Texas Rangers win to force Game 7 of ALCS

By Sports Desk October 22, 2023

The Texas Rangers hit three home runs, including a grand slam from Adolis Garcia, to back another successful post-season start from Nathan Eovaldi and force a deciding Game 7 of the American League Championship Series with Sunday's 9-2 victory over the Houston Astros.

Jonah Heim and Mitch Garver also homered to help Texas avoid elimination and move to 7-0 on the road during these playoffs. The Rangers also bounced back from a tough 5-4 loss in Friday's Game 5, when they took a 4-2 lead into the ninth inning but gave up a go-ahead three-run homer to Houston's Jose Altuve.

Texas will again be on the road in Monday's Game 7, when it will send three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer to the mound against the Astros' Cristian Javier.

Jose Leclerc, who surrendered Altuve's dramatic Game 5 blast, rebounded by pitching out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth inning before the Rangers broke things open with a five-run ninth highlighted by Garcia's slam.

Eovaldi continued his playoff heroics by holding the Astros to two runs over 6 1/3 innings. The 2023 All-Star has now won all four of his starts while pitching to a 2.42 ERA this post-season.

Heim began Texas' power barrage with an opposite-field, two-run homer off Astros starter Framber Valdez in the fourth inning that snapped a 1-1 tie, and Eovaldi made the lead hold up by not allowing a hit after Yordan Alvarez's RBI single in the first until Houston broke through in the sixth.

Alvarez and Jose Abreu broke the string with consecutive singles and Mauricio Dubon later brought home Alvarez with a sacrifice fly to cut the Astros' deficit to 3-2.

Garver's RBI double in the top of the eighth pushed the Rangers' lead back to two, but Houston threatened in their half by loading the bases with one out on a pair of walks and an Abreu single.

Leclerc got Dubon to line out to shortstop Corey Seager, however, before striking out pinch-hitter Jon Singleton to keep the score 4-2. 

The Rangers then loaded the bases in the ninth on a walk, an error and a Marcus Semien single. After Houston reliever Ryne Stanek hit Seager to force in a run, Garcia - who struck out in his four previous plate appearances - launched a pitch over the wall in left to stake Texas to an insurmountable 9-2 lead.

Houston opened the scoring in the first when Altuve singled, stole second and came home on Alvarez's base hit, but the lead was short-lived when Garver homered off Valdez in the second for his first of three hits on the night.

Valdez lasted five innings and allowed three runs while striking out six. 

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