HOUSTON (KTRK) — The Astros and Rangers battled for the American League West title for 162 games, each finishing with 90 wins, with Houston winning the division on the final day of the season due to a better head-to-head record.
The Lone Star State rivals are knotted again after six games of the ALCS, with one game remaining to determine a World Series berth.
The Rangers trounced the Astros, 9-2, in Game 6 of the ALCS on Sunday night at Minute Maid Park, thanks to home runs from Mitch Garver and Jonah Heim, as well as a grand slam from Adolis Garca, and tied the series at three games apiece.
“You tip your hat to them,” said Astros third baseman Alex Bregman. “They threw the ball exceptionally well.” Obviously, I thought we didn’t accomplish enough offensively tonight. But Game 7 is tomorrow. It’s either win or go home. “I know everyone in here is looking forward to tomorrow.”
The game was considerably closer than the final score indicated, with the Astros leading by two runs and loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the eighth. To hush the crowd, Rangers reliever José Leclerc, who gave up Jose Altuve’s ninth-inning go-ahead homer in Game 5, got Mauricio Dubón to line out and struck out pinch-hitter Jon Singleton.
“I was trying to bring the run in, trying to make something happen,” Dubón was quoted as saying. “I failed because I didn’t have the right plan at the time.” It was obvious.”
The Astros are slicing the ball.In three ALCS home games, he hit 177/.259/.281 with three home runs, including going 2-for-17 with runners in scoring position. In Game 6, they went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left nine men on base.
“It’s disappointing,” remarked manager Dusty Baker. “The name of the game is opportunities, and then you hope you follow through.” We had some activity in the eighth inning, especially with Duby up there; this kid has been coming through all year, and you know he’s going to make contact. As I already stated, some days you just don’t get it done.”
In the ninth, the Rangers scored five runs, including a grand slam by Garca, who had struck out in his previous four at-bats. Garca was booed throughout Game 6 after being hit by a pitch in Game 5 by Astros reliever Bryan Abreu, resulting in a bench-clearing altercation. Abreu threw one inning while appealing a two-game suspension imposed by MLB, and he may be unavailable for Game 7.
“That could be a huge blow,” Baker predicted. “I considered using him [for] two innings today if the decision had been made.” But you’d hate for the punishment and suspension to be extended past tomorrow, because then I wouldn’t have had Abreu tomorrow if he’d gone two innings.”
The home team has lost every game in the series, a trend the Astros will need to break in Game 7 on Monday, the largest baseball game in Texas history, if they are to advance to the World Series for the fourth time in five years and the third time in a row. In the winner-take-all game, the Astros will send Cristian Javier to the mound.
The only other time the home team lost every game in a seven-game series occurred in the 2019 World Series, when the Astros lost four games to the Nationals at Minute Maid Park, including Games 6 and 7. The Astros have now lost 21 of their previous 28 home games.
“We win tomorrow and everybody will forget about it,” Dubón went on to say. “We’ve got one more game to prove it.”
Teams who have won Game 6 to force a Game 7 have won that winner-take-all match 33 of 59 times (56 percent) in all best-of-seven postseason series. In winner-take-all postseason games, teams playing in their home ballparks are only 62-63 all-time, including 30-27 in best-of-seven series.
Astros pitcher Framber Valdez went 0-3 with a 9.00 ERA in three postseason appearances this year, allowing three runs in five innings on two swings of the bat. In the second, Garver blasted a solo shot to right field, then Heim barely cleared the right-field wall in the fourth for a two-run homer that put Texas up 3-1.
“I think seven out of their nine runs scored were on homers,” Baker noted at the time. “You’ve got to keep them in the ballpark.” And you have to keep them out of key innings like their ninth. They’re capable of having a big inning, but the more you can prevent that and limit the innings to low-run-scored innings, the greater your chances of winning.”
Trending Search Term: Rangers Vs Astros