PHOENIX (AP) — Christian Walker got a late break as he waited to see if Tommy Pham's liner would drop in right field.
Wanting to make up ground, Walker took one last look at third base coach Tony Perezchica and put his head down, hoping to make up time with a tight turn around the bag.
Perezchica changed his mind and put up a stop sign. Walker never saw it and Adolis García made him pay.
In position to score the first run in Game 3 of the World Series, Walker instead ran into a costly out in the second inning of the Arizona Diamondbacks’ 3-1 loss to the Texas Rangers on Monday night.
“The last time I saw him, he was waving and I never saw the stop sign,” Walker said. “Just probably trying to do too much and should have been more aware.”
Walker — 3 for 31 since the start of the NL Championship Series entering Game 3 — was encouraged by a standing ovation when he came to bat and answered with Arizona's first hit off Max Scherzer. His double off the base of the wall in right-center had the Diamondbacks primed to snap a scoreless tie, especially when Pham followed with a single to right.
Walker hesitated to see if García would catch the ball before taking off. García got to the ball quickly and made a one-hop throw to catcher Jonah Heim, beating Walker by several steps.
Garcia’s throw of 96.4 mph was the second-fastest tracked outfield assist directly home in the postseason under Statcast (2015), behind only the 97.4 mph throw by Houston’s Marwin González in Game 1 of the 2017 ALCS.
“Was it a pivotal moment in the game? Absolutely,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “We talk about making statements and I'm not going to lie, it hurt a little bit.”
Instead of runners on first and third with no outs, Arizona had a runner on second with one out. Two batters later, Alek Thomas grounded a ball off Scherzer's right elbow, and Rangers third baseman Josh Jung barehanded the deflection, beating Thomas by a step at first to end the inning.
Texas scored three runs off Brandon Pfaadt the next inning, two on Corey Seager's no-doubt homer to right. Texas leads the series 2-1 with Game 4 on Tuesday in Arizona.
“It’s the World Series and we want to win so bad, but still letting the game come to us,” Walker said. “I think that’s something that makes us dangerous.”
Walker led the Diamondbacks with 33 homers during the regular season, but he has struggled at the plate during the postseason. He was hitting .167 with a homer and seven RBIs in 14 games before the double off Scherzer.
Walker finished 1 for 4 in Game 3.
The 2022 Gold Glove winner has been stellar at first base in the postseason, including a barehanded grab after a hard grounder by Heim hit first base in Game 2.
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