PHOENIX — Nathan Eovaldi pitched six gutsy innings, Mitch Garver tied the game scoreless with an RBI single in the seventh and the Texas Rangers are World Series champions for the first time in their 63-year franchise history after beating the Arizona Diamondbacks in Game 5 defeated 5-0 on Wednesday evening.
Marcus Semien hit a late home run and the Rangers, held scoreless by Zac Gallen for six innings, posted an 11-0 road record this postseason by capping the Fall Classic with three straight wins in the desert.
One night, after taking a 10-run lead through the third in a Game 4 snoozer, Texas ended the series by outlasting the Diamondbacks in a tough pitchers’ duel over eight innings and four more in the ninth Runs scored.
Gallen pitched a no-hitter in the seventh before giving up an opposing single to Corey Seager, whose weak grounder found a hole. Rangers rookie Evan Carter – 21 years old – followed with a double into the gap in right-center. Then Garver delivered the first run, pumping his fist as a hard-hit grounder came through the middle of the infield to score Seager and make it 1-0.
Garver was 1 for 17 at the plate in the World Series before his big hit.
The Rangers scored four more runs in the ninth to open the game. Semien’s two-run home run off Paul Sewald made it 5-0. The outburst was typical of the Texas offense, which scored at least three runs in an inning 13 times this postseason.
Eovaldi managed to get out of trouble all night before Aroldis Chapman and Josh Sborz did.
It is the first title for the Rangers, whose history dates back to 1961 when they were the expansion of the Washington Senators. They moved to Texas for the 1972 season and came agonizingly close to a World Series championship in 2011, needing just one strikeout on two occasions before ultimately falling to the St. Louis Cardinals.
Now, after five stadiums, around two dozen managers and 10,033 games, the Rangers are champions.
It was’nt easy. Texas led the AL West for much of the season, but clinched the division title against Houston on the final day of the regular season. The Rangers also suffered injuries to key players, particularly star pitcher Jacob deGrom.
That loss in the regular-season finale in Seattle gave the Rangers the fifth seed in the AL playoffs and sent them across the country to open the playoffs in Tampa Bay, part of a two-week trip that took them to four cities – two on every coast. Then Texas got revenge against Houston, winning a hard-fought seven-game series that sent it to the World Series.
Eventually, the Rangers had to get past the Diamondbacks, who won just 84 games in the regular season but defeated the Brewers, Dodgers and Phillies in a remarkable postseason series that ultimately fizzled out.
Gallen was one of the majors’ best pitchers this season and started in the All-Star Game for the National League. But the 28-year-old hadn’t been as strong in the playoffs, with a 2-2 record and a 5.27 ERA over five starts.
That changed on Wednesday. The bespectacled right-hander was at his best, striking out the first 14 batters he faced before striking out Nathaniel Lowe. He got some help from his defense in the fourth – shortstop Geraldo Perdomo got a good catch on a hard-hit grounder from Marcus Semien, and Christian Walker was there to catch the one-hop throw to first.
In the fifth period, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. tracked Josh Jung’s shot into the gap in left-center and intercepted it a few steps short of the 413-foot sign.
Eovaldi wasn’t quite as sharp, but still matched Gallen’s zero points on the scoreboard despite being five runs behind, which was his best run in an appearance since 2013.
The D-Backs had some juicy scoring chances in the first five innings but were unable to convert them, going 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position.
Eovaldi managed six hits, gave up four hits and made five over 97 shots.
FOUR FOR BOCHY
Texas coach Bruce Bochy won his fourth title, 13 years to the day after his first, which came in 2010, when the San Francisco Giants defeated the Rangers, whom he now leads. He also won titles with the Giants in 2012 and 2014.
Bochy is the sixth manager to win four titles, joining Casey Stengel (seven), Joe McCarthy (seven), Connie Mack (five), Walter Alston (four) and Joe Torre (four). They’re all in the Hall of Fame, and when Bochy’s career is over, it seems natural that his name will also be immortalized in Cooperstown.
The Rangers have been on the path to this moment since December 1, 2021, when they committed more than half a billion dollars to sign Semien, Seager and pitcher Jon Gray, who delivered a crucial three-inning relief performance in Game 3. Big spending doesn’t always lead to titles — just ask the Mets and Padres — but it worked for the Rangers.
THEN THERE WERE FIVE
Now that the Rangers have finally won their World Series title, only five franchises remain without a championship: the Colorado Rockies, Milwaukee Brewers, San Diego Padres, Seattle Mariners and Tampa Bay Rays.
The Diamondbacks won the only title in franchise history in 2001.