By Field Level Media
5:16 AM UTC
November 1 – PHOENIX — Andrew Heaney, on his fourth team in three seasons, helped his latest club move to the brink of a World Series championship.
The left-hander gave the Rangers a solid start in Game 4 on Tuesday, and Texas rolled to an 11-7 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Rangers dominated, even though they let the Diamondbacks make it interesting in the late innings, to take a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. Texas is one victory away from its first World Series crown.
“It’s awesome,” Heaney said after earning a win with five innings of one-run ball. “You know, I’ve had a lot of ups and downs in my career, been on a bunch of different teams and never had this opportunity, obviously. I just want to win the game. I want us to win, and we did that, and we’re in obviously a great position and need to finish it off.”
The Rangers supported Heaney (1-0) by exploding for consecutive five-run innings in the second and third, turning the Halloween contest into a nightmare for the Diamondbacks and their fans.
Marcus Semien, who entered the game batting .197 in the postseason, hit a two-run triple in the second inning and a three-run homer in the third. Corey Seager struck again with his third two-run homer of the World Series, his sixth postseason long ball.
Jonah Heim added a solo home run in the eighth, his third blast of the postseason.
Texas won its 10th consecutive postseason road game, the longest winning streak of its kind in major league playoff history. Another road win in Game 5 on Wednesday would seal the title.
In a bullpen game for Arizona, the Rangers knocked around relievers Miguel Castro, Kyle Nelson and Luis Frias, all of whom allowed three runs without lasting one full inning. Castro yielded Semien’s triple in the second, Nelson served up Seager’s homer in the second and Frias gave up Travis Jankowski’s two-run double and Semien’s home run in the third.
Heaney yielded four hits, walked two and struck out three, leaving with a 10-1 lead. His effort helped the Texas bullpen get extra rest.
The Rangers lost two key players to injuries sustained in Game 3, as right fielder Adolis Garcia (strained oblique muscle) and Game 3 starting pitcher Max Scherzer (back spasms) were removed from the World Series roster. However, Texas didn’t miss the power-hitting Garcia, who had 20 hits, eight home runs and 22 RBIs in the postseason.
“I couldn’t be more proud of these guys, how they bounce back, how resilient they are, how they dealt with things, whether it’s losing streaks, whether it’s injuries,” Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said. “You can’t do anything about it. They’re gonna happen occasionally.”
The Diamondbacks scored their first run in the fourth on a sacrifice fly from Lourdes Gurriel Jr. They added four runs in the eighth on a sacrifice fly from Tommy Pham and Gurriel’s three-run home run, and they didn’t go quietly in the ninth, when Gabriel Moreno hit a two-run single off Texas closer Jose Leclerc.
Ketel Marte, the Diamondbacks’ best hitter in the postseason, had two hits to increase his postseason hitting streak to 20 games, the longest such streak in major league history. But Arizona is on the brink of defeat.
“You commit to the plan and the process for 27 outs,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “And you close the game up to 11-7, got the fans engaged, got a ton of energy, you got their closer in the game.
“There’s a lot of positives to draw upon, and I will, but we gotta tighten up the things we know that went wrong. And we’ll do that. And then we’ll come out tomorrow and we gotta go 1-0 tomorrow. We gotta be ready to play our finest game tomorrow and not worry about anything else.”
Diamondbacks opener Joe Mantiply (2-1) took the loss after allowing one run in 1 1/3 innings.
–Jose M. Romero, Field Level Media