PHOENIX — 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 beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 11-7 on Tuesday night to move ahead three games to one in the World Series.
Rangers batters whipped through Diamondbacks pitching like a desert storm, taking a 10-0 lead and 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 improved to a record 10-0 on the road this postseason and moved 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 close out the third all-wild card Series on Wednesday night against Zac Gallen in a rematch of Game 1 starters.
“It’s business as usual. We’ve got our top guy on the mound now,” said Semien, a former A’s star by way of St. Mary’s High in Berkeley and Cal. “He’s been great the entire postseason. He’s got the dog in him. I’m excited for him. He’s a guy who’s been waiting for this moment the entire year.”
Texas Rangers’ Marcus Semien watches his three-run home run during the third inning in Game 4 of the baseball World Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2023, in Phoenix.(AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)
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.
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. We’ve had guys that have been throwing the ball extremely well, picking up the baseball on defense. It all came unraveled on us there in a matter of two innings,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said.
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 homers 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.
Travis Jankowski, replacing injured slugger Adolis García in right field, singled in the second and hit a two-run double in the third in his first Series at-bats.
García, the AL Championship Series MVP, spoke during a pregame meeting.
“He’s been a big part of what we do. We’re trying to go out there and win this one for him,” Seager said. “That took a lot of guts for him to come out there and speak. We know how he feels. He wants to be out there with us, and it really fired the guys up.”
Andrew Heaney, a 32-year-old lefty with his fifth big league team, got the win by allowing four hits in five innings. Six relievers followed, with closer José Leclerc getting the final out.
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 Diamondbacks’ Ketel Marte reacts after getting caught stealing second against the Texas Rangers during the first inning in Game 4 of the baseball World Series Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2023, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)
There was a festive mood at Chase Field, where the roof was open for the second straight night. Some fans arrived in Halloween costumes, but many started booing in the second inning.
With both teams short on starting pitching, they each planned to string together bullpen games in what Lovullo termed a “chess match” he looked forward to. For the Diamondbacks, it was a gambit that failed.
Josh Jung doubled off opener Joe Mantiply leading off the second and in came Castro, who gave up García’s game-winning homer in the 11th inning of the opener. 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. Castro, head bowed, was booed as he walked off, and Seager hit Kyle Nelson’s slider 431 feet off a video board above the right-center wall for his sixth postseason homer.
“That’s the kind of offense that we want to put together, especially in the biggest games of the year,” Semien said. “And on the road, just to kind of quiet the crowd down so Heaney can focus, too.”
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. “I’ve had stretches like that before. Obviously, bad timing for that, but going to keep working. Kept working. I had simplified some things at the plate, just to get on the fastball and see the slider a little bit better. And things went well tonight for sure.”
Heim had been 0 for 12 before his homer against Ryne Nelson.
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Only the Boston Red Sox scored more runs with two outs in a World Series game, getting 11 in the 2007 opener against Colorado.
Arizona’s Ketel Marte had two hits, extending his record postseason hitting streak to 20 games.
García (left oblique) and pitcher Max 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. “Oh no, I was fine,” Seager said. … 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.