconsistent, while Josh Sborz (6-7, 5.50) had pitched well in the postseason after a trying season and was now back in Bruce Bochy's circle of trust.

The Rangers were a very good defensive team, particularly strong up the middle with Heim, Seager, Semien and Taveras. Garcia had one of the best throwing arms in the majors in right field, and Jung looked like a future Gold Glove winner at 3B. They did not steal many bases however, even if they had good speed, their 79 steals being next-to-last in the AL.

Diamondbacks The most striking thing about the Diamondbacks was that they had a negative run differential during the regular season, having scored 746 runs while allowing 761, which was a rarity for a postseason team. Both figures placed them in the middle of the pack, and they had only ensured their place in the postseason in the season's final days, as the lowest seed in the National League. They had also been a streaky team, having started the year very strong, going 52-39 in the first half and leading the NL West for most of that time, and then playing below .500 in both July and August before getting back on the winning track in September, and getting hot in the postseason. Still, they were definite underdogs coming into the series.

They were also a very young team with a number of their key position players being 23 and under, including OF Corbin Carroll, C Gabriel Moreno, OF Alek Thomas and SS Geraldo Perdomo. Carroll was their best hitter with a .285 average, 116 runs, 25 homers, 76 RBIs and 54 stolen bases during the season. Moreno had hit .284 while providing excellent defense, but Thomas and Perdomo were strong defensive players with hitting potential, and not yet big offensive threats. Other veterans had made important contributions: 2B Ketel Marte, the NLCS MVP, who hit .276 with 25 homers and 82 RBIs; 1B Christian Walker (.258, 33, 103, but largely a non-factor in the postseason thus far); LF Lourdes Gurriel (.261, 24, 82); and OF/DH Tommy Pham (a combined .256, 16, 68 between two teams). 3B had been an issue with veteran Evan Longoria who hit .223 and was nearing the end of the line, sharing playing time with Emmanuel Rivera, who had hit .261 with no power (a .358 slugging percentage). In contrast to the Rangers, the D-Backs did like to steal bases, with their 166 being second-best in the league. As befits a young team, their speed was generally very good, and they were an excellent defensive team too.

The starting rotation was led by two veterans, Zac Gallen, a Cy Young Award candidate at 17-9, 3.47, and Merrill Kelly (12-8, 3.29). The third spot had gone to rookie Brandon Pfaadt (3-9, 5.72), whose overall stats were poor but who had pitched well down the stretch after getting his feet wet in MLB and had done well in the postseason too. However, after that, it was a wasteland, and they had resorted to using a bullpen game started by short reliever Joe Mantiply when they had needed a fourth starter in the NLCS. Ryne Nelson (8-8, 5.31) was the only other starter on the roster, and he had been relegated to long relief. In contrast, the top of the bullpen with Paul Sewald (a combined 3-2, 3.12 with 34 saves between two teams) and Kevin Ginkel (9-1, 2.48, 4 SV) had yet to give up a run in the postseason, and supporting players Ryan Thompson, Miguel Castro, Mantiply, Kyle Nelson, Luis Frias and Andrew Saalfrank, the latter a raw rookie with only 10 games of regular season experience under his belt, had all contributed in the previous rounds, giving the D-Backs a much deeper bullpen than their opponents. One interesting thing to note was that the team's highest-salaried player was a pitcher, Madison Bumgarner, but he had been released back in April after posting an ERA over 10.00 in four starts. It was fair to call the pitching staff unheralded, but it was also effective.


Quinn Wolcott was the reserve umpire for Game 1 and entered the rotation as home plate umpire for Game 2

Series results[edit]

Game Score Date Starters Time (ET)
1 Arizona Diamondbacks 5 Texas Rangers 6 October 27 Zac Gallen (0-0) Nathan Eovaldi (0-0) 8:03 pm
2 Arizona Diamondbacks 9 Texas Rangers 1 October 28 Merrill Kelly (1-0) Jordan Montgomery (0-1) 8:03 pm
3 Texas Rangers 3 Arizona Diamondbacks 1 October 30 Max Scherzer (0-0) Brandon Pfaadt (0-1) 8:03 pm
4 Texas Rangers 11 Arizona Diamondbacks 7 October 31 Andrew Heaney (1-0) Joe Mantiply (0-1) 8:03 pm
5 Texas Rangers 5 Arizona Diamondbacks 0 November 1 Nathan Eovaldi (1-0) Zac Gallen (0-1) 8:03 pm


Game 1 @ Globe Life Field[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 R H E
Diamondbacks 0 0 3 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 8 0
Rangers 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 1 6 9 0
WP: José Leclerc (1-0); LP: Miguel Castro (0-1)
Home Runs: ARI - Tommy Pham (1); TEX - Corey Seager (1), Adolis Garcia (1)
  • Attendance: 42,472

The ceremonial first pitch was thrown by former Rangers owner (and President of the United States) George W. Bush. The game featured the two teams' current aces, Nathan Eovaldi for Texas and Zac Gallen for the Diamondbacks, with no surprises in the starting line-ups either. Neither pitcher had a great outing, although Gallen did just enough that he was in line for the win when he left after five innings with a 5-3 lead. That was before the events that would turn this game into a classic however: the Rangers hit two dramatic homers, one in the bottom of the 9th to tie it, and another a walk-off homer in the 11th to win it and take a 1-0 lead in the series. And the hero was a familiar one, Adolis García, who hit the walk-off blast and collected two RBIs in the game to set a new all-time record for a single postseason with 22.

Eovaldi had a good 1st inning, retiring the Diamondbacks in order, but the same cannot be said for Gallen, who fell into trouble after getting the struggling Marcus Semien to ground out. He followed by issuing a walk to Corey Seager, then Evan Carter doubled to center to drive in a first run. Next up was the red hot Garcia, and he tied David Freese's postseason RBI record set in 2011 with a single to left, allowing Carter to score to make it 2-0. Gallen then forced Mitch Garver to ground into a double play, although the second out was only confirmed after a video review after Garver had originally been called safe at first. Neither team managed to reach base in the 2nd, but in the 3rd, it was the Diamondbacks' turn to do damage. Alek Thomas and Evan Longoria led off with consecutive singles and Geraldo Perdomo laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance both runners 90 feet. Carroll then hit a triple, tying the game, and scored when Ketel Marte hit a grounder to 1B Nathaniel Lowe. Even though the infield was playing in, Carroll was running on contact and beat Lowe's throw to the plate. Texas replied immediately when Seager drew another walk with two outs - already his 14th this postseason - then went to third on a double by Carter. Carter could have been held to a single, but LF Lourdes Gurriel attempted to throw out Seager at third base, a poor decision that allowed Carter to move to second. Gallen then walked Garcia semi-intentionally to load the bases, then issued another clearly unintentional walk to Garver to force in the tying run before getting Jonah Heim to fly out to center.

With the score tied at 3, the D-Backs continued to work on Eovaldi as Tommy Pham led off the 4th with a homer to left and in the 5th, Perdomo led off with a single, stole second, and scored on a double by Ketel Marte, which incidentally gave him a 17-game postseason hitting streak, tying him with Hank Bauer, Derek Jeter and Manny Ramirez for longest ever. It was now 5-3 for Arizona and after a second out and a walk to Christian Walker, Bruce Bochy took Eovaldi out of the game, replacing him with Dane Dunning. Walker then stole second base, hoping to draw a throw a start a possible double steal, but C Heim held on to the ball. Pham then grounded out to first base. Gallen did not allow anything in the bottom of the 5th, but by then had thrown 99 pitches, so his night was over as well. However, he was in line for the win if his bullpen could hold the two-run lead for the next four innings. Torey Lovullo had a plan to achieve that, with Ryan Thompson, Joe Mantiply, Kevin Ginkel and Paul Sewald all penciled in for one inning of work each. For the Rangers, it was important to keep Arizona from adding any more runs to their lead, and a string of relievers did just that: Cody Bradford recorded the final out in the 6th after Thomas had singled (and also stolen a base), after which Jon Gray did the same in the 7th, but this time with no runner on base. Thompson had a slightly harder time of it for the D-Backs in the 6th as he walked Heim and gave up a two-out single to Josh Jung before getting Leody Taveras to pop up. In the 7th, Mantiply retired the Rangers in order, after which Gray retired the D-Backs in the top of the 8th, stranding a baserunner. Now it was Ginkel's turn, but he had a tough time of it, giving up a lead-off single to Garcia, then after striking out Garver, throwing a wild pitch and walking Heim. With Heim representing the tying run, he was replaced by a pinch-runner, Josh Smith, but Lowe hit a short fly to left and Jung a grounder to third, wasting a great opportunity. This also meant that back-up catcher Austin Hedges, who hadn't played in a month, was now in the game.

