PHOENIX -- “M-V-P” chants echoed throughout Chase Field in the second inning as Corey Seager delivered his third home run of the World Series. “Let’s go Rangers” cheers from the small, but mighty contingent of fans soon followed in the third as Marcus Semien launched his first homer of the postseason.
The Rangers’ dynamic middle-infield duo combined to go 4-for-10 with seven RBIs in Game 4 of the World Series on Tuesday night, propelling the Rangers to an 11-7 victory over the D-backs to take a 3-1 lead in the Fall Classic. They now stand just one win from the first World Series title in franchise history.
For most of the night, Chase Field and its 48,388 fans were silenced by the Rangers’ bats. But Phoenix was just the latest victim of Texas’ postseason success.
It was the Rangers’ 10th consecutive road win this postseason, good for the longest road win streak in a single postseason, as well as streaks that span multiple postseasons, surpassing the Yankees with nine from 1996-97 and 1937-42. They did it by sweeping a 99-win Rays team in St. Petersburg in the AL Wild Card Series and then also sweeping an AL-best 101-win Orioles team in the ALDS before defeating the defending World Series champion Astros in seven games in the ALCS, in which they won all four games in Houston.
The Rangers’ plus-37 run differential through the first 10 games on the road would be the highest in a single postseason, surpassing the 2018 Red Sox (plus-33). Texas players have been asked all postseason what has made them such a good team on the road. The players have no answer, but they enjoy silencing the home crowd regardless.
“Any chance that you can get to silence the crowd and hear a pin drop in their stadium, that excites you, that makes you go and that's an adrenaline rush,” said rookie third baseman Josh Jung, who went 3-for-5 with two runs scored in Game 4. “We've been able to do that a lot this postseason. And it's baseball. Anything can happen. But yeah, I think we take a little pride in doing that.”
What made Game 4 even more impressive is that the Rangers were able to do it without All-Star right fielder Adolis García, who was removed from the postseason roster with a moderate left oblique strain on Tuesday afternoon.
García, more than anybody, has thrived in hostile environments, most recently becoming the villain in Houston during the ALCS en route to winning MVP honors.
According to catcher Jonah Heim, García gave a “vulnerable and emotional” speech in the hitters’ meeting before the game, rallying the troops to do a little something extra.
The Rangers did that and more, rolling through the D-backs’ bullpen day with five runs in the second inning and another five in the third to keep the game out of reach even as Arizona tried to battle back late. Replacement right fielder Travis Jankowski filled in admirably with a 2-for-4 day at the plate with two RBIs.
“He's been our MVP all postseason,” Heim said of García. “What he said was emotional and it hit us right in the heart and gave us a little bit extra something to play for today. I think tonight was a good example of us rallying around him.
“Everyone’s important. Obviously, you never want to see a player of García’s caliber go down out of the lineup and miss the rest of the World Series. But we have to get on and still play the game, and I think Janko did a tremendous job of filling in for him and the lineup picked up the slack, man.”
In all best-of-seven postseason series, teams holding a 3-1 edge have gone on to win the series 78 of 92 times (85%). The most recent team to rally from 3-1 down was Seager’s 2020 Dodgers, against the Braves in the NLCS. The most recent to do so in the World Series was current Texas reliever Aroldis Chapman’s 2016 Cubs, who snapped their infamous title drought by winning Games 6 and 7 at Cleveland.
“You can't take anything for granted,” Seager said. “They're gonna scrap, they're gonna fight and they're gonna claw and they're never gonna give up. They showed that today when we got up early and they still grinded through some at-bats. We’ve got to come ready to play them.”
The Rangers are acutely aware that one game is still a big hurdle to cross, especially because Seager and Chapman were on two teams that overcame a 3-1 deficit. The players haven’t allowed themselves to envision a World Series victory just yet.
This franchise has been one win away -- one pitch away -- on two separate occasions in 2011. This 2023 squad was one win away from winning the AL West before instead embarking on a month-long trip through the postseason beginning with the Wild Card Series.
“We don't think of it like that,” Jung said of being one win away from a title. “We can’t make it more than it is. It's just a baseball game. We’ve got to get 27 outs tomorrow.”