Garcia, Seager rescue Rangers in opener of World Series
(AP photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)
ARLINGTON — All that separated the Rangers from an early hole and losing home-field advantage in the World Series was two outs.
They trailed by two against a reliever who hadn’t allowed a run this postseason. That reliever was facing a team that won a whopping one game in 59 tries when trailing after the eighth inning.
As bad as things looked, one ninth-inning swing changed the game. Another swing in the 11th inning might go down in the biggest in Rangers history.
Corey Seager delivered a two-run game-tying homer in the ninth, and Adolis Garcia ended Game 1 of the 119th Fall Classic with walk-off homer that completed an improbable comeback in a 6-5 victory.
“It was a great game, entertaining game,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “We had some chances out there, but couldn’t quite get that big hit. But late we did. We got the big home run.”
Garcia homered for the fifth straight game, a streak that is second in MLB postseason history. He also had an RBI single in the first inning. Seager was only 1 for 4, but he walked twice and scored three times. The home run was the 10th of his career at Globe Life Field.
Evan Carter and Mitch Garver drove in a run apiece, Carter with a double after Seager walked in the first and Garver with a bases-loaded walk in the third.
But Arizona appeared to be on its way to a series-opening win.
The Diamondbacks erased an early 2-0 deficit with a three-run third inning against Rangers ace Nathan Eovaldi and added single runs in the fourth and fifth to force him out of the game. That was all they would get, though, as five relievers delivered 6 1/3 scoreless innings.
The Rangers had some opportunities after a two-run first inning but couldn’t get the needed timely hit. They had runners at first and second in the eighth, but Nathaniel Lowe and Josh Jung couldn’t deliver.
Arizona went to Paul Sewald for the ninth, but he walked Leody Taveras to start the inning. After striking out Marcus Semien on three pitches, Sewald tried to sneak a 93-mph fastball past Seager.
Instead, Seager launched a shot into the right-field seats and screamed his way down to first base.
“You never just want to give them a strike,” Seager said. “You never want to just give them a strike. You never know if the one you’re supposed to move forward is the first one, so you’re just always ready.”
The game headed to extra innings, which in the postseason do not begin with a runner at second base. The advantage usually goes to the home team, and that’s how it played out for the Rangers.
Jose Leclerc was perfect in the 10th and the 11th, setting the table for Garcia. Batting with one out, he sent a 96-mph sinker the other way and into the third row in right field.
“I felt that I hit it well, but it was a ball that went the opposite direction,” he said. “When that happens I’ve just got to make sure that I run out of home plate and run the bases.”
Game 2 is scheduled for 7:03 p.m. Saturday night, and the Rangers will be taking a great deal of momentum into it. Left-hander Jordan Montgomery is their probably starting pitcher.
The winner of Game 1 has won 16 of the past 20 World Series and 21 of the past 25.
“Walk-off homer in the World Series, Game 1, bottom of the ninth and we’re down two run,” Semien said. “Huge win.”
Jeff Wilson, email@example.com