In the 9th, Gray struck out Longoria before giving way to veteran Will Smith, who was on the roster for his third consecutive World Series with his third different team, after having been on the winning side with the Atlanta Braves in 2021 and with the Houston Astros last year, although he had not seen any action the second year. He accomplished his mission by retiring Perdomo and Carroll, meaning the score was still 5-3 when Sewald came in to pitch the bottom of the 9th. That's when the game went off-script: Sewald issued a lead-off walk to Taveras. He struck out Semien on just three pitches, but Seager absolutely crushed his first pitch, hitting it off the facing of the upper deck in right field for a dramatic two-run, game-tying homer. It was an absolute no-doubter, traveling some 418 feet, and Seager knew it was gone as soon as he hit it. After a second out, Sewald hit Garcia with a pitch then, after Garcia stole second, issued an intentional walk to Garver. That brought up Heim's spot, but he was out of the game, and with no other catcher on the roster, Bochy was forced to let Hedges bat in a key situation, and he was completely overmatched by Sewald, striking out on three pitches. For the first time this postseason, a game was headed into extra innings, after the first 36 contests played so far had all been decided in regulation innings. There was no tiebreaker rule in effect either, and one could have braced for a long night, although both teams had already dug deep into their bullpens. For Texas, closer José Leclerc pitched the 10th, a logical move since a save was no longer a possibility for the home team. He got the D-Backs in order, and Lovullo called on Kyle Nelson to pitch the 10th. His inning was a lot more complicated as it went walk, double play grounder, walk again, single by Semien who had gone 0 for 5 until then, to bring up 9th-inning hero Seager. However, this time, he grounded out to second, and the two teams moved on to the 11th. Leclerc pitched another inning, and set Arizona down in order again, while Miguel Castro replaced Nelson after the lefty had retired Carter for the first out. On a 3-1 count to Garcia, one of Castro's sinkers did not sink enough, and the powerful Cuban ended the game by hitting a ball to the opposite field, into the first few rows of the right-field stands, for a walk-off homer.

Game 2 @ Globe Life Field[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Diamondbacks 0 0 0 2 0 0 2 3 2 9 16 0
Rangers 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 4 0
WP: Merrill Kelly (1-0); LP: Jordan Montgomery (1-0)
Home Runs: ARI - Gabriel Moreno (1)
  • Attendance: 42,500

Two former Rangers Hall of Famers performed the ceremonial first pitch, with Adrian Beltre throwing and Ferguson Jenkins catching. On the mound, the two teams had their co-aces, Merrill Kelly for Arizona and Jordan Montgomery for Texas, both of whom had been excellent in the earlier rounds. The Diamondbacks managed to bounce back from their dramatic defeat in Game 1 with an excellent performance ending up with a 9-1 win. The score was a bit misleading, as the D-Backs piled on the runs starting in the 7th inning, scoring seven of their nine runs over their final three turns at bat. But, for the first six frames, the game was, as promised, a tight pitching duel between the two starters, whom their managers wanted to extend as much as possible given how much they had had to dig into their bullpens the night before.

The 1st inning set the tone as all six hitters who came to bat for the two teams went down in order. Tommy Pham got the first hit of the game with one out in the 2nd, one of four for him on the night, but it was immediately followed by a double play grounder by Lourdes Gurriel. For his part, Kelly had another 1-2-3 inning and in fact was on his way to retiring the first 11 Rangers batters in order. In the 3rd, Arizona showed that it was ready to use traditional small ball tactics to get ahead, as after a leadoff single by Alek Thomas, Evan Longoria laid down a sacrifice bunt, but the next two batters made outs. Their first run did not require small ball tactics, however: with one out in the 4th, Gabriel Moreno homered to center field, then with two outs, Pham doubled to right and Gurriel followed with a hit this time, and it was 2-0. Evan Carter was the first Rangers hitter to get on base, with a two-out single in the bottom of the 4th, but he was stranded. In the top of the 5th, Geraldo Perdomo singled and stole second but was also left stranded, before Texas managed to cut the lead in half when Mitch Garver led off the bottom of that inning with a homer. Josh Jung added a single with two outs, the third, and it turns out, the final hit off Kelly on the night, but Leody Taveras grounded out softly.

