Corey Seager launched a two-run homer and made a slick defensive play in the eighth inning to start a crucial double play, Max Scherzer combined with four relievers for a gem on the mound and the Texas Rangers beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 3-1 to take a 2-1 lead in the World Series on Monday night.
Texas overcame injuries to Scherzer and slugger Adolis García in improving to 9-0 on the road this postseason.
The 29-year-old Seager – in the second year of a $325m contract – once again showed he was worth every penny on the game’s biggest stage.
The shortstop smoked a two-run homer into the right-field seats as part of a three-run third after Diamondbacks starter Brandon Pfaadt left a first-pitch changeup high in the zone. The ball left Seager’s bat at 114.5 mph, which was the hardest-hit Fall Classic homer in the Statcast era, dating back to 2015.
Christian Walker is thrown out by Adolis Garcia after blowing through the stop sign! 😮🛑
📺: FOX pic.twitter.com/wXM9RbieFp
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) October 31, 2023
García cut down Christian Walker at the plate with a stellar throw from right field in the second, stifling some early Arizona momentum. García exited in the eighth after appearing to hurt his left side on a swing.
Scherzer threw three solid innings before leaving with back tightness, and Jon Gray, Josh Sborz, Aroldis Chapman and José Leclerc combined to keep Arizona’s offense quiet most of the evening.
Game 4 in the best-of-seven Series is on Tuesday at Chase Field.
The D-backs rallied in the eighth when pinch-hitter Emmanuel Rivera led off with a double against Chapman. Geraldo Perdomo followed with an RBI single, making it 3-1. But then Chapman worked out of the jam – striking out Corbin Carroll before Seager started a clutch double play, sliding on his knees to field a hot smash from Ketel Marte before flipping to Marcus Semien at second, who threw to first.
After García threw out Walker, the Rangers used a three-run third to take the early advantage. Semien’s two-out single into left center made it 1-0 and then Seager smashed his no-doubt homer deep into the right-field seats. It was Semien’s first RBI in 10 games.
Texas are 9-0 this postseason when scoring first.
It was Seager’s fifth homer this postseason. The shortstop also was one of the heroes of Game 1 in this Fall Classic, belting a tying homer in the ninth that helped rally the Rangers to a 6-5 victory in 11 innings on García’s homer.
The 25-year-old Pfaadt had been a revelation in the postseason with a 2.70 ERA through four October starts, despite a 5.72 ERA during the regular season. He wasn’t quite as good on Monday — giving up three runs on four hits and two walks over 5 1/3 innings, striking out four.
The two teams combined for no errors over the first two games of the series and the Rangers produced more defensive highlights that helped them take control of Game 3.
Walker led off the second with a double and Tommy Pham followed with a single, but Walker was thrown out at home. D-backs third-base coach Tony Perezchica put up a stop sign, but Walker either didn’t see it or didn’t care, never hesitating as he rounded third.
García – a Gold Glove finalist who has one of the best arms in the big leagues – threw a 94.6 mph rocket to the plate tho easily cut down Walker.
Two batters later, Alek Thomas hit a bouncer that deflected off Scherzer’s right elbow toward the third-base line. Josh Jung was there to bare hand the grounder and fling a strong throw across the diamond to beat the speedy Thomas.
Scherzer gave up no runs on two hits and two walks while striking out one.