On Tuesday night, Corey Seager and Adolis Garcia hit home runs in the early innings, while Nathan Eovaldi delivered an impressive performance with seven strikeouts over seven innings. With this win, the Texas Rangers finished a sweep of the Baltimore Orioles in the AL Division Series, sealing their victory with a final score of 7-1.
The Rangers, whose loss at Seattle on the last day of the regular season made them a wild-card team instead of the AL West champion, have since won all five of their postseason games. They are going to the American League Championship Series for the first time since 2011.
Baltimore won an AL-high 101 games and was never swept in a series during the regular season, but the AL East champions are done after a sweep at the most inopportune time. The Orioles have lost eight playoff games in a row over the past 10 seasons.
In the first inning, Seager hit a powerful drive that traveled 445 feet and landed in the right-field seats. In the second inning, Garcia hit a three-run homer that extended the lead to 6-0. Garcia, an All-Star slugger, took a moment to admire his hit before slowly walking out of the batter’s box. This caused Orioles’ pitcher Dean Kremer, who was making his first career postseason start, to be replaced.
BOMBI BLOWS THE ROOF OFF THIS PLACE! <a href=”https://t.co/wDjsgdaZhy”>pic.twitter.com/wDjsgdaZhy</a>
It was the first Rangers playoff game at Globe Life Field, the stadium that was brand new in 2020 when it hosted much of MLB’s neutral postseason during the COVID-19 pandemic.
During that particular October, the Los Angeles Dodgers primarily resided there, and Seager emerged as the Most Valuable Player in both the NLCS and World Series. However, a year later, the shortstop relocated to Texas by signing a 10-year contract worth $325 million US dollars. Interestingly, he now occupies the same locker he had during that unique postseason with restricted attendance.
Nathaniel Lowe, from Texas, also hit a home run. It was a solo shot in the sixth inning. In the second inning, Lowe started off with a lineout to left field, but this happened on the 15th pitch of the at-bat. Before that, he had fouled off nine pitches with two strikes.
Seager is one of five Texas hitters who started for the AL squad in this year’s All-Star Game. That is quite a lineup for Bruce Bochy, the three-time World Series-winning manager with San Francisco who was hired by the Rangers last offseason and is now going to his first AL Championship Series.
In his debut season with the Rangers, Eovaldi has achieved success by winning both of the crucial games that sealed their series victories in the playoffs. These two outstanding performances mark his most impressive and lengthy starts since coming back in September from a seven-week absence due to a strain in his right forearm.
Eovaldi threw 76 of his 98 pitches for strikes without a walk while allowing only one run. He was serenaded with chants of his name as he walked off the mound after the seventh — and then was pushed out of the dugout by a teammate to tip his cap to the crowd. He also won the Wild Card Series clincher at Tampa Bay last Wednesday.
Big Game Nate. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/GoAndTakeIt?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#GoAndTakeIt</a> <a href=”https://t.co/CPV1aruMmi”>pic.twitter.com/CPV1aruMmi</a>
Jose Leclerc successfully secured the last four outs of the game. The first out came with all bases occupied in the eighth inning, as he forced pinch-hitter Aaron Hicks to ground out, ending the inning. It’s worth noting that Hicks had previously hit a three-run homer off Leclerc in the ninth inning of Game 2.
Leclerc replaced the powerful Aroldis Chapman after he allowed a single followed by two consecutive walks with two outs. Leclerc delivered an impeccable performance in the ninth inning, causing a burst of celebratory fireworks within the stadium when he struck out Jordan Westburg to conclude the game.
Kremer had his shortest appearance of the season, pitching only 1 2/3 innings. The 27-year-old player continued to wear his Star of David necklace, which he usually does, while thinking about his extended family members in Israel. War has been declared in Israel after a deadly attack by the militant group Hamas. Kremer’s mother was present at the game.
Kremer had a record of 13 wins and 5 losses with a 4.12 ERA in 32 regular-season starts, which included two crucial games for Baltimore. The first game was on September 17, where they secured a spot in the playoffs, and the second game was 11 days later, when they won their 100th game to clinch the AL East.
Astros power past Twins
The ball was hard to see due to the shadows in the late afternoon, and Sonny Gray from Minnesota was a challenging pitcher.
The Houston Astros have once again demonstrated their dominance and delivered an outstanding performance in October.
Jose Abreu hit a three-run homer for Houston in a four-run first inning against Gray and piled on with a two-run shot in the ninth, carrying the Astros past the Twins 9-1 on Tuesday for a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five AL Division Series.
Yordan Alvarez hit his fourth home run in three games and Alex Bregman had a homer and an RBI single for the defending World Series champions, who took charge from their first at-bat and moved within one win of a seventh consecutive AL Championship Series appearance. Astros starter Cristian Javier took it from there with nine strikeouts in five scoreless innings.
Bregman, who has hit 16 home runs in the post-season, stated that it was like passing the torch to the next player. He emphasized the importance of putting in effort and persevering during each at-bat.
BIG GAME JAVI.<br><br>ALL 9 PUNCHOUTS