2023 World Series: Rangers Blank Diamondbacks for First-ever World Series Title

The Texas Rangers celebrating after winning the World Series over the Arizona Diamondbacks
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Rangers 5, Diamondbacks 0; Rangers Win Series, 4–1

PHOENIX, Nov. 1 — After 63 overall seasons, the last 52 in Arlington, we can finally say the words North Texas has longed to hear — the Texas Rangers are World Series Champions. It came after the Rangers shut out the Arizona Diamondbacks, 5–0, Wednesday night in front of 48,511 at Chase Field. The victory not only exorcised decades of disappointment for Rangers fans, but it gave manager Bruce Bochy his fourth World Series victory after he won three with the San Francisco Giants.

Zac Gallen carried a no-hitter into the seventh, but the Diamondbacks could not score any runs for him due to the stingy Nathan Eovaldi, who tossed six scoreless innings “I would have rather given up a thousand runs tonight and we still won the game,” a disappointed Gallen said. “You don’t care about the personal accomplishments, really — you want to do what you can to give the team a chance to win.”

Gallen indeed gave his team a chance to win, but they were denied time and again by Eovaldi. Eovaldi stranded nine baserunners — seven in scoring position — with one Houdini act after another. “What a job he did,” Bochy said in the postgame press conference. “He was in trouble, I think, every inning. Seemed like the lead-off guy was getting on. Had to pitch out of jams. Infield in. Second and third, one out. And made his pitches.”

Aroldis Chapman and Josh Sborz combined for three innings of scoreless relief for the Rangers. They only allowed two baserunners in the process — Chapman on a one-out walk in the seventh, Sborz on a two-out single in the eighth. This, combined with a four-run top of the ninth, sealed the victory and the championship for the Rangers.

Rangers Deny Diamondbacks on Early Opportunities

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The electric sellout crowd of 48,511 roared as Gallen blew through the Rangers 1-2-3 in the top of the first. In the bottom of the first, the Diamondbacks threatened but came up empty. Right fielder Corbin Carroll led off with a walk and stole second on the first pitch to second baseman Ketel Marte. Marte ultimately grounded to second, advancing Carroll to third with the first out. Catcher Gabriel Moreno grounded to short against a drawn-in infield, forcing Carroll to stay put. First baseman Christian Walker drew a two-out walk before designated hitter Tommy Pham grounded into an inning-ending 6–4 force play.

Another scoring opportunity came for the Diamondbacks in the bottom of the second. Left fielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. led off with a single up the middle and advanced to second on a groundout by center fielder Alek Thomas, a high chopper that prevented a double play. Third baseman Evan Longoria cracked a hard, sinking liner to left, but Evan Carter sprinted in hard enough to make a sliding catch for the second out. That brought up shortstop Geraldo Perdomo, whose high fly to shallow left hung in the air long enough for Travis Jankowski to make the inning-ending catch.

Eovaldi stranded two more Diamondbacks in scoring position in the third. Carroll led off with a single to center and advanced to second when Marte walked. Moreno sacrificed the runners to second and third, bringing up Walker. But a strikeout, followed by a Pham grounder to short, left the Diamondbacks empty-handed.

In the bottom of the fourth, Eovaldi pulled yet another escape act. Longoria reached second on a blooped two-out hustle double to shallow right, but a called third strike to Perdomo stranded him as well.

Gallen Holds Rangers Hitless Early

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Gallen made it through the order the first time with little trouble, not allowing so much as a baserunner. Rangers second baseman Marcus Semien led off the top of the fourth with a hot grounder deep in the hole on the left side that seemed destined for the Rangers’ first hit. But Perdomo made a highlight-reel diving stop and threw to first in time for the out.

Two more Rangers threats came in the top of the fifth. Designated hitter Mitch Garver belted a deep fly to left, but it died on the warning track and settled harmlessly into Gurriel’s glove. Third baseman Josh Jung followed with a deep drive toward the corner left-center that Gurriel somehow ran down for the second out. First baseman Nathaniel Lowe broke up the perfect game bid with a two-out walk, but Gallen struck out catcher Jonah Heim to render the walk moot.

Eovaldi Keeps Escaping; Rangers Notch Hit then Take Lead

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The Diamondbacks squandered yet another golden opportunity in the bottom of the fifth. A one out walk by Marte and two-out single to right by Walker put runners on the corners. Pham drew a five-pitch walk to load the bases for Gurriel, who topped a first-pitch curveball and bounced it meekly up the middle. Corey Seager charged hard forward and to his left, gathered it with two hands, and cut down Gurriel by two steps to end the inning and strand all three runners.

Gallen tossed one more hitless inning, a 1-2-3 top of the sixth. Seager got the Rangers into the hit column the following inning with an end-of-the-bat leadoff single to left. Carter followed with a double to right, advancing Seager to third. Garver broke the scoreless tie with a single to center, scoring Seager and advancing Carter to third before Jung fanned.

This ended the night for Gallen, who left to a hero’s standing ovation. In came Ginkel with runners on the corners and one out. First to face him was Lowe, who hit a grounder to first. Walker fired home, getting Carter into a rundown. After a 3-2-5-1 putout, Heim popped foul to the catcher, retiring the side.

Ginkel Keeps It Close, Rangers Remain Stingy

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Rangers lefty Aroldis Chapman and righty Josh Sborz combined for a scoreless bottom of the seventh. The Rangers had a chance to extend their lead in the eighth off Ginkel, who remained in the game. After a bunt groundout to third by center fielder Leody Taveras, Jankowski drew a walk. A single to right by Semien and walk by Seager loaded the bases for Carter, who struck out. Ginkel retired Garver on a grounder to short, leaving the bases loaded as he retired the side.

Sborz retook the mound in the bottom of the eighth. He struck out Pham and got Gurriel to ground to short for two quick outs. Thomas singled to center, keeping the inning alive. With the right-handed Longoria due up, Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo sent up pinch-hitter Pavin Smith for a lefty-righty matchup. The move went for naught when a curveball at the knees locked Smith up for an inning-ending punchout.

Disaster for Diamondbacks, Insurance for Rangers

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Diamondbacks closer Paul Sewald took the mound in the top of the ninth, tasked with keeping his team within a run. The Rangers had other ideas. Singles to center and left by Jung and Lowe, respectively, put runners on first and second for Heim. He stroked a single to center that brought in Jung for the second run. Thomas misplayed it, and it rolled all the way to the wall in the right-center-field corner, scoring Lowe as Heim reached third.

With the score now 3–0, Taveras and Jankowski struck out and grounded to short, respectively, the drawn-in infield preventing the latter from bringing Heim home. It did not matter, as Semien followed with a two-run blast to left-center, putting the game out of “slam range” as it made the score 5–0. Seager piled on with a checked-swing infield single to third, the shift leaving a huge hole near the third-base line. A Carter strikeout retired the side, with the Rangers leading comfortably and three outs from glory.

Closing Out the Title

Perdomo led off the ninth against Sborz and struck out looking, his third straight at-bat doing so. Carroll popped foul to the catcher, bringing up NLCS MVP Ketel Marte as the last hope for the Diamondbacks. He also struck out looking, ending his record 20-game postseason hitting streak and making the Rangers World Series champions for the first time in franchise history.

Sborz spiked his glove and held his arms overhead in triumph. Heim put the ball in his pocket, chucked his helmet aside, and ran to hug his batterymate. The players on the field surrounded Sborz and Heim as the reserves and relievers poured onto the field. They had shed the mantra of being the oldest team not only in Major League Baseball but in any of the Big Four sports to not win a title.

Postgame

The Rangers celebrating with the Commissioner's Trophy after their World Series victory over the Diamondbacks
PHOENIX (Nov. 1) — Mitch Garver (holding trophy) and the Texas Rangers celebrate in the clubhouse with the Commissioner’s Trophy after defeating the Arizona Diamondbacks, 5–0, to win the best-of-seven Series, four games to one, and clinch the franchise’s first World Series championship. (Photo by Evan Thompson/Sport Relay)

Eovaldi earned the win, his fifth in the 2023 postseason, while Gallen took the tough loss. Sborz notched the save, his first of the 2023 regular or postseason. Seager earned Series MVP honors, his second such award after winning the 2020 World Series MVP with the Los Angeles Dodgers. This makes Seager the first to ever win the award as both an NL and AL player. Eovaldi became the first player to ever go 5–0 in a single postseason.

Being the pitcher on the mound for the final out of the Rangers’ first-ever World Series title forever makes Sborz the answer to a trivia question. When told that, Sborz joked, “It’s gonna be a tough question.” But being a World Series champion felt “surreal” to Sborz. “I’m just blessed to be on the team,” he beamed. “Blessed to have great teammates, blessed to have a good family. Good coach. Really, just good everything. I can’t complain.”

To Jankowski, hearing his name as a World Series champion “could not sound any better.” He had a sense that this season’s team was “something special.” Jankowski said, “Everyone sees the talent, but they don’t get to see the person behind the talent. I got to witness that. And it took me all of, probably, 12 hours to realize there was something special in this room.”

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The injured Ian Kennedy did not get to play in the Series, but he was sitting in the bullpen, acting as another coach. This Series wrapped up his 17-year career — he announced his retirement to Sport Relay during the celebration — and made him go out a champion. “It’s unreal,” a smiling Kennedy said. “You get emotional even thinking about it because you play so long. As a little kid, and early in my career, even playing here with Arizona, you think you’re gonna be part of this more often. Then 15 years go by and nothing happens. This year has been the hardest of my career. … But at least I get to be here, get to experience this outside the field, and get to impact guys off the field in any way possible. But to hear (World Series Champion) makes all this hard work worth it.”

Later, Kennedy summed it up, “We are the first World Champions in the Texas Rangers organization. You can’t take that away from us. It’s unreal.”

Cody Bradford hails from Aledo, Texas, a town on the southwest outskirts of Fort Worth. He grew up a Rangers fan, his 13-year-old heart breaking when the 2011 Rangers twice came within one strike of winning the World Series. Never did he imagine that he, one day, would be part of the first-ever Rangers World Series championship. “It’s a dream come true,” he smiled.

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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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