The Rangers take on the D-Backs for the franchise’s 1st World Series title

Alton GonzalezESPN staff writerNovember 1, 2023, 11:01 PM ET4 minutes of reading

PHOENIX — The Texas Rangers spent seven months of this season terrorizing opponents, feasting on home runs and never giving up. The first night in November showcased the other traits that make them dominant — tough starting pitching, sound defense and a lineup versatile enough to produce runs when needed.

It sealed a title for them.

In Game 5 of the World Series on Wednesday, the Rangers defeated the underdog Arizona Diamondbacks 5-0 in front of a sold-out Chase Field crowd to win their first championship in the franchise’s 63-year history. Nathan Ewaldi continued to stay out of trouble, somehow matching the dominant Jack Galen with six scoreless innings. The Rangers’ offense came late in the end, scoring a run in the seventh to end Galen’s winless bid and adding four runs in the ninth.

The greatest postseason in Rangers history ended with an 11th consecutive road win. No team has ever won more than eight playoff rounds.

Corey Seager was named World Series MVP, becoming just the fourth player to win the honor twice since the award was first presented in 1955. Seager, who won it in 2020 with the Los Angeles Dodgers, joined Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson and others. Reggie Jackson.

The Rangers are the third team in baseball history to win the World Series within two seasons of losing more than 100 games, joining the 1969 New York Mets and the 1914 Boston Braves.

“Everything I’ve ever worked for is for this moment,” said second baseman Marcus Siemian, whose two-run home run in the ninth sealed the victory for the Rangers. “Galen was unbelievable tonight. But we came through. When Corey got the first hit, everybody was awake. The pitching was unbelievable.”

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Texas lost 102 games in 2021 and responded by spending a combined $500 million on Sear and the following offseason. A year later, the Rangers beefed up their rotation — signing Jacob deGrom, Ewald and Andrew Heaney — and fired three-time champion Bruce Bochy as their manager.

Bochy became the sixth manager with four or more World Series titles, joining Joe McCarthy (7), Casey Stengel (7), Connie Mack (5), Joe Torre (4) and Walter Alston (4). His steady presence has been invaluable to a team that has faced constant adversity.

The Rangers were plagued by injuries throughout their lineup and their entire pitching staff suffered as the season progressed. Paradox struck them late. The Rangers lost eight games in a row in mid-August and six of their first seven in early September. They dropped the regular-season finale in Seattle, ceding the American League West to the Houston Astros, and were instead forced to play with a short-handed bullpen in the wild-card round.

Then their perseverance was revealed.

Marcus Siemian sealed the Rangers’ 5th World Series victory with a two-run homer in the ninth.Photo by Harry Howe/Getty Images

The Rangers responded by winning seven straight postseason games, eliminating the 99-win Tampa Bay Rays and the 101-win Baltimore Orioles to take a 2-0 lead over the defending champion Astros. When they lost three straight home games in the American League Championship Series, they responded by winning back-to-back road games in Houston, winning their first medal since the disappointing 2011 World Series.

When they trailed the Diamondbacks by two runs in the ninth inning of Game 1 of the World Series, they battled back and tied the score on Seager’s home run and, in extras, Adolis Garcia’s home run. And when they lost Max Scherzer (back spasms) and Garcia (oblique strain) in Game 3, they responded with one of their most dominant performances in Game 4, scoring 10 runs in the third inning, all with two outs.

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Game 5 further showcased their moxie. The Diamondbacks added at least one baserunner in each of the first five innings, but Ewaldi got out of the jam, including a bases-loaded one in the fifth inning, keeping the game scoreless until the Rangers’ offense finally broke through against Galen. Seventh. Seager led off with a single through the empty third base. Evan Carter, the rookie sensation, doubles to right field. And Mitch Carver kept the Rangers on the board, standing alone up the middle.

“I was just kidding: I don’t know how many rabbits are in my hat,” said Ewaldi, who became the first pitcher to win four road starts in a single season. “I didn’t do a great job attacking the zone tonight. But our defense, again, was unbelievable.”

The Rangers broke the game open with four runs in the ninth. Jonah Heim singled on a ball that snuck under Alec Thomas’ glove, scoring two runs, and Siemian followed with a two-run homer — a fitting end to the Rangers’ thrilling championship run.

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