2023 World Series: Lowe, Semien, Seager Power Rangers Past Diamondbacks in Game Three

Corey Seager of the Rangers homers off Brandon Pfaadt of the Diamondbacks in Game Three of the 2023 World Series
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

2023 World Series: Rangers 3, Diamondbacks 1; Rangers lead Series, 2–1

PHOENIX, Oct. 30 — A three-run third, capped by a no-doubt two-run homer by Corey Seager, gave the Texas Rangers a 3–1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks Monday night in Phoenix. Jon Gray, in emergency long-relief duty due to an injury to Rangers starter Max Scherzer, tossed three scoreless innings to frustrate the Diamondbacks and preserve the Rangers’ lead. Josh Sborz and Jose Leclerc added an inning each of scoreless relief to seal the victory.

Diamondbacks right-hander Brandon Pfaadt had another effective outing, with the three-run third being his only runs allowed. Miguel Castro, Kyle Nelson, Luis Frias, and Andrew Saalfrank combined for scoreless relief to keep the Rangers from expanding their lead.

Rangers Thwart Diamondbacks Scoring Attempt, Respond by Taking Lead

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The Diamondbacks threatened in the bottom of the second. First baseman Christian Walker led off. He entered the game batting 8-for-48 in the 2023 postseason, so the fans — after a grassroots movement — tried to pick him up with a standing ovation. It worked. Walker smashed the first pitch off the wall in right-center for a standup double. When designated hitter Tommy Pham followed with a single to right-center, Walker — who had to wait for the ball to get through before running — tried to score from second. Rangers right fielder Adolis Garcia fired a frozen rope, cutting Walker down at the plate by a few feet.

Rangers first baseman Nathaniel Lowe led off the third with a double to center after, according to him, he got a sinker he could handle. A Josh Jung strikeout and Leody Taveras groundout to second advanced Lowe to third. Second baseman Marcus Semien dumped a single to center, scoring Lowe with the first run of the game. That brought up shortstop Corey Seager, who clobbered a no-doubt homer halfway up the right-field bleachers. This gave the Rangers a 3–0 lead.

Scherzer Leaves Game, Gray Takes Over

Scherzer headed back to the mound to start the fourth but left during his warm-up pitches due to back spasms. With the Rangers’ pitching plans drastically changed, in came Jon Gray. His only postseason start was the 2017 Wild Card Game against the Diamondbacks at Chase Field. In that outing, he allowed four runs on seven hits with a double, a triple, a homer, and two strikeouts across 1 1/3 innings. But on Monday, he exorcised the demons.

Gray completely stymied the Diamondbacks’ bats, tossing three scoreless innings. His only baserunner came on a two-out single in the bottom of the sixth by Diamondbacks second baseman Ketel Marte. Marte extended his record postseason hitting streak to 18 games. When asked afterwards about the contrast between Monday’s game and his previous postseason appearance at Chase Field, Gray said, “Night and day.” Gray added that it was nice to come back to Chase and leave his outing with a good feeling, but the most important part to him was helping his team out. Josh Sborz said Gray’s performance was the key to the game. “Jon Gray absolutely dominated,” he said, adding that “bridging the gap” set the tone for the rest of the relief corps.

Rangers, Diamondbacks Relievers Trade Zeroes

Meanwhile, Pfaadt held the Rangers scoreless after the third, with his only blemishes being a leadoff walk to Lowe in the fifth and a one-out walk to Garcia in the sixth. Garcia was the last batter he faced, with Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo handing the ball to Miguel Castro. Castro surrendered a single to left by left fielder Evan Carter before retiring designated hitter Mitch Garver on a popup to shallow center and catcher Jonah Heim on a grounder to third.

Kyle Nelson pitched a 1-2-3 top of the seventh for the Diamondbacks. Josh Sborz faced the heart of the Diamondbacks lineup in the bottom half. After Walker grounded to second, Pham drove a single to center. But Sborz didn’t let the Diamondbacks advance him, striking out both Lourdes Gurriel Jr.and Alek Thomas to quell the threat. Sborz said after the game that it felt good to get in the game. “It had been seven days,” he said with a smile. “I was getting kind of itchy. Wanted to be out there.”

Luis Frias pitched a 1-2-3 top of the eighth for the Diamondbacks, but the third out might have been a major long-term blow to the Rangers. Garcia flied to center, but on the swing, he doubled over in extreme pain. He exited the game with what turned out to be a left oblique injury. Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said after the game that the team would try to remain optimistic as they wait for more news. That news will come Tuesday.

Diamondbacks Avoid Shutout

The Diamondbacks finally broke through in the bottom of the eighth. Sborz took the mound, prompting Lovullo to send up lefty Pavin Smith to bat for righty Evan Longoria. Bochy countered by bringing in left-handed flamethrower and setup man Aroldis Chapman. Lovullo countered by pinch-hitting righty Emmanuel Rivera. Rivera welcomed Chapman to the game with a double to the right-field corner, bringing up shortstop Geraldo Perdomo. His single to left plated Rivera to make the score 3–1. That was all the Diamondbacks could get in the eighth, however, as left fielder Corbin Carroll struck out looking and Marte followed by grounding into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.

Frias and Andrew Saalfrank combined to pitch a scoreless ninth for the Diamondbacks. Rangers closer Jose Leclerc took the hill in the ninth to pitch to the heart of the lineup. Catcher Gabriel Moreno led off. On 1–0, Moreno took a slider above the knees and over the outside corner, but plate umpire Alfonso Marquez called it a ball. The count progressed to 3–1. Leclerc yanked a fastball at least two ball widths off the plate, but instead of it being ball four, Marquez called it a strike. Moreno grounded the next pitch to third for the first out. This drew boos from the crowd and frustrated protests from the Diamondbacks dugout. Walker and Pham followed with consecutive strikeouts to end the game and give the Rangers a 3–1 victory.

Looking Ahead

Gray earned the win, while Pfaadt took the loss. Leclerc notched the save. With the victory, the Rangers take a two-games-to-one lead in the Series, which is best four out of seven.

The Rangers and Diamondbacks face off again Tuesday evening at 7 Central/5 Arizona Time. Andrew Heaney will start for the Rangers against Joe Mantiply. Mantiply will serve as the “opener” in a so-called “bullpen game.”

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Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan is the owner and sole contributor of Thompson Talks, a website discussing the Big Four North American Pro Sports as well as soccer. He also is a credentialed member of the Colorado Rockies press corps. His first and biggest love is baseball.

Evan lives in Gilbert, Arizona and loves history, especially of sports. He is the treasurer for the Hemond Chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) and also is a USSF and AIA soccer referee. He released his first book, Volume I of A Complete History of the Major League Baseball Playoffs, in October of 2021.

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