Alden GonzalezESPN Editor5 minute reading
PHOENIX – Adolis Garcia isn’t usually one to give speeches, but the mood hit him Tuesday afternoon, moments after learning that a strain in his obliques would end his dominant playoff run prematurely. playoffs. He gathered his Texas Rangers teammates in the visitors’ locker room at Chase Field and told them he loved them. He told them to win two more games and win this franchise’s first World Series championship, in his honor. And he told them he was confident they would succeed.
“He was vulnerable,” Rangers shortstop Corey Seager said after helping spark an 11-7 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks in Game 4. “It’s hard to do. Being able to go in, knowing the headspace he’s in, not being able to “To help us while contributing, it’s a hard thing to do. He did a great job.”
His teammates did even better.
Facing a series of Arizona Diamondbacks relievers, the Rangers scored 10 runs before the end of the third inning, riding the early onslaught, along with five innings of one-run ball from Andrew Heaney, for a victory that seemed much more lopsided than the final score indicated. The Rangers scored five runs each in the second and third innings, all with two outs, and earned their 10th straight road victory in this postseason.
Once the game was over, much of their attention was on Garcia, the American League Championship Series MVP who then homered to seal a dramatic come-from-behind victory in Game 1 of the series worldwide. A violent swing that produced a flyout to end the top of the eighth inning of Game 3 on Monday caused his left side to tighten, prompting Garcia to exit the game and leave the stadium for additional testing. He showed up early the next day and underwent a series of intensive treatments, then swung around the batting cage, doing his best to avoid what already seemed inevitable.
“I know he did everything he could,” Rangers center fielder Leody Taveras said in Spanish. “Even when he tried, he knew he couldn’t go. But he tried anyway because he was just looking for a way.”
Part of Garcia’s pregame message centered on the team’s penchant for overcoming injuries. The number of Rangers players who spent time on the injured list during the regular season includes six appearances on their roster (Seager, Taveras, Jonah Heim, Mitch Garver, Josh Jung and even Garcia himself), two key members of their rotation (Nathan Eovaldi and Jon Gray) and two high-leverage relievers (Josh Sborz and Jose Leclerc). Jacob deGrom, who signed a lucrative free agent contract to be their ace, was lost for the year to Tommy John surgery. Max Scherzer, acquired midseason to lead them to the title, injured his shoulder in late September and didn’t return until the ALCS, and he suffered back spasms again on Monday.
Garcia, his teammates say, was devastated by his injury.
It was obvious when he spoke.
“I can’t imagine going through a season, putting up the numbers that he did, having incredible records in the postseason and not being able to get on the field to finish the job,” said Texas reserve outfielder Travis Jankowski .
“Yes, it was emotional,” he said. “Obviously, you never want to see a guy like Adolis go down. He was our MVP all playoffs. What he said was emotional, and I think it hit us right in the heart and gave us a little lesson on something to play today.” It’s hard to see someone show so much emotion. You know he wants to be with us. I think tonight was a good example of us rallying around him. “
Texas infielder Marcus Semien contributed a two-run triple in the second inning of Game 4 and a three-run homer in the third. Seager unleashed a 431-foot home run against a wall beyond the right-center field fence. And Jankowski – the speedy journeyman who replaced Garcia in right field – contributed a two-run double.
The Rangers became the first team in postseason history to score more than five runs with two outs in consecutive innings and the first to record a 10-run game in the Division Series, Championship Series and World Series . Following a devastating blow, with Garcia and Scherzer removed from its roster, Texas became the third team in World Series history to score 10 or more runs in the first three innings of a game.
“They felt bad for Doli,” Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said. “We all did it. But you have to move forward. You have to focus on the future. That’s what we did.”
A sold-out crowd at Chase Field remained silent at first, but continued to look for moments to get excited. One came in the bottom of the fourth, with runners on second and third and two outs, but Heaney held the D-backs to just one run. Another came in the eighth, when Lourdes Gurriel Jr.’s three-run homer highlighted a four-run inning. And the last one came in the ninth, when Rangers were forced to bring in their closer, Leclerc, for the final moments of the contest. But the outcome had long been decided.
The Rangers, with a 3-1 lead in the Series, are one win away from the first title in this franchise’s 62-year history.
“This is where we want to be,” Semien said. “It’s a one-game-at-a-time mentality. We rest a little bit tonight and understand that we have to focus on what we need to do to win the game, and that’s it. We win the game, we get a ring, of course.
“But you have to think about the process of getting there: good defense, good pitching, timely hitting, RBIs with two outs. Those things we’ve done the last two nights, we have to continue.”