After five innings, the game was still very close, with a 2-1 score and both starters still going strong. Montgomery did show some signs of tiring in the 6th when Pham hit his second double of the game with two outs. Bruce Bochy ordered an intentional walk to Gurriel, but decided to keep Montgomery in the game with the lefty Thomas due up. There was no need to face him, however, as before the at-bat's first pitch, Pham had ventured too far off the base and Montgomery threw to SS Corey Seager to complete a perfect pick-off play that ended the inning. Kelly then struck out the side in the bottom of the 6th but to many people's surprise, Montgomery came back to start the 7th. In was one inning too many: he only faced two batters, but Thomas completed the at-bat that had been interrupted in the 6th with a double to center and Longoria followed with a single to drive him in. Andrew Heaney now replaced Montgomery and Perdomo executed the second successful sacrifice bunt of the game. Heaney got Ketel Marte to ground out as Longoria could not advance, but Corbin Carroll made it 4-1 with a single to left. That was it for Heaney, who gave way to Dane Dunning who walked Moreno before Christian Walker grounded back to him.

Kelly extended his start to seven full innings with another three up, three down inning in the 7th and Arizona could now see the finish line. It added three more runs in the 8th, putting the game out of reach, against Chris Stratton and Martin Perez, as Bochy was using his second-tier relievers by this point. Another sacrifice bunt was involved, this one by Gurriel following a lead-off single by Pham, then there was a pair of walks to load the bases, with Perez complaining about some of home plate umpire Quinn Wolcott's calls, and a single by Marte that made it 6-1 as two runners crossed the plate. That single extended Marte's hitting streak to 18 games, giving him sole possession of the record he had shared with Hank Bauer, Derek Jeter and Manny Ramirez. Carroll followed with another run-scoring single, and at 7-1, the Rangers were basically out of the game. Andrew Saalfrank was called upon to pitch the bottom of the 8th and he retired the Rangers in order, but with the help of a tremendous catch by 1B Walker, who was almost lying on his side but still managed to keep his foot on the bag while snagging an errant throw from SS Perdomo. The Rangers challenged the out call to no avail and the inning was over. Arizona scored twice more off Perez in the top of the 9th - not that it needed the runs - running up its hit total to 16, then Saalfrank got the first out of the 9th after a lead-off single by Marcus Semien. Luis Frias came out to get the final two outs but after striking out pinch-hitter Robbie Grossman, began to shake off his catcher's signs (delivered via PitchCom) and tried to hit the corners of the strike zone with breaking balls before walking Adolis García. That brought out an irate pitching coach Brent Strom who basically told him to stop dithering, follow his catcher's guidance and just throw strikes given the huge lead he was working with (no one watching the scene needed a mike to figure out what was going on). Frias took these word to heart and got Garver to line out to third base to end the game. The two teams were now tied.

Game 3 @ Chase Field[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Rangers 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 5 0
Diamondbacks 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 6 0
WP: Jon Gray (1-0); LP: Brandon Pfaadt (0-1); SV: José Leclerc (1)
Home Runs: TEX - Corey Seager (2)
  • Attendance: 48,517

Two of the key players from the Diamondbacks' lone championship in 2001 participated in the ceremonial first pitch, with Randy Johnson throwing to Luis Gonzalez. On the mound there was a huge contrast in experience with Max Scherzer, with 16 seasons, 200 wins and 3,000 strikeouts under his belt going against rookie Brandon Pfaadt, whose experience was 18 starts, or the equivalent of two-thirds of a season. In what was a game dominated by pitching and defense, the Rangers did just enough to make it nine wins on the road in as many attempts this postseason by scoring all three of their runs against Pfaadt in the 3rd inning. That was the only blip on an otherwise excellent performance for the youngster in which he went 5 1/3 innings. It was more than anticipated as it had been widely surmised that he would be replaced after 18 batters, no matter what; he ended up pitching to three more than that limit, but ended up with the loss as the Diamondbacks were limited to a single run by five pitchers. Scherzer was only able to complete three innings as he was the victim of tightness in his back, but his replacement, Jon Gray, was excellent, allowing just one baserunner over three innings to earn credit for the win.

The theme of pitching and defense was evident early as both teams turned a double play in the early going, the Rangers in the bottom of the 1st and the Diamondbacks in the top of the 2nd. The first key moment of the game came in the bottom of the 2nd after Christian Walker led off with a double, a rare extra-base hit for him since the start of the postseason. Tommy Pham followed with a single to right but Walker ignored the stop sign from third base coach Tony Perezchica, allowing RF Adolis García to put his outstanding throwing arm on display and gun him down at home. Pham advanced to second on the throw but could not advance further after a pop-up by Lourdes Gurriel and a grounder by Alek Thomas. The latter ball deflected off Scherzer towards 3B Josh Jung who threw out Thomas at first. It wasn't clear at first whether the ball had hit Scherzer's elbow or back, and there was speculation that it contributed to his later health issues, but the veteran pitcher dismissed this after the game, confirming that it had hit his elbow but without any further damage, and that the back tightness that started affecting him the next inning was a recurrent but completely unrelated issue.

