McCoy: Rangers One Win Away From First World Series Trophy

By Hal McCoy
Contributing Writer

When the injury bug bites the Texas Rangers, they bite back. Hard.

The Rangers’ most productive hitter, Adolis Garcia, injured his oblique in Game 3 of the World Series Monday night and Texas lost him for the rest of the Series.

That removed a guy that hit 39 home runs during the regular season, plus eight home runs and 22 RBI during the postseason.

What to do, what to do? No problem for the Rangers. Everybody else in the lineup stepped up Tuesday night in Game 4.

On Halloween, it was a Monster Mash: Texas 11, Arizona 7. And the Rangers, leading three games to one, are one victory away from their first World Series trophy and a fourth World Series ring for manager Bruce Bochy.

It was the 10th straight road victory for the Rangers in the postseason, not only a franchise record but an all-time record.

Plugging in injuries has been modus operandi all season for the Rangers. They lost No. 1 pitcher Jacob deGrom early for the entire season. Corey Seager was on the injured list twice and regulars Mitch Garver , Jonah Heim and Josh Jung missed time, among others., or as Bochy said, “I could go on and on, but we’re resilient and do with what we have.”

And what they have is more than enough.

With Garcia out, his place was taken by former Cincinnati Reds outfielder Travis Jankowski, who had exactly two at bats in a month.
So what did he do? He singled in his first at bat and doubled home two runs in his second at bat.

The game was over in the first 45 minutes. The Rangers scored 10 runs in the first three innings and all 10 runs came with two outs, a record attained in this 119th World Series.

And they scored five runs in the second and five runs in the third, the first time in World Series history that a team scored five or more runs in back-to-back innings.

With Arizona manager Torey Lovullo’s closet bare of starting pitchers, Tuesday was a bullpen day in Chase Field.

It was a disastrous catastrophe.

He had to use four pitchers in three innings and two, three and four were clubbed to submission.

Miguel Castro was assaulted for three runs in a third of an inning. Kyle Nelson was bludgeoned for three runs in two-thirds of an inning. Luis Frias was crushed for three runs in two-thirds of an inning.

Arizona started Joe Mantiply and he left the game with one out in the second inning with Josh Jung on second after a leadoff double.

Castro retired Johan Heim on a ground ball to second as Jung took third. And he had two outs and two strikes on Leody Taveras, 0 for 16 in the Series.

He threw a wild pitch and Jung scored. Then he walked Taveras and the gates of destruction opened wide.

Jankowski singled and Marcus Semien pulled a two-run triple to make it 3-0. Kyle Nelson replaced Castro and Corey Seager did his thing, another home run.

It was Seager’s fourth home run in his last five postseason games and it was 5-0.

It was deja vu all over again in the third, five more runs.

Jung and Nathaniel Lowe singled with one out. Luis Frias replaced Nelson and Gold Glove first baseman Christian Walker booted Heim’s groun ball, the first error by either team in the Series and that filled the bases.

Frias struck out Taveras for the second out. . .then came five more runs.

Jankowski doubled home two and Semien blasted a three-run home run, giving him five RBI in two innings and provided the Rangers with a 10-0 lead.
“We miss him (Garcia) because he is a big part of what we do,” said Seager. “We tried to go out there and win this for him.”

Before Tuesday’s game, Garcia spoke to the team and said Seager, “He spoke and that took a lot of guts from him. We know how he feels. He wants to be out there. And it really fired the guys up.”

The recipient of that largesse was Texas starter Andrew Heaney, expected to go only three innings. But with that much breathing room, Bochy permitted Heaney to go five innings.

He rewarded Bochy and his teammates by holding the D-Backs to one run and four hits.

The Rangers quieted down after the third inning. They added one run in the eighth on a home run by catcher Jonah Heim, his first hit of the World Series.

To their credit, the Answerbacks didn’t pack their bats. They tried hard. They scored four in the eighth with Lourdes Gurriel Jr. smashing a three-run home run to cut the lead to 11-5 and scored two more in the ninth.

But it was a mountain much too high to climb.

On a couple of positive notes for Arizona, relief pitcher Ryne Nelson saved the bullpen by providing five innings of one-run, three-hit pitching with six strikeouts.

And Ketel Marte had two hits, extending his hitting streak to a postseason record 20 games. The D-Backs outhit the Rangers, 12-11. But three more Rangers home runs gave them an 8-1 advantage in homers.

The Rangers have an opportunity to end the 2023 season if they can win their 11th straight road game Wednesday night in Chase Park.


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