ARLINGTON, Texas — Adolis García took a few steps while watching the ball before tossing his bat aside after another big swing this postseason. This one won an extended Game 1 of the World Series for the Texas Rangers.
Once his drive cleared the right-field wall in the bottom of the 11th, two innings after Corey Seager’s tying two-run homer, García thrust his right arm high into the air as he started a trot around the bases that ended with him being mobbed at home plate — and a 6-5 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks to start this surprise World Series of wild-card teams Friday night.
“He’s on another planet,” Rangers rookie Josh Jung said. “Every time he steps into the box it’s like, grab your popcorn. … I have no words. It’s just like, wow.”
Miguel Castro entered to face García with one out, and the Cuban slugger known as El Bombi drove a 3-1 sinker the other way into the second row of seats beyond a leaping Corbin Carroll. It was García’s second RBI of the game, setting a record for most in one postseason with 22.
García has homered in five consecutive games, tied for the second-longest streak in postseason history, and he delivered the first walk-off homer in the World Series since Max Muncy connected leading off the 18th inning of Game 3 for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2018 against Boston and Nathan Eovaldi — who started for the Rangers in this one.
“It was an exciting moment,” García said. “I was just looking to the dugout, looking at all my (happy) teammates.”
García, the AL Championship Series MVP, also had an RBI single in the first following rookie Evan Carter’s run-scoring double. He finished with three hits and reached base five times.
He was hit on the left hand by a 92 mph fastball in the ninth but shook it off and promptly stole second base.
“I got lucky that it’s nothing worse,” García said.
In the first extra-inning game of this postseason, Texas became the first team to win a World Series game when trailing by multiple runs in the ninth since the 2015 Kansas City Royals in their clinching Game 5 against the New York Mets.
Game 2 is Saturday night in Texas, with Merrill Kelly scheduled to pitch for Arizona against Jordan Montgomery.
Seager tied it in the ninth when he drove closer Paul Sewald’s fastball deep into the right-field stands with one out after the inning began with No. 9 hitter Leody Taveras drawing a walk.
“Everyone just started jumping for joy,” García said. “We were able to exhale.”
Normally pretty stoic, Seager had another emphatic show of emotion this postseason, immediately turning and yelling toward the dugout with the ball headed for the seats. He thrust both arms into the air when he rounded first base.
“He might have turned it up a notch, to be honest. He saved us there,” Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said. “You can see it in him. He gets everybody fired up.”
José Leclerc retired all six batters he faced for the win, and five Texas relievers combined for 6 1/3 scoreless innings.
The blown save for Sewald, first in seven chances this postseason, was the first glaring blip for a Diamondbacks bullpen that’s been brilliant in October.
“It’s frustrating. This is how the game goes sometimes. And we’ve got to find a way to be resilient and adaptable and come out with a clean mind and do our best,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. “I have every reason to believe we will. We’ve done it a lot this year.”
Game 1 of the World Series went to extra innings for the second year in a row — which had never happened. Unlike the regular season, there are no automatic runners placed at second base to start extra innings in the postseason.
Arizona had a 4-3 lead after Tommy Pham hit a tiebreaking homer leading off the fourth. An inning later, Ketel Marte’s RBI double matched a record by stretching his postseason hitting streak to 17 games. Marte is the only player to get a hit in each of his first 17 postseason games.
Two seasons after both teams lost more than 100 games, the Diamondbacks and Rangers are matched up in the third all-wild card World Series — and first since 2014.
Both teams got this far after having to win Games 6 and 7 of their respective League Championship Series on the road, which had never happened in both LCS matchups since those series expanded to a best-of-seven format in 1985.
“It’s going to be a really good series,” García said.
Kelly, a 35-year-old right-hander, is 2-1 with a 2.65 ERA in three postseason starts.
Montgomery pitches for the Rangers on normal rest after the left-hander threw 2 1/3 innings Monday in relief to win Game 7 of the ALCS against Houston. The 30-year-old trade-deadline acquisition and pending free agent is 3-0 with a 2.16 ERA this postseason.