After that missed opportunity, the Rangers went to work in the 3rd as Nathaniel Lowe led off with a double. Pfaadt struck out Jung for the first out and got Leody Taveras to ground out for the second, moving Lowe to third base, but Marcus Semien did something that had eluded him all postseason, which was to get a clutch hit, as he singled to center to drive in Lowe with the first run. Next up was Corey Seager, and as had been his habit all postseason, he swung at the first pitch, and drove it deep to right field for his second home run of the series. That was basically all that the Rangers' offence would muster all game, as Pfaadt and the four relievers that followed him all did excellent work, but the 3-0 lead would be enough to secure the win. As mentioned, Scherzer began to grimace with discomfort during the bottom of the 3rd, walking Corbin Carroll with two outs and then throwing a wild pitch, and when he came out to start his warm-up tosses before the start of the 4th, he signaled that he was unable to continue. Bruce Bochy had anticipated the potential problem and Gray was already warming up in the bullpen. He stepped in ably, taking the baton from Scherzer for the next three innings in an unimpeachable manner. There was very little action on the bases over the middle innings: a one-out walk of García in the 6th that completed Pfaadt's outing; he was replaced by Miguel Castro who gave up a single to Evan Carter, but then retired the next two batters. In the bottom of the inning, Ketel Marte extended his record hitting streak to 19 games with a line drive that went in and out of Semien's glove and would likely have been ruled an error in most circumstances. In the 7th, Josh Sborz took over for Gray and gave up a one-out double to Pham - his sixth hit in two games - but he struck out the next two batters.

In the 8th, Luis Frias, his ears probably still ringing from pitching coach Brent Strom's lecture in the 9th inning of Game 2, retired the Rangers in order and Sborz came out for a second inning. Before that, García, who had flied out to end the top of the inning, was removed from the game after feeling tightness in his side on his last swing. Torey Lovullo announced Pavin Smith into the game as a pinch-hitter for Evan Longoria, and Bochy replied by bringing out lefty Aroldis Chapman in place of Sborz, to which Lovullo counter-moved by replacing Smith with Emmanuel Rivera. When play resumed, Rivera hit a double to right and Perdomo singled to left, and the Diamondbacks were finally on the board. However, the rally ended there: Chapman struck out Carroll, then Marte hit a grounder to SS Seager's right. He made a nice stop, flipped the ball behind his back to Semien, who gunned it to first base to complete the double play. Arizona appealed to out call at first base to no avail. In the top of the 9th, after a lead-off walk to Carter, it was CF Thomas' turn to shine, as he made a leaping catch in center field on a long fly ball by Mitch Garver. José Leclerc was then sent out to close the game and did so by retiring the three Diamondbacks hitters he faced in order, finishing things by striking out Gurriel and Pham. The Rangers led the series again.

Game 4 @ Chase Field[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Rangers 0 5 5 0 0 0 0 1 0 11 11 0
Diamondbacks 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 4 2 7 12 1
WP: Andrew Heaney (1-0); LP: Joe Mantiply (0-1)
Home Runs: TEX - Corey Seager (3), Marcus Semien (1), Jonah Heim (1); ARI - Lourdes Gurriel (1)
  • Attendance: 48,388

There was some bad news for the Rangers before the game, as they had to place the two players who had left the previous game early with back issues, P Max Scherzer and RF Adolis García, on the injured list. The loss of García, in particular, was likely to be a big blow given how productive he had been until then. Their replacements on the roster were Brock Burke and Ezequiel Duran, respectively, with Travis Jankowski taking over García's spot in the starting line-up. The two teams were down to their fourth starters - which in effect meant that it was going to be a bullpen game, especially for Arizona which had tabbed short reliever Joe Mantiply to start, as he had done in the NLCS; for the Rangers, Andrew Heaney was a starter, but he had not pitched multiple innings for a while. Professional golfer Jon Rahm, a graduate of Arizona State University, threw the ceremonial first pitch. This was also the night when MLB supported "Stand Up to Cancer", with almost 50,000 persons persons present in the ballpark paying tribute to cancer victims and survivors in a moving ceremony at the end of the 5th inning.

