Rangers celebrate first World Series title in franchise history (1:03)
The Rangers celebrate after Josh Sborz strikes out Ketel Marte to secure their first ever World Series victory. (1:03)
Alden Gonzalez, ESPN Staff WriterNov 1, 2023, 11:01 PM ET
- ESPN baseball reporter. Covered the L.A. Rams for ESPN from 2016 to 2018 and the L.A. Angels for MLB.com from 2012 to 2016.
PHOENIX — The Texas Rangers spent seven months of this season terrorizing opponents with a menacing offense that feasted on home runs and hardly ever let up. The first night of November showcased the other aspects that make them dominant — gritty starting pitching, sound defense and a lineup versatile enough to manufacture runs when needed.
It sealed them a title.
The Rangers defeated the upstart, underdog Arizona Diamondbacks in front of a sold-out Chase Field crowd 5-0 in Game 5 of the World Series on Wednesday, clinching the first championship in the 63-year history of their franchise. Nathan Eovaldi continually weaved out of trouble, somehow matching a dominant Zac Gallen through six scoreless innings. The Rangers’ offense finally came through late, ending Gallen’s no-hit bid and producing a run in the seventh and adding four runs in the ninth.
The greatest postseason in Rangers history finished with an 11th consecutive road victory. No team had ever won more than eight in a row in the playoffs.
Corey Seager was voted World Series MVP, becoming the fourth player all time to win the honor twice since the award was first given out in 1955. Seager, who also won it in 2020 with the Los Angeles Dodgers, joined Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson and Reggie Jackson.
The Rangers are the third team in baseball history to win the World Series within two seasons of losing 100-plus 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 Semien, whose two-run home run in the ninth sealed the Rangers’ victory. “Gallen was unbelievable tonight. But we came through. Once Corey got the first hit, everybody kind of woke up. Pitching was unbelievable.”
Texas lost 102 games in 2021 and responded by spending a combined $500 million on Seager and the following offseason. A year later, the Rangers splurged on their rotation — signing Jacob deGrom, Eovaldi and Andrew Heaney — and plucked three-time champion Bruce Bochy out of retirement to be 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 steadying presence proved invaluable for a team that continually faced adversity.
The Rangers were hit with a litany of injuries throughout their lineup and all over their pitching staff as the season progressed. Inconsistency plagued them late. The Rangers lost eight consecutive games near the middle of August and six of their first seven contests at the start of September. They dropped the regular-season finale in Seattle and thus gave away the American League West to the Houston Astros, instead forced to play in the wild-card round with a short-handed bullpen.
Then their perseverance showed.
The Rangers answered by winning seven consecutive postseason games, eliminating the 99-win Tampa Bay Rays and the 101-win Baltimore Orioles and taking a 2-0 lead on 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, clinching their first pennant since the World Series disappointment of 2011.
When they trailed the Diamondbacks by two runs in the ninth inning of Game 1 of the World Series, they battled back, tying the score on a home run from Seager and, in extras, a walk-off home run from Adolis Garcia. And when they lost Max Scherzer (back spasms) and Garcia (oblique strain) in Game 3, they answered with one of their most dominant performances in Game 4, scoring 10 runs before the end of the third inning, all of them with two outs.
Game 5 showcased more of their moxie. The Diamondbacks put at least one baserunner on in each of the first five innings, but Eovaldi continually worked out of jams, including a bases-loaded one in the fifth, keeping the game scoreless until the Rangers’ offense finally broke through against Gallen in the seventh. Seager led off with a single through a vacant third base. Evan Carter, the rookie sensation, followed with a double to right field. And Mitch Garver singled up the middle, putting the Rangers on the board.
“I kind of joked around: I don’t know how many rabbits I have in my hat,” said Eovaldi, who became the first pitcher to win four road starts in a single postseason. “I didn’t really do a great job tonight in attacking the zone. But our defense, incredible again.”
The Rangers broke the game open with four runs in the ninth. Jonah Heim singled to center field on a ball that snuck under the glove of Alek Thomas, scoring two runs, and Semien followed with a two-run homer — a fitting end to the Rangers’ stirring rise to a championship.