Latest Corey Seager HR lifts Rangers to 2-1 World Series edge
Posted on: 31 Oct, 2023 at 05:05 AM
Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
PHOENIX -- Corey Seager already owns a World Series Most Valuable Player trophy, from 2020 with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Texas Rangers shortstop is making a case for another after hitting his second two-run home run of the 2023 Fall Classic on Monday.
His latest blast capped a three-run third inning and led the Texas Rangers a 3-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks in Game 3 of the World Series. Seager also turned in a key defensive play to prevent potential runs.
Despite the early exit of starter Max Scherzer, the Rangers grabbed a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. Game 4 will be played Tuesday night in Phoenix.
With Texas up 1-0 after a two-out, run-scoring single from Marcus Semien, Seager hit his fifth home run of the postseason, this one off Diamondbacks starter Brandon Pfaadt.
Pfaadt, a rookie, had been impressive in his three most recent postseason starts, allowing only two runs allowed over 14 innings to go with 18 strikeouts. But Seager connected on a first-pitch changeup that was high in the strike zone, and the ball sailed into the seats in right field.
"Marcus put together a great (at-bat) right before me and drove in a run, and we're just trying to build off that, you know, a lot of trying to build off each other constantly," Seager said. "So props to him on a great AB, and fortunately I got a good pitch to hit."
Scherzer pitched three scoreless innings before exiting with what was announced as back tightness. Scherzer, facing his former team, had been struck by a comebacker from the Diamondbacks' Alek Thomas in the second inning, but that ball struck Scherzer's elbow.
Scherzer, who gave up two hits with two walks while striking out one, said postgame that his back "went into full spasm." However, he didn't rule himself out from pitching again in the series. He would be in line to start Game 7, if necessary.
Jon Gray, who had been considered by Rangers manager Bruce Bochy to start Game 4, entered Game 3 in relief and earned the win. Gray (1-0) tossed three shutout innings and allowed only one hit. He fanned three without issuing a walk.
"He's got a lot of confidence going. I'll start with: He's healthy right now. I think he's excited about that," Bochy said of Gray. "He's back to being the guy that we had earlier in the season and for the most part of this season.
"You know, it always can be a difficult transition going to the bullpen, but he's handled it so well."
Pfaadt (0-1) lasted 5 1/3 innings, and he yielded three runs on four hits. He struck out four and walked two.
The Diamondbacks had the first real scoring opportunity of the game in the second inning, when Christian Walker led off with a double. Tommy Pham lined a base hit into right field, and Walker ran through a stop sign from third base coach Tony Perezchica and was thrown out at the plate by Rangers right fielder Adolis Garcia.
Garcia left the game with left side tightness after flying out to end the top of the eighth.
The Walker play was a critical missed opportunity for the Diamondbacks.
"I feel like that was a huge momentum swing, you're looking at first and third, potentially no outs," Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. "Christian Walker owned it. He accepted it. He was accountable for his actions. And I know I will still consider him one of my best instinctual baserunners. I think it was just a missed read and then trying to make up for it."
The sellout crowd of 48,517 didn't have much to cheer about for seven innings, with the Rangers shutting down a Diamondbacks offense that scored 14 runs in the first two games of the series.
Arizona broke through in the eighth against the Rangers' Aroldis Chapman. Pinch hitter Emmanuel Rivera hit an opposite-field double to lead off the inning, and Geraldo Perdomo singled in Rivera.
Chapman limited the damage to that single run. He struck out Corbin Carroll, then got Ketel Marte to hit into an inning-ending double play that started with a sliding stop from Seager at shortstop.
Marte extended his postseason hitting streak to 19 games, the longest such streak in postseason history. He had one of six Arizona hits.
Jose Leclerc pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning to earn his fourth save of the postseason for the Rangers, who finished with five hits.
--Jose M. Romero, Field Level Media