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Adolis García’s walk-off homer draws first blood for Rangers in World Series

Adolis García hit an opposite-field homer in the 11th inning, after Corey Seager’s tying two-run shot in the ninth, and the Texas Rangers opened this surprise World Series of wildcard teams with a 6-5 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday night.

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The Cuban slugger known as El Bombi drove a 3-1 sinker from Miguel Castro into the right-field seats beyond a leaping Corbin Carroll. It was García’s second RBI of the game, setting a record for most in one postseason with 22.

The #Postseason of Adolis García continues!!! #Walkoff

— MLB (@MLB) October 28, 2023

García has homered in five consecutive games, tied for the second-longest streak in postseason history, and he delivered the first walk-off homer in the World Series since Max Muncy connected leading off the 18th inning of Game 3 for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2018 against Boston and Nathan Eovaldi, who started for the Rangers in this one.

In the first extra-inning game of this postseason, Texas became the first team to win a World Series game when trailing by multiple runs in the ninth since the Kansas City Royals in their title-clinching Game 5 over the New York Mets in 2015.

Game 2 is Saturday night in Texas.

Seager tied the game in the ninth when he drove closer Paul Sewald’s 94mph fastball 419 feet deep into the right-field seats with one out after the inning began with No 9 hitter Leody Taveras drawing a walk.

Everything is louder in Texas. 🔊 #WorldSeries

— MLB (@MLB) October 28, 2023

Usually pretty stoic, Seager had another emphatic show of emotion this postseason, immediately turning and yelling toward the dugout with the ball headed for the seats. He thrust both arms into the air when he rounded first base.

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“He might have turned it up a notch, to be honest. He saved us there,” Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said. “You can see it in him. He gets everybody fired up.”

The blown save for Sewald, first in seven chances this postseason, was the first glaring blip for the Diamondbacks’ bullpen in October.

Seager’s tying shot was similar to the solo homer he hit in Game 7 of the AL Championship Series in Houston four nights earlier, and the reaction was as well. That one put the Rangers ahead to stay in the clincher, with the All-Star shortstop giving a massive hand slap to third base coach Tony Beasley and jumping in the dugout with his teammates.

Game 1 of the World Series went to extra innings for the second year in a row – which had never happened. Unlike the regular season, there are no automatic runners at second base to start extra innings.

Arizona had a 4-3 lead after Tommy Pham hit a tiebreaking homer leading off the fourth. An inning later, Ketel Marte’s RBI double matched a record by stretching his postseason hitting streak to 17 games.

The Rangers’ Adolis García is mobbed by his teammates at home plate after his game-winning home run on Friday night.The Rangers’ Adolis García is mobbed by his teammates at home plate after his game-winning home run on Friday night. Photograph: Godofredo A Vásquez/AP

Zac Gallen made it through five innings with a gritty effort for Arizona after the NL All-Star starter trailed 2-0 only four batters into the game. He equaled his season high with four walks.

Ryan Thompson, Joe Mantiply and Kevin Ginkel each pitched a scoreless inning – though the latter had to endure a 28-pitch eighth – before Sewald came into the game.

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Two seasons after both teams lost more than 100 games, the Diamondbacks and Rangers are matched up in the third all-wildcard World Series – and first since 2014.

These runnin’ Diamondbacks had four stolen bases, and their 20 this postseason are the most by any team since the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays set the record with 24. Arizona even had quite a rarity in its three-run third inning, when it had a sacrifice bunt, a triple and a stolen base.

Eovaldi’s eight strikeouts were the most by a Texas pitcher in a World Series game, but the big right-hander allowed five runs over four and two thirds innings after have given up only five runs total while winning his first four starts this postseason.

Both teams got this far after having to win Games 6 and 7 of their respective League Championship Series on the road, which had never happened in both LCS matchups since those series expected to a best-of-seven format in 1985.