2023 World Series: Rangers Give Diamondbacks Halloween Nightmare

Corey Seager of the Texas Rangers celebrates his homer against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Game Four of the 2023 World Series.
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Rangers 11, Diamondbacks 7; Rangers lead Series, 3–1

PHOENIX, Oct. 30 — A five-run second and five-run third gave the Texas Rangers an insurmountable lead, powering them to an 11–7 Halloween victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks in Game Four of the 2023 World Series Tuesday night. The back-to-back innings were the first time a team had ever scored five runs or more in consecutive World Series innings. More importantly, the victory gives the Rangers a 3–1 lead in the best-of-seven series, putting them one win away from the franchise’s first World Series championship.

The victory was especially impressive given the news out of the Rangers’ front office prior to the game. Right fielder and ALCS MVP Adolis Garcia, along with right-hander Max Scherzer, both were removed from the roster. Both suffered injuries in Game Three, Garcia a left oblique injury and Scherzer back spasms. The Rangers added infielder Ezequiel Duran and left-handed reliever Brock Burke as their replacements.

Four Rangers had multiple hits in the game. Second baseman Marcus Semien went 2-for-5 with a triple, a home run, five RBI, and two runs scored in the win. Third baseman Josh Jung went 3-for-5 with a double and two runs scored. Right fielder Travis Jankowski, who did not find out he was starting until three hours before the game, went 2-for-4 with a double, two RBI, and two runs scored. Shortstop Corey Seager went 2-for-5 with a homer and a double.

Rangers Take Early Lead over Diamondbacks

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Diamondbacks second baseman Ketel Marte led off the bottom of the first with a single to center, wasting no time in extending his record postseason hitting streak to 20 games. Three batters later, with first baseman Christian Walker batting, Marte tried to steal second. But catcher Jonah Heim gunned him down, ending the inning with Marte firing his helmet toward the dugout in frustration.

Diamondbacks left-hander Joe Mantiply pitched a 1-2-3 first, but the second did not go as well for him. Rangers third baseman Josh Jung led off with a double to center before first baseman Nathaniel Lowe struck out. That ended Mantiply’s day in a planned pitching change. Right-hander Miguel Castro came into the game and retired Heim on a grounder to second. Jung advanced to third on the play and scored on a wild pitch to center fielder Leody Taveras, up next. Taveras ultimately walked and advanced to second on a single to center by Jankowski. Semien plated both runners with a triple to the left-field corner, giving the Rangers a 3–0 lead.

Rangers Make World Series History

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That brought out Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo with the hook. In came left-hander Kyle Nelson as Castro left the mound to a hail of boos. Seager welcomed him to the game with a 431-foot homer, a two-run blast off the façade above the pool in left-center that gave the Rangers a 5–0 lead.

It grew worse for the Diamondbacks and better for the Rangers in the top of the third. A one-out single by Jung, followed by a single to center by Lowe, put runners on first and second with nobody out for Heim. A sharp grounder on the right side off new pitcher Luis Frias had a chance to be a double play when Walker gloved it. However, on the transfer, the ball squirted out of Walker’s hand like a wet bar of soap, and everyone was safe. This loaded the bases for Taveras, who fanned for the second out. Up came Jankowski, whose double to center scored both Jung and Lowe to make the score 7–0. With Heim on third and Jankowski on second, Semien ripped a homer to left. The three-run blast gave the Rangers ahead, 10–0, and the rout was on.

Shutout Averted

Rangers starter Andrew Heaney pitched around a two-out double by Marte to hold the Diamondbacks scoreless in the bottom of the third. The Diamondbacks avoided the shutout in the bottom of the fourth after a leadoff walk by catcher Gabriel Moreno, a double by Walker, and a sacrifice fly by left fielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. but that was all they could muster.

Heaney left the game after the fifth, having allowed one run on four hits, walking two and striking out three. “He did a great job, didn’t he?” manager Bruce Bochy asked reporters knowingly after the game. “That’s about where we wanted him,” he continued. “We were hoping to get five innings. Terrific job.”