If the Diamondbacks' plan was to limit the damage by having a number of relievers succeed each other on the mound, tonight's game showed the dark underside of the strategy and why many organizations will try to avoid bullpen games as much as possible: when things go badly, they can can go real bad and also put a huge strain on the whole pitching staff. This is exactly what happened, except that the D-Backs found an unlikely savior in Ryne Nelson, who gave them 5 1/3 innings of outstanding relief when they needed it most, making it possible to at least preserve a few arms for Game 4. His performance also begged the question of why he had not been asked to start the game in the first place, given that was normally his role on the team. While his relief performance was helped by the fact it came in a low-pressure situation, with the game already lost for all intents and purposes, having him start could not possibly have gone any worse than what actually happened on the field, and might have given Arizona a chance to win this game. In contrast, the Rangers' starter, Heaney, while also called an opener in the pre-game build-up, was a real starting pitcher, and when circumstances made it possible to extend his outing, he did so enough that he completed five innings and earned credit for the win.

The game was decided in the first three innings. In the 1st inning, Mantiply gave up a walk and Heaney a single to Ketel Marte, who extended his record hitting streak to 20 games, but neither runner scored. In the 2nd, Josh Jung led off with a double off Mantiply, who then struck out lefty Nathaniel Lowe before giving way to Miguel Castro. The National League's games pitched leader this season continued to struggle in this series, but not after almost getting out of the inning without a problem. The first man he faced, Jonah Heim, hit a grounder to second. Jung moved to third, but then things got out of hand. Castro threw a wild pitch, allowing Jung to score, then walked Leody Taveras. Jankowski, García's replacement in right field, but batting ninth, hit a single to place a second runner on and Marcus Semien, who had struggled all postseason, finally got a big hit with a triple to that rattled around the left-field corner. Both runners scored to make it 3-0, then against lefty Kyle Nelson, Corey Seager once again belted a pitch into the stratosphere, this one 431 feet to right field to make it 5-0. The D-Backs stranded a runner in the bottom of the inning, then in the 3rd, the Rangers went back on the attack. Jung once again started things off, this time with a one-out single, followed by another single by Lowe. Out went Kyle Nelson, in came Luis Frias, and it was now just the 3rd inning but the Diamondbacks were already using their fourth pitcher. Heim was up next and in what was a key play of the game, hit a grounder to the right of 1B Christian Walker that had double play written all over it. Walker gloved it cleanly, but bobbled the ball as he took it out, and couldn't throw to second. It was the first error by either team in the series, and instead of the inning being over, the bases were loaded with just one out. Disaster then compounded itself after a strikeout of Taveras as Jankowski doubled to right, driving in two more runs, and Semien followed with his first homer of the postseason after hitting 29 during the regular season, and it was killer blow, a three-run shot that made it 10-0, with Semien and Seager having driven in seven of the runs between them. It was also the first time in World Series history that a team had scored five or more runs in two consecutive innings.

It was just the middle of the 3rd, but it was almost time to close the books already. Bruce Bochy, seeing that he now had a comfortable lead, asked Heaney to go as long as he could, and the veteran pitcher rewarded his manager with three more solid innings, allowing only a single run in the 4th on a sacrifice fly by Lourdes Gurriel. Torey Lovullo also got a good pitching performance at this time, as Ryne Nelson understood that he had to save the rest of the bullpen and began throwing inning after inning of excellent ball, only giving up a solo homer by Heim in the 8th. After Heaney had completed his five innings, Bochy turned to starter Dane Dunning; it looked like he would have a chance to pitch the final four innings, confirming the win and earning the save, but after he had pitched a scoreless 6th in spite of giving up a couple of hits, Bochy changed tacks and had some of his lower-level relievers pitch the final three innings. The result was that the Diamondbacks were able to put some runs on the board, making the final score appear more respectable, and probably also rebuilding their confidence to some extent. The Rangers' lead was never seriously threatened, however. Cody Bradford took care of the 7th and with the lead now 11-1, Burke, who had just been activated to take Scherzer's roster spot, started the 8th. He was clearly rusty and gave up three consecutive singles after the first out, loading the bases for Chris Stratton to clean up the mess. Tommy Pham drove in Arizona's second run with a sacrifice fly, but just when it looked like Texas would escape with minimal damage, Gurriel hit a three-run blast to left. In the 9th, Nelson finally ran out of gas after giving up a double to Seager and striking out Mitch Garver. Andrew Saalfrank got the final two outs on a double play. Will Smith, the Rangers' former closer, came out for the 9th, but Arizona's bats were now fully revved up and indeed they would finish the game with more hits than the Rangers - 12 to 11. Smith walked pinch-hitter Jordan Lawlar, who went to third on a single by Geraldo Perdomo but after two strikeouts, Bochy decided to bring in his current closer, José Leclerc, who had been warming up just in case, for the final out. With Perdomo having advanced to second on defensive indifference, Gabriel Moreno singled in two more runs, making the final score 11-7, before Leclerc got Walker to pop up in foul territory to end the game. The Rangers were now one win away from their first-ever championship and were still undefeated on the road.

Game 5 @ Chase Field[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Rangers 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 4 5 9 0
Diamondbacks 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 1
WP: Nathan Eovaldi (1-0); LP: Zac Gallen (0-1); SV: Josh Sborz (1)
Home Runs: TEX - Marcus Semien (2)
  • Attendance: 48,511

The Rangers' fans had been waiting for 51 years for this day (and some who may have transferred their allegiances from the "new" Washington Senators for 62) and today was when the team finally earned the first Championship in franchise history. It was a thrilling game that was a nailbiter until the final inning, with the two starting pitchers from Game 1, Nathan Eovaldi and Zac Gallen, returning to put on a pitching clinic, in contrast to the slugfest of the night before. The Diamondbacks had plenty of chances to get on the board first, as they had runners on base in practically every inning, but Eovaldi shut the door time and time again when it mattered. Meanwhile, Gallen was channeling the ghosts of Don Larsen and Roy Halladay for six innings, being perfect for five, and not giving up a hit until the 7th, but when the Rangers finally had a chance to score, they seized it. As had happened every time they had scored first in this postseason, they ended up on the winning side, and they ran their remarkable road streak to 11 wins and no losses, incidentally tying the franchise record for most consecutive road wins under all circumstances. Corey Seager once again played a central role for Texas, breaking up Gallen's no-hit bid with an opposite field single to lead off the 7th and coming in to score the go-ahead run two batters later. He was duly rewarded with the Willie Mays Award given to the Series MVP, becoming only the fourth player to win it twice, the other three all being Hall of Famers.

Gallen set the tone by retiring the Rangers in order in the top of the 1st and would repeat the performance for the next three innings as well. In contrast, Eovaldi had to deal with baserunners in each of these innings. In the 1st, Corbin Carroll drew a lead-off walk and stole second before advancing to third on a ground out by Ketel Marte, but was stuck there after Gabriel Moreno grounded out to SS Seager with the infield playing in, and after a walk to Christian Walker, Tommy Pham hit a grounder to Marcus Semien at 2B. In the 2nd, Lourdes Gurriel led off with a single, but the next three batters made outs. In the 3rd, Carroll hit a lead-off single, followed by a walk to Marte, and both advanced 90 feet on a sacrifice bunt by Moreno. But Eovaldi struck out Walker and got Pham to ground out to short, and two more runners were stranded. In the 4th, Evan Longoria doubled with two outs, but Eovaldi then struck out Geraldo Perdomo to end the inning. Gallen's innings may have been cleaner, but Eovaldi was again putting on a master class in how to deal with runners on base.

In the top of the 5th, after 14 straight outs, the Rangers finally got a man on base when Nathaniel Lowe drew a two-out walk, but it was just a blip as Gallen then struck out Jonah Heim. And the D-Backs stranded more runners in the bottom of the inning: Marte reached on a walk with one out, then after Moreno struck out, made it to third on a single by Walker, who stole second as Pham drew a walk that loaded the bases. It was up to Gurriel to get the big hit, but on Eovaldi's first pitch, he hit a harmless grounded to Seager. Gallen's bid for history continued in the 6th as he retired the Rangers in order for the fifth time in six innings, then for the first time, Eovaldi did the same in the bottom of the frame, as he reached 97 pitches, his evening over. In the top of the 7th, Seager led off and with the defense expecting him to pull, hit the ball down the third base line on a defensive swing, and it fell in for a single, ending the no-hit bid. Up next was the rookie Evan Carter who hit a line drive to right on Gallen's second pitch. It fell in for a double, and the Rangers were now the ones applying the pressure. Mitch Garver followed with a single to center, giving the Rangers a 1-0 lead. It looked like the beginnings of a big inning, but Gallen struck out Josh Jung, then Kevin Ginkel came in to pitch and got Lowe to hit a soft grounder to 1B Walker, who threw home. Carter was caught in a rundown and eventually tagged out, with the two runners having to stop on first and second. Lowe tried to argue that the ball had hit his foot and should have been a foul ball (he had stopped running after taking a few steps, then ran to first when he saw the rundown in process), but in vain. Ginkel then got Heim to pop up for the third out, and it was still only 1-0, with the Rangers' bullpen coming into action.

Bruce Bochy reversed his usual order of relievers in the bottom of the 7th, calling first on the electric but erratic lefty Aroldis Chapman. He issued a one-out walk to Marte, but took care of his mandatory three batters by striking out Moreno. Bochy immediately turned to Josh Sborz who got Walker to fly out. There were now six outs to go. Ginkel returned for a second inning of work, and again showed an Eovaldi-like ability to work his way out of trouble after loading the bases with one out on a single and a pair of walks. He struck out Carter and got Garver to ground out to short, and the score was still 1-0. Sborz returned for a second inning and got two quick outs before allowing a single to Alek Thomas. Torey Lovullo now sent up lefty Pavin Smith as a pinch-hitter. With Chapman already out of the game, Bochy's options were to bring in the lefty Will Smith, knowing that Lovullo would counter with righty Emmanuel Rivera, or have José Leclerc come in for a four-out save after pitching in the previous two games. He decided to leave Sborz in, as he had been lights out all postseason, and it was the right decision: as he struck out Smith easily. On to the 9th inning, and Paul Sewald came out to pitch, his first appearance since giving up a dramatic game-tying homer to Seager in Game 1. He was clearly out of sorts: Jung and Lowe led off with back-to-back singles, and Heim hit what looked like another routine single to center, but CF Thomas, in trying to come up with the ball quickly in order to hold Jung at third base, instead let it roll under his glove into dead center. Jung and Lowe both scored and Heim ended up on third base. It was a terrible blow for Arizona, but after Sewald recovered to retire the next two batters without Heim being able to score, it was Semien who dealt the knock-out punch, hitting his second homer in two days into the left field stands to make it 5-0. There was no coming back from that. Now with a comfortable lead, Bochy let Sborz finish the job on the mound, and the demoralized D-Backs hardly put up a fight: Perdomo struck out, Carroll popped up to Heim and Marte struck out as well, ending both his 21-game postseason hitting streak and his team's hopes. The Rangers were champions, finally.


After winning the Series on the road, the Rangers returned home to a parade on November 3rd, held in the streets of Arlington, TX and finishing at Globe Life Field. Even though the parade did not take place in Dallas, TX, an estimated 500,000 to 700,000 fans were in attendance. The celebration was particularly special for World Series MVP Corey Seager, as due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was no celebration organized when he had led the Los Angeles Dodgers to the title in 2020.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Jim Callis: "How the World Series teams were built", mlb.com, October 26, 2023. [1]
  • Paul Casella: "Seager named World Series MVP, becomes 4th player to win it twice", mlb.com, November 2, 2023. [2]
  • Anthony Castrovince: "7 reasons the D-backs are the unlikeliest World Series team", mlb.com, October 25, 2023. [3]
  • Anthony Castrovince: "Rangers look to make history of their own at Globe Life Field", mlb.com, October 25, 2023. [4]
  • Anthony Castrovince: "Rangers claim 1st World Series title, 52 years in the making", mlb.com, November 2, 2023. [5]
  • Anthony Castrovince: "Rangers earned their crown; here are 5 reasons why", mlb.com, November 2, 2023. [6]
  • Steve Gilbert: "World Series just the start for promising D-backs", mlb.com, November 2, 2023. [7]
  • Daniel Kramer: "The 6 teams that have never won it all (Texas included)", mlb.com, October 24, 2023. [8]
  • Kennedi Landry: "Lone Rangers: For first time, Texas the last team standing", mlb.com, November 1, 2023. [9]
  • Kennedi Landry: "Rangers bask in glory of first title parade in franchise history", mlb.com, November 3, 2023. [10]
  • Sarah Langs: "11-0 on the road & more amazing stats from Texas’s 1st title", mlb.com, November 1, 2023. [11]
  • Will Leitch: "3 early storylines to watch in the World Series", mlb.com, October 25, 2023. [12]
  • Mike Petriello: "D-backs-Rangers position-by-position breakdown", mlb.com, October 25, 2023. [13]
  • Manny Randhawa: "D-backs, Rangers took similar paths to improbable World Series matchup", mlb.com, October 26, 2023. [14]

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