Rangers take Game 1 of Word Series in extra innings

The Texas Rangers defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks by a 6-5 margin in 11 innings on Friday night in Game 1 of the 2023 World Series. The Rangers now lead the best-of-seven series by a 1-0 margin.

The Rangers jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, but were unable to hold that for long. Texas entered the ninth inning trailing by a 5-3 margin. Shortstop Corey Seager delivered a game-tying home run off Arizona closer Paul Sewald to send the game to extras. Adolis García then homered to win it in the 11th.

Here are seven takeaways from the D-backs'/Rangers Game 1 victory.

1. García has historic night

The aforementioned Adolis García continued his recent hot stretch in Game 1, driving in a run early to put Texas up by a 2-0 margin and then capping the game with a walk-off home-run in the 11th off Miguel Castro to win the contest. 

García reached base five times overall. He also made some history in the process: hia RBIs represented his 21st and 22nd of these playoffs, eclipsing the single-postseason record that had previously been held by former Cardinals third baseman David Freese. 

It's worth noting that García's record-setting RBI came in his 60th plate appearance of the month. Freese took 71 trips to the plate in 2011.

Additionally, García extended his home-run streak to five in a row and his RBI streak to seven consecutive games. Those marks put him second in both categories. Daniel Murphy (sixth) is the only player with a longer home-run streak; meanwhile, Ryan Howard (2008), Alex Rodriguez (2007-09), and Lou Gehrig (1928-32) are the only players to drive in a run in eight consecutive playoff contests.

García, then, has a chance to make more history come Game 2.

His walk-off home run was also the first in Game 1 of the World Series since Kirk Gibson's 1988 heroics.

2. Seager forces first extra-innings game of playoffs

The Diamondbacks' bullpen, particularly Kevin Ginkel and Paul Sewald, had been nails throughout the playoffs. In fact, Ginkel and Sewald entered Game 1 having combined for 19 scoreless innings this month. That changed on Friday night. Ginkel kept his scoreless streak in tact despite a bumpy eighth. 

You know what's coming based on the title above, so let's just state it in plain English: Sewald wasn't so lucky, surrendering a game-tying two-run shot to Corey Seager that extended the game beyond nine innings.

It was the 14th time in World Series history that a home run in the ninth or later turned a would-be loss into a tie or a win. Meanwhile, this marked the first time all month that a game required more than nine innings to declare a winner. That's a fitting tidbit for the first game of the World Series.

3. Carroll, Marte lead way in loss

The Diamondbacks' best position players mostly came through them on Friday night, even if their top pitchers did not. Infielder Ketel Marte and rookie outfielder Corbin Carroll combined for just two hits, but they drove in four of the Diamondbacks' five runs in Game 1.

Carroll tied up the game in the third with a triple to center field that saw Texas outfielder Leody Taveras take an awkward route to closing out. Carroll then gave the Diamondbacks the lead by beating a throw home on a fielder's choice to first base off Marte's bat. 

Marte, for his part, later recorded another RBI on a well-struck double. In the process, he extended his postseason hitting streak to 17 in a row to begin his playoffs career. Only three other players have accomplished such a feat:

Hank Bauer, 1956-58
Derek Jeter, 1998-99
Manny Ramirez, 2003-04

Bauer, Jeter, and Ramirez combined for 29 All-Star Game appearances in their careers. That's some lofty company to be associated with, in other words.

Marte entered Game 1 having hit .359/.382/.604 in his first 12 games this postseason. Carroll, conversely, had hit .295/.396/.455.

4. D-backs show off wheels

We noted that the stolen base was an X-factor entering this series, observing that it could be a strength-on-strength matter. The D-backs ranked second in stolen bases and in stolen-base percentage. The Rangers, conversely, allowed the fifth-fewest stolen bases defensively.

Give round one in this respect to the Diamondbacks.

Indeed, Arizona swiped four bases in Game 1. The aforementioned Marte, Christian Walker, Alek Thomas, and Geraldo Perdomo each did the deed. As a result, the Diamondbacks have now notched four stolen bases in three consecutive games dating back to their NLCS win over the Philadelphia Phillies.

5. Both starters scuffle

On paper, Nathan Eovaldi versus Zac Gallen had the chance to be a pitcher's duel. In practice, it wasn't quite that.

Eovaldi started out of the gate strong, striking out four of the first six batters he faced. Things went downhill beginning in the third, as he surrendered three runs on three hits. He gave up another run in the fourth, on a home run, before allowing yet another run in the fifth. Three of the five batters he faced in that frame reached before Rangers manager Bruce Bochy went to the bullpen.

Eovaldi, who was making his first career World Series start, was trying to improve to 5-0 this postseason. Instead, he finished the night having surrendered five runs (all earned) on six hits and a walk over 4 ⅔ innings. Eovaldi did strike out eight of the 22 batters he faced. 

Gallen, for his part, had a rough introduction to Game 1. He allowed three consecutive runners to reach base as part of a lengthy first inning that saw the Rangers take a 2-0 advantage. Gallen also experienced turbulence in the third, walking three of four batters he faced with two outs, including one that scored a run to even the game at 3-3. 

Gallen would recover to retire seven of the final eight batters he faced on the evening. Overall, he finished Game 1 having yielded three runs on four hits and four walks. He struck out five of the 22 batters he faced.

6. What does a 1-0 lead mean?

Logic dictates that winning the first game in a best-of-seven series puts said team in the driver's seat. Sure enough, the data spells that out, too. According to the website WhoWins.com, MLB teams to win Game 1 have then won the series on 64.4% of occasions. That bodes well for the Rangers, as does the fact that they can now lift the trophy without winning a road game.

7. What's next?

The Diamondbacks and Rangers will reconvene on Saturday night for Game 2. The Diamondbacks will start right-hander Merrill Kelly (12-8, 3.29 ERA) while the Rangers counter with lefty Jordan Montgomery (10-11, 3.20 ERA). First pitch is slated for just after 8 p.m. ET back at Globe Life Field.

Dan Butcher

Dan Butcher (aka HP Pundit) is not a Democrat or Republican. He is a free thinking independent bringing you news and commentary with a dose of much needed common sense.

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