Ryne Nelson took the mound for the Diamondbacks in the top of the fourth and shut the Rangers down, retiring the first 11 batters he faced. Jung broke up the consecutive outs with a single to center, his third hit of the game.

Neither team scored again until the top of the eighth, when Heim led off with a home run to right, extending the lead to 11–1. This was Nelson’s only run allowed all night, as he followed with two groundouts and a called strikeout. Ultimately, Nelson allowed one run on three hits, walking none and striking out six across 5 1/3 innings. For Nelson to toss 68 pitches and eat up 5 1/3 innings was “huge,” according to Lovullo. “Because of him we’re going to be in a spot to use our guys tomorrow and hopefully win a baseball game,” Lovullo told reporters afterwards. “Without that, we would have been in a really bad spot. And he sacrificed. I know he was gassed out there at the very end, but he sacrificed for the good of his team.”

Diamondbacks Score Big Late, but Not Enough

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Burke made his first World Series appearance in the bottom of the eighth. The Diamondbacks gave him a rude welcome, with consecutive one-out singles by left fielder Corbin Carroll, Moreno, and Walker loading the bases. This chased Burke from the game and brought in Chris Stratton. Designated hitter Tommy Pham, the first to face him, flied to right for the second out, but it was deep enough to score Carroll and advance Moreno to third. Gurriel brought Moreno and Walker in with a three-run homer to left, making the score 11–5 in favor of the Rangers.

In the bottom of the ninth, with lefty Will Smith on in mop-up duty for the Rangers, pinch-hitter Jordan Lawlar drew a leadoff walk. He advanced to third on a single by shortstop Geraldo Perdomo. That brought up Marte, who — after Perdomo advanced to second on defensive indifference — struck out. Carroll also struck out, bringing up Moreno as the Diamondbacks’ last hope. With the next four Diamondback hitters being right-handed, Bochy replaced Smith with closer and right-hander Jose Leclerc. Moreno singled to center off Leclerc, scoring the two runners to make the score 11–7. That brought up Walker, whose foul popup near the first base dugout settled in the glove of Lowe to end the game and put the Rangers one win away from the franchise’s first World Series championship.

Rangers Reactions

Jung said getting three hits in the game felt “great.” He added, “I just wanted to go out there, win at-bats, and execute my plan. That’s truly all I’m focused on. And I got some results tonight, which helped.” On being one win away from the title, he said his thoughts were to not think about it or get in his mind. “Don’t let it be more than it is,” he said. “We just have to play one more good baseball game. And if that happens, great.”

Jankowski is now 3-for-6 in the 2023 postseason with a double, two RBI, and two runs scored. Although he didn’t find out he was playing until three hours before game time, he was prepping Monday night. “Any time you hear ‘oblique’ in baseball, you expect the worst. Hope for the best, expect the worst, so I was doing all my homework and stuff like that last night.” He did not expect the game to go so well for him. “You dream of it,” he smiled. “(But) you take it one pitch, one out at a time. Typically, when you can stay in the moment and not let outside reactions bother you, things go well.” Being one win away from the title “feels great,” Jankowski said. “But the job is not done. We’ll enjoy it when it’s done.”

Looking Ahead

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Heaney earned the win in his first World Series start. Mantiply took the loss. Heaney told reporters afterward that the moment felt “awesome” to him. He added, “I’ve had a lot of ups and downs in my career. I’ve been on a bunch of different teams and never had this opportunity.” In addition, he said, “Now we’re in a great position and need to finish it off.”

The Rangers will have their first of a potential three opportunities to do so Wednesday evening in Game Five. They will send Nathan Eovaldi to the mound with hopes to finish off the Diamondbacks, who will start Zac Gallen in a battle of right-handers. First pitch will be at 7:03 Central/5:03 Arizona Time, with Joe Davis and John Smoltz calling the game on Fox.

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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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