The Texas Rangers became the first team ever to go 11-0 on the road in the postseason as they wrapped up their first ever World Series title with a 5-0 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks in Game 5.
Texas rode a strong start from Nathan Eovaldi in a close game before an explosive ninth inning saw them pull away from their opponents to take the Fall Classic 4-1.
After a high-scoring Game 4, a pitcher’s duel in the desert commenced in Game 5 as Texas Rangers starter Nathan Eovaldi and Arizona’s Zac Gallen traded zeros throughout the first six innings of the contest.
Despite giving up five walks, Eovaldi’s ability to get out of trouble served him well and he finished with six scoreless innings.
The Diamondbacks had runners on base in the first five innings without scoring, as Eovaldi induced ground ball after ground ball to grind his way out of a jam.
The game was scoreless entering the seventh inning before a Corey Seager single, an Evan Carter double and a Mitch Garver single broke the deadlock and knocked Arizona starter Gallen out of the game.
Kevin Ginkel then negotiated through a tricky spot and pitched a scoreless inning to take the game to the top of the ninth at 1-0.
Paul Sewald blew the save in Game 1 as Arizona fell to a 6-5 defeat and was looking for redemption when he came into pitch in the crucial ninth inning in this Game 5 clash.
The relief pitcher gave up singles to Josh Jung and Nathaniel Lowe to open the inning before a Jonah Heim single was missed by Arizona centre fielder Alek Thomas and rolled to the wall, allowing both runs to score.
Arizona’s task had become difficult and was only about to get harder as Marcus Semien stepped up to the plate.
In another series the second baseman would have been a shoo-in for the MVP, but the efforts of fellow middle infielder Corey Seager saw him miss out.
Semien smashed a two-run homer to cap the Rangers’ explosive ninth-inning and all but secure their victory.
Sewald’s efforts were symptomatic of that of Arizona’s relief pitchers, who struggled throughout the series, from their collapse in Game 1 to the disappointment of giving up 11 runs in Game 4’s bullpen game.
Despite their disappointing ninth-inning performance from the bullpen, Arizona’s pitchers had kept them in Game 5 for much of the matchup and received no run support in return.
The Diamondbacks stranded 11 runners on base and went 0-9 with runners in a scoring position.
Arizona had runners on base in each of the first five innings, with Eovaldi escaping a bases-loaded jam in the fifth.
Chances came and went for an Arizona lineup that could not manage to find a timely hit to get on the board.
Number two hitter Kete Marte walked three times but Gabriel Moreno, Christian Walker and Tommy Pham went a collective 1-9 behind him in the lineup.
The game brought back memories of Game 3 in which the D-Backs could only manage one run.
World Series often come down to fine margins and Arizona’s inability to produce big hits in tight spots, coupled with the struggles of their bullpen were the key reasons for their loss.
The Texas Rangers became just the third team in history to win the World Series within two seasons of losing 100-plus games, alongside the 1969 New York Mets and 1914 Boston Braves.
It seemed fitting that their big free agent signings had such a big impact on the Fall Classic, with middle infielders Marcus Semien and Corey Seager both legitimate MVP contenders and pitchers Nathan Eovaldi and Andrew Heaney both made big contributions.
Manager Bruce Bochy was coaxed from retirement to manage this team and became the sixth manager to win four or more World Series in the process.
With the imminent free agency battle to sign Shohei Ohtani, Texas have shown that spending big can have impressive results.
The Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers are the early co-favorites to win the 2024 World Series at +650.