Semien, Seager power Rangers to Game 4 win, cusp of world title
(AP photo/Brynn Anderson)
PHOENIX — A popular word used to describe the 2023 Texas Rangers has been “resilient,” and, sure enough, they’ve shown an uncanny ability to endure hard times throughout their first winning season since 2016.
And hours before Game 4 on Tuesday presented some hard times.
Adolis Garcia and Max Scherzer were deemed to injured to participate in the World Series again. You know, the American League Championship Series MVP and a three-time Cy Young winner.
And, yes, the Rangers didn’t seem to let adversity bother them in Game 4.
But instead of resilient, how about saying they’re just really good?
The Rangers scored five times in the second and third innings, buoyed by home runs from Corey Seager and Marcus Semien, and an 11-7 victory moved them within one win of capturing their first World Series.
They lead the best-of-7 series 3-1 after improving to 10-0 on the road this postseason and have their first chance to clinch Wednesday night in Game 5 with postseason ace Nathan Eovaldi on the mound against Diamondbacks ace Zac Gallen in a rematch of Game 1.
“We don’t want to mess around tomorrow,” first baseman Nathaniel Lowe said. “We saw it today in the late innings: They’re not going to give up. Gallen’s got his back against the wall. It’s win or go home. We’d be stupid to think that they just going to roll over and just give us this fourth win. But we’d be selling ourselves short not to be confident.”
The Rangers took leads of 10-0 and 11-1, which served as plenty of cushion as Arizona mounted rallies in the eighth and ninth innings against the Rangers’ lower-leverage relief arms. Jose Leclerc was summoned for the final out instead of getting a day off.
It looked like he wouldn’t be needed after the Rangers scored their first 10 runs with two outs. Jonah Heim led off the eighth with a home run for the Rangers’ final tally.
Josh Jung, up in the order to fifth with Garcia (oblique strain) out, opened the second inning with a double and was at third with two outs when Miguel Castro uncorked a wild pitch that got just far enough away for Jung to score the game’s first run.
Leody Taveras then walked, and Travis Jankowski, playing right field for Garcia, followed with a single. Semien was next, and he tripled into the left-field corner for a 3-0 lead. Seager followed that with a drive to deepest part of Chase Field.
Jung and Lowe singled with one out in the third, and everyone was safe as Arizona first baseman Christian Walker bobbled a Heim chopper. Taveras struck out, but Jankowski doubled in two runs and Semien lofted his first homer of the postseason just over the left-field wall.
“We just had some guys that had some really nice days,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “I mean Marcus and Corey, and, of course, Jankowski. Really a lot of guys did some good things there tonight.”
Left-hander Andrew Heaney was the beneficiary of the run support, and he opened with three scoreless innings. Arizona get on the board in the fourth, but Heaney returned for a scoreless fifth before giving way to Dane Dunning.
Seager said that Heaney was the hero of the game. While the Diamondbacks threw a bullpen game, the Rangers were potentially in a similar situation, but Heaney got them deeper in the game that perhaps even they were anticipating.
Five runs in the second inning there really takes a lot of pressure off,” he said. Then putting up five the very next inning, we had a 10-run lead, and it’s a lot easier to go out there attack the strike zone and not feel so confined to having to make perfect pitches.”
Dunning and Cody Bradford worked a scoreless inning apiece in the sixth and seventh before Arizona scored four in the eighth against Brock Burke, who replaced Scherzer on the roster, and Chris Stratton.
Will Smith allowed the first two runners to reach against Will Smith, who gave way with two outs to Leclerc. He allowed a two-run single to Gabriel Moreno, but got Christian Walker to end it and move the Rangers to the cusp of becoming world champions.
“You can’t take anything for granted,” Seager said. “They’re a good team. They’re going to scrap, they’re going to claw and they’re never going to give up. They showed that today. We’ve got to come ready to play.”
Jeff Wilson, firstname.lastname@example.org