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PHILADELPHIA -- Corbin Carroll was searching for the words, and he couldn't find them. The Arizona Diamondbacks -- the 84-win, negative-run-differential, underdog-at-all-turns Diamondbacks -- were going to the World Series. Minutes earlier, they had vanquished the Phillies, a 4-2 undressing that exposed the flaws of Philadelphia and highlighted the brilliance of Arizona. And Carroll, the Diamondbacks' indomitable 23-year-old rookie, the sun around which their world turns, was considering how they had done it.

"I don't even know if there is an explanation," Carroll said. "It's just magic."

Doubted and dismissed when baseball's postseason began and throughout October -- not the standard-level doubts and dismissals but real ones that reflected who they had been -- the Diamondbacks have transformed into something different altogether.

After winning Game 7 of the National League Championship Series on Tuesday, their second victory in two days at the hellscape for visiting teams that is Citizens Bank Park, they set up perhaps the most improbable World Series in baseball history, a showdown with the similarly surprising Rangers that begins Friday night in Arlington, Texas.

The Phillies thought they were the ones with the magic. They hadn't lost at home this October until the Diamondbacks strode into the Bank and robbed Philadelphia's opportunity at a second consecutive World Series appearance.

That much is true. The Diamondbacks, who finished 16 games back of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West, allowed 15 more runs than they scored during the regular season, the second-worst mark ever for an eventual World Series participant, behind the 1987 Minnesota Twins, whose run differential was minus-20.

Game 1 of the World Series is Friday on ESPN 102.3/AM 1000 KSOO.

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