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USATSI

Game 1 of the 2023 World Series ended up with the Rangers coming back to defeat the Diamondbacks 6-5 in 11 innings. So much happened in there, though, that the score doesn't come close to doing the story justice. One of the many items worth covering in the story would be one area where the Rangers do boast a major advantage in this series: Power. 

The game was 5-3 Diamondbacks heading to the ninth inning. Rangers shortstop Corey Seager came up with a runner on first and promptly tied the game: 

And then in the 11th, instead of needing to string several hits together, Rangers right fielder Adolis García just parked one in the right-field seats and sent everyone home in a frenzy. 

We'll get to the bigger picture in a second. Let's first admire the hell out of Mr. García right now. 

He became the first player since Kirk Gibson in 1988 to hit a walk-off homer in Game 1 of the World Series and we all remember that one. García's solo home run was his second RBI of the game, and he set the record for the most RBI in a single postseason with 22. This was the Rangers' 13th game this postseason. He's also now homered in five straight games, putting him one behind 2015 Daniel Murphy for the all-time record (Giancarlo Stanton in 2020, George Springer in 2017-18 and Carlos Beltrán in 2004 also homered in five straight playoff games). 

Keep in mind that García hit what looked to be a series-altering homer in Game 5 of the ALCS and was later hit by a pitch before the Rangers blew the game. Then García was booed all game in Game 6 by the Houston crowd and struck out his first four times up. He then hit a grand slam to put the game away. He also homered in Game 7 and won ALCS MVP. Now he's the hero of Game 1. 

What a run. 

The broad view here, though, is the Rangers have so much more power as a group than the Diamondbacks and that was on display in this one. 

The Diamondbacks were "small ball" kings in this one. They stole four bases. They laid down a sacrifice bunt. Tommy Pham hit their lone home run and he even said in a dugout interview afterward that they are a Small-Ball Team. 

They are. They laid down 36 sac bunts in the regular season and that led the majors. They stole 166 bases, which ranked second. Their 166 home runs ranked 22nd of 30 teams. 

The Rangers are the inverse. They ranked 22nd in something, but it wasn't homers. They were 22nd in sac bunts with just 10 all year. They were 27th in the majors in stolen bases. They were also fourth in home runs with 233. 

The Rangers weren't a top-heavy home run team. No one hit 40, but 10 players hit at least 10. They actually had seven players with at least 17 homers. Two topped 30. Guess who?

That's right. García led the team with 39 while Seager had 33 in just 119 games. 

It'll be quite the story to watch unfold as the World Series continues. 

The D-backs had the lead thanks in part to small ball. After two singles in the third, a sac bunt moved the runners to second and third before Corbin Carroll drove both runners home. It was a triple, of course, so they would have scored without the sac bunt, in theory. We can't be sure if Carroll would've been pitched differently if the runners hadn't been moved up, though, and it worked. The stolen bases put a bunch of pressure on the Rangers' defense and it's possible that's something that looms large this series when Arizona is on offense, too. 

The Diamondbacks did their thing. They scored five runs in a game started by Nathan Eovaldi. That's a success overall. They handed the ball to their late-inning relievers with a lead and they hadn't yet lost a game where that happened in the playoffs. Kevin Ginkel and Paul Sewald hadn't given up a single run between them yet. 

That Rangers power, though, was the difference in the end. Power can lie dormant for innings upon innings, but when it strikes, it completely changes the complexion of the game. It might be what shifts the World Series, too. 

The Diamondbacks are a small-ball team. The Rangers are a power team. Power took Game 1.