PHOENIX (AP) — Adolis García gathered Texas Rangers hitters in a clubhouse side room Tuesday afternoon and told them his World Series was over.
Max Scherzer was finished, too, injuries costing the American League champions their top slugger and potential Game 7 starting pitcher.
“Pull together guys. Let’s finish it!” Travis Jankowski recalled García saying.
Rangers batters not only bonded, they whipped through the Arizona Diamondbacks like a desert storm.
Marcus Semien’s two-run triple and three-run homer powered Texas to a 10-run lead by the third inning, Corey Seager hit another long home run and the Rangers won 11-7 to move ahead three games to one in the World Series.
“That took a lot of guts for him to come out there and speak,” Seager said of García. “He was vulnerable. He wants to be out there. He told us he loved us.”
Texas improved to a record 10-0 on the road this postseason and closed within one win of the first title in the 63-season history of a franchise that started as the expansion Washington Senators in 1961.
Nathan Eovaldi tries to clinch the third all-wild card Series on Wednesday night against Zac Gallen in a rematch of Game 1 starters.
“We’ve got our top guy on the mound now,” Semien said. “He’s a guy who’s been waiting for this moment the entire year.”
Forty-two of 49 previous teams to take 3-1 leads have gone on to win the World Series. The most recent club to overcome a 3-1 deficit was the Chicago Cubs against Cleveland in 2016.
Rangers batters built a 10-0 cushion by becoming the first team in Series history with consecutive five-run innings. Seager’s third two-run homer of the Series capped the second, Semien’s drive punctuated the third and Jonah Heim added an eighth-inning shot.
Texas scored its first 10 runs with two outs, battering an Arizona staff that needed four pitchers to get its first eight outs. Miguel Castro’s wild pitch brought home the first run, and an error by Gold Glove first baseman Christian Walker — the first by either team in the Series — led to five unearned runs in the third.
“This was nothing that we saw coming,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “It all came unraveled on us there in a matter of two innings.”
Seager and Semien, All-Star middle infielders signed as free agents for $500 million combined before the 2022 season, have six RBIs each in the Series. Seager, the first shortstop with three Series homers, has four long balls in his last five games dating to the AL Championship Series. After leading the Los Angeles Dodgers to the 2020 title, he could join Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson and Reggie Jackson as the only two-time World Series MVPs.
Jankowski, replacing García in right field, singled in the second and hit a two-run double in the third in his first Series at-bats.
“I was locked in last night waiting, preparing to start. I didn’t get the official news until 2 o’clock today,” Jankowski said. “Shoot, I’ve been ready to go 15 years ago.”
Andrew Heaney, a 32-year-old lefty with his fifth big league team, earned the win by allowing four hits in five innings. Six relievers followed, with closer José Leclerc getting the final out.
“We had a 10-run lead. It’s a lot easier to go out there, attack the strike zone and not feel so confined to having to make perfect pitches,” Heaney said.
There was a festive mood at Chase Field, where the roof was open for the second straight night and some fans arrived in Halloween costumes.
Josh Jung doubled off opener Joe Mantiply leading off the second and in came Castro, who gave up García’s winning homer in the 11th inning of Game 1. Jung advanced on a groundout and put Texas ahead when Castro bounced a changeup off the plate for a wild pitch.
Semien hooked a slider that landed about 18 inches fair and bounced into the left-field corner for a two-run triple and a 3-0 lead.
“Looking for the outside corner. It didn’t do what I want to do. It just kind of stayed in the zone there,” Castro said through a translator.
Seager hit Kyle Nelson’s slider 431 feet off a video board above the right-center wall for his sixth postseason homer.
“Made a mistake to the wrong hitter,” Nelson said. “The plan was to carefully pitch around him.”
In the first World Series to open with three errorless games, Arizona’s defense cracked at an inopportune time. After singles by Jung and Nathaniel Lowe with one out in the third, Luis Frías relieved and Heim hit a sharp grounder to Walker, who had a chance for a double play but dropped the ball on the transfer as he looked to throw to second.
Jankowski doubled and Semien sent a fastball at the letters over the left-field wall for his first homer since Sept. 27.
“I hadn’t jogged around the bases in a while,” Semien said.
Heim had been 0 for 12 before his homer against Ryne Nelson.
Rangers players gathered with their families at the team hotel at 10 a.m. About two dozen children were in costume, with Jankowski’s two sons and daughter dressed as a falcon, Spider-Man and Bingo from “Bluey.”
“I’m sure they’re all sugared up now, which is great,” Jankowski said after the game, breaking into a wide smile.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. hit a sacrifice fly in the fourth for Arizona and a three-run homer in the eighth against Chris Stratton. Tommy Pham had a sacrifice fly in the eighth, and Gabriel Moreno delivered a two-run single in the ninth.
Arizona’s Ketel Marte had two hits, extending his record postseason hitting streak to 20 games.
García (left oblique) and Scherzer (back spasm) were removed from the Texas roster a day after getting hurt. INF/OF Ezequiel Durán and LHP Brock Burke were added, and Burke was charged with three runs in the eighth. … Seager appeared to twist one or both ankles on his home run swing. He was removed for for a pinch runner after doubling in the ninth and said he was fine. … Rangers rookie Evan Carter was hit on the right pinkie by a pitch in the ninth.
Eovaldi is 4-0 with a 3.53 ERA in five starts this postseason. He left with a 5-3 deficit in Friday’s opener, allowing five runs and six hits over 4 2/3 innings.
Gallen gave up three runs and four hits over five innings in the opener and is 2-2 with a 5.27 ERA in five postseason starts, yielding six homers in 27 1/3 innings.
AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb