Merrill Kelly hushed Adolis García and Texas Rangers in Game 2, and the Arizona Diamondbacks are headed back to Phoenix having taken over home-field advantage for the rest of the World Series.
Kelly pitched three-hit ball over seven innings and the Diamondbacks won 9-1 Saturday night, knotting the series at a game each.
Kelly struck out nine, walked none and went to just one three-ball count, allowing his only run on Mitch Garver’s leadoff homer in the fifth.
Game 3 is Monday night at Arizona, where the D-backs will try to do something no other team has done in its home ballpark this postseason — beat Texas. The Rangers have already matched a postseason record by winning their first eight road games.
Max Scherzer is set to start Game 3 for Texas. The Rangers will be the third team the three-time Cy Young Award winner has pitched for in a Fall Classic.
Scherzer had missed more than a month because of a muscle strain in his shoulder before starting twice in the AL Championship Series against the Houston Astros. He pitched in the pennant-clinching Game 7 last Monday, exiting with the lead after allowing two runs on 44 pitches over 2 2/3 innings.
The Rangers are favorites to win the World Series at -134 odds, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
ONE HOT KETEL
Ketel Marte has the longest hitting streak in postseason history at 18 games after a two-run single in the eighth inning of Game 2.
The Diamondbacks’ switch-hitting second baseman was hitless his first four at-bats Saturday night before lining a two-out single to center off reliever Martín Pérez.
Marte already had the MLB record for the longest hitting streak to start a postseason career at 17 games. The Game 2 hit sent him past Derek Jerek and Hank Bauer of the New York Yankees and Boston’s Manny Ramirez for the longest overall streak.
NOT QUITE THE FULL MONTY
Jordan Montgomery had a gritty performance in his first World Series start for the Rangers. The left-hander just wasn’t at his best and suffered his first postseason loss.
He gave up four runs and didn’t have a single strikeout while pitching into the seventh inning Game 2.
Montgomery had pitched 2 1/3 innings in relief to win the deciding Game 7 in the AL Championship Series. But five days later, his sinker velocity was down from his season average, as was the spin on his curveball. Montgomery got only two swing-and-misses.
“He felt good,” Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said. “He was in a good place as far as pitch count, like I said. I don’t know how much it affected him. But he’s not saying it did.”
IF YOU BUILD IT
Jeff Banister envisioned being part of a World Series at Globe Life Field even before ground was broken for construction of the retractable-roof stadium that is the home of the Texas Rangers.
That dream is now being realized. It’s just happening in a different role than expected for the former Rangers manager who is now the Diamondbacks’ bench coach.
He was the Texas manager from 2015-18, when the team announced plans for a new stadium and began building it. But he was fired long before the Rangers played a game there.
PLAYOFF FORMAT CRITICISM
After watching Atlanta, Baltimore and the Los Angeles Dodgers lose in the Division Series following 100-win seasons, Major League Baseball will examine its postseason format but isn’t rushing to make changes.
MLB expanded the playoffs from 10 teams to 12 for the 2022 season as part of a five-year collective bargaining agreement with the players’ association. Arizona and Texas advanced to the third all-wild card World Series, and the Diamondbacks with 84 wins could have the second-fewest for a champion over a non-shortened season.
“It will at least motivate a conversation about whether we have it right,” baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said before the World Series opener. “I’m sure that conversation will take place (after) the postseason. Enough has been written and said that we have to think about it and talk about it. But again, my own view is that the format served us pretty well.”
Rangers manager Bruce Bochy is trying for his fourth World Series title after winning with San Francisco in 2010, 2012 and 2014. Four championships would tie Walter Alston and Joe Torre for fourth-most behind Joe McCarthy and Casey Stengel (seven each) and Connie Mack (five).
Bochy is tied at three with John McGraw, Miler Huggins, Sparky Anderson and Tony La Russa.
Every other manager with three or more is in the Hall of Fame.
HOW TO WATCH
The World Series will be broadcast on Fox and Fox Deportes, with first pitch for all games set at 8:03 p.m. EDT.
WORLD SERIES SCHEDULE
Game 3: Monday, Oct. 30 at Arizona, 8:03 p.m. EDT
Game 4: Tuesday, Oct. 31 at Arizona, 8:03 p.m. EDT
Game 5: Wednesday, Nov. 1 at Arizona, 8:03 p.m. EDT
Game 6: Friday, Nov. 3 at Texas, 8:03 p.m. EDT(asterisk)
Game 7: Saturday, Nov. 4 at Texas, 8:03 p.m. EDT(asterisk)