After splitting the opening two games in Arlington, the Diamondbacks and Rangers headed west to resume the World Series in Arizona on Monday night. While there was still plenty of baseball to be played no matter what happened yesterday, at stake was a potentially crucial 2-1 lead for whoever came out victorious.
While it didn’t have quite the dramatics of Game 1, Game 3 similarly went down to the wire, and came out with the Rangers back in front in the series.
World Series Game 3
Texas Rangers 3, Arizona Diamondbacks 1
(Rangers lead series 2-1)
The Rangers struck first thanks to a wild swing of fortunes. In the bottom of the second, Christian Walker — who’s been struggling quite a bit this postseason — led off the inning with a double. In the next at-bat, Tommy Pham singled to Adolis García in right field. Walker should’ve held up, but he blew through a stop sign from the third base coach and was easily thrown out at home.
Max Scherzer and the Rangers then ended up getting out of the inning, thanks in part to a fortuitous bounce off his backside on an inning-ending grounder.
Their offense then took advantage of that and struck in the top of the third. With Nathaniel Lowe on after a lead-off double, Marcus Semien dropped in a single to get the Rangers on the board. In the very next at-bat, Corey Seager added to Texas’ lead by crushing a homer, continuing his impressive series.
While he made it through the third, Scherzer was visibly in pain as he threw some warm up pitches before the fourth, leading to his removal from the game. Jon Gray — who had been expected to start Game 4 for Texas — was then forced into use. After his exit, the Rangers said Scherzer was dealing with back tightness.
While his usage in this game was a bit unexpected, Gray made the most of it. Josh Sborz replaced him for the seventh inning, ending Gray’s day after three innings of scoreless baseball, allowing just one hit. Despite allowing a double to Tommy Pham and dealing with a brief injury concern himself, Sborz bounced back to throw a scoreless seventh inning.
The Rangers had another stressful injury moment in the top of the eighth. After flying out to end the inning, García was seen grabbing at his leg and did not come out to play the field in the bottom half of the inning.
Former Yankee Aroldis Chapman was called upon for Bruce Bochy and the Rangers for the bottom of the eighth. He very quickly ran into some trouble, allowing a double to pinch-hitter Emmanuel Rivera to start the frame. Geraldo Perdomo followed that with a single to get Arizona on the board. Chapman somehow managed to get out of it after, thanks in part to a ridiculous double play started by Seager on a scorched grounder by Ketel Marte.
After Texas failed to add to their lead in the top of the ninth, they turned it over to José Leclerc to try and close things out in the bottom of the ninth. Leclerc quickly fell behind 3-0 against Gabriel Moreno, only to get him to ground out after a very generous strike two call. (Although to be fair, one of the balls should’ve been a strike.) The next two outs were a bit less dramatic as Leclerc recorded two strikeouts to finish things off.
Now the focus turns to Game 4, where the Rangers have a bit of a pitching question. However, Arizona is in a bit of a similar situation. In Game 4 of the NLCS, they used Joe Mantiply to start as part of a bullpen game, and they’re likely going to do something similar, with maybe some different names. Either way, it’ll be fascinating to see how both things handle that on such a big stage.