The Texas Rangers have a lot of momentum. They are just two steps away from reaching the World Series for the first time in 12 years since the 2011 season.
Texas defeated the Houston Astros, 5-4, in Game 2 of the best-of-seven American League Championship Series on Sunday at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas, USA. The win extends their postseason winning streak to seven games, having not lost a game since the first round of the wild-card series against the Tampa Bay Rays on April 3.
Houston bounces back from six-game win streak vs. Texas
Texas, which has won six straight games this postseason, has right-handed hitter Robbie Grossman batting third against left-handed starter Framber Valdez.
Houston, who failed to score a single run on five hits in their last game, made some major changes to their batting order. Kyle Tucker was placed in the top of the order, and shift-hitter Michael Brantley started in place of Mauricio Duvon.
Texas went with Marcus Semien (second base), Corey Seager (shortstop), Grossman (left field), Adolis Garcia (right field), Mitch Garber (designated hitter), Jonah Heim (catcher), Nathaniel Lowe (first base), Josh Young (third base), Leodis Taveras (center field), and starting pitcher Nathan Ivoldi.
Houston countered with Jose Altuve (second base), Alex Bregman (third base), Tucker (right field), Jordan Alvarez (designated hitter), Jose Abreu (first base), Brantley (left field), Chas McCormick (center field), Jeremy Peña (shortstop), Martin Maldonado (catcher), and Valdez.
Texas jumped out to an early lead.
First inning: Texas bombed the Houston mound.
The Rangers came out firing in the first inning. They bombed the Houston mound and took an early lead.
In the top of the first inning, Texas loaded the bases with ease. Leadoff hitters Simeon and Seager hit back-to-back singles just two pitches apart to put runners on first and second. After Grossman’s grounder to short, Valdez made a throwing error, allowing Simeon to steal second and score from third for a 1-0 lead. Runners were left on second and third with no outs.
Garcia and Garber followed with back-to-back RBI singles to make it 3-0. Heim strode to the dugout in disbelief. His pitch hit the ground first and went into the mitt of catcher Maldonado, but the umpire called it a foul tip. The call was not overturned despite Heim’s protests. After a bit of a scuffle, the opportunity continued, and Lowe lined an RBI single with runners on first and second to make it 4-0.
Alvarez, Houston’s home run hitter.
Second inning: Alvarez singles off No. 4…Texas scores its first run in 11 innings.
In the bottom of the second inning, Texas got a cannonball from Alvarez to score their first run in 11 innings.
먹튀검증Texas jumped out to a big lead in the top of the first, but the high-powered Astros began to chip away. In the bottom of the second, Iboldi gave up a solo shot to leadoff hitter Alvarez. With a 2-1 count, he tried to work the count, but a four-seam fastball in the middle of the strike zone sailed over the wall for the first run of the game, 4-1.
Texas’ streak of 10 consecutive scoreless innings dating back to Game 1 of the Championship Series was broken.
A jubilant Heim.
Games 3 and 4: General Mungun with a home run
Texas and Houston hit back-to-back solo home runs in the third inning to set the tone for what would be a back-and-forth affair.
After Alvarez hit a solo home run in the bottom of the second, Texas answered with a solo shot of their own. In the top of the third, the leadoff hitter launched a solo shot over the left field fence to make it 5-1.
It looked like they were going to extend their lead, but Texas gave up another big inning to Houston. In the bottom of the fourth, Bregman gave up a solo home run to make it 5-2.
Iboldi roars after striking out Musa to end the inning.
Fifth inning: no outs with the bases loaded…Iboldi proves his PS prince credentials.
The bases were loaded and no runs were allowed. Iboldi proved his postseason prince credentials.
Iboldi is no stranger to the postseason. When he played for the Boston Red Sox in 2018, he split time between the starting rotation and the bullpen, posting a 1.61 ERA in six games (two starts) and 22⅓ innings, helping the team win the World Series.
That momentum has carried over to fall ball. Against the first-place Baltimore Orioles (101-61, .623 winning percentage) and the second-place Tampa Bay Rays (99-63, .611 winning percentage) in the American League, Iboldi was dominant, posting a 1.32 ERA in 13⅔ innings.
The cruising Iboldi faced his biggest challenge in the bottom of the fifth inning, and that’s where he really came into his own. Iboldi gave up back-to-back singles to Brantley and McCormick. A fielding error by third baseman Young put runners on first and second with nobody out.
The opposition put more pressure on Iboldi. Maldonado was replaced by Yoenis Diaz, who had hit 23 home runs this year. However, Iboldi didn’t falter. In fact, he overwhelmed his opponent with even more powerful pitches.
Iboldi struck out Diaz on a swinging strike before retiring the next batter, Altuve, on a swinging strike. Mountain over mountain. At the plate was Bregman, who had homered once on the day, but he grounded out to the third baseman to end the inning without further damage.
Cuban player-on-player. The game remained close until the final inning.
8th-9th innings: Cuban missiles vs. Cuban home run machines…Texas scores a dizzying number of runs.
Aroldis Chapman, the Cuban missile with a 100-mile-per-hour fastball, meets Alvarez, the Cuban home run machine with an explosive long ball.
In the bottom of the eighth, Texas sent Chapman to the mound as its third pitcher. He got the second batter, Bregman, to fly out to center field and then got the next batter, Tucker, to ground out to second base for the final out. However, the same Cuban gave up another run on a wild pitch.
Chapman threw a slider outside the zone that was caught by Alvarez’s bat and went over the right field fence for a 5-4 lead. However, it was not to be, and closer Jose LeClerc got the final four outs to preserve the win.
Starting pitcher Iboldi pitched six innings, allowing three runs on five hits (two home runs) with one walk and nine strikeouts. The offense was fueled by eight hits and five runs.
Houston starter Valdez, on the other hand, was tagged for five runs (four earned) on seven hits (one home run) with one walk and six strikeouts in 2⅔ innings. The offense produced six hits and four runs, but it wasn’t enough for Texas.
American League Championship Series 2023 (Texas 2: Houston 0)
Game 1: Texas wins 2-0
Game 2, Texas 5-4