Texas Rangers pitcher Nathan Eovaldi unleashed playoff mode through four starts leading up to the 2023 World Series, but struggled kicking off the winner-take-all battle against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday night.

Eovaldi, who went 4-0 with a 2.42 ERA through the American League Wild Card, Division Series and Championship Series, couldn’t continue the momentum. Arizona scored five runs through 4 2/3 innings while striking out eight times against Eovaldi, although the rally proved meaningless in Texas’ thrilling 6-5 Game 1 victory.

“That third inning they put together some good at-bats, you know, soft contact, but they used their speed, which they do,” Eovaldi told reporters postgame, per Bally Sports video. “… It’s frustrating to me, especially once the offense was able to give me two runs on the board and I turn around and give it right back up. And then we answer back, tie it up at 3-3 and I did the same thing. That’s just those little things that are in my control that I gotta do a better job of executing when we’re ahead.”

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The Rangers struck first, giving Eovaldi two runs of support in the first inning, but the right-hander couldn’t muster up any momentum. Eovaldi tossed back-to-back scoreless innings to start, but couldn’t hold on, failing to surpass the fifth-inning mark for the first time this postseason.

In the end, the Rangers backed Eovaldi and erased the 33-year-old’s rough performance with a memorable extra-inning comeback.

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The Rangers, who’ve made just two World Series appearances, have a chance to win the organization’s first-ever Fall Classic title. Needless to say, the stakes are high for one of Major League Baseball’s most thrilling squads.

“Everyone’s aware of how significant this is for us and we’re doing our best to prove them right,” Eovalid told MLB Network before Saturday night’s Game 2.

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Featured image via Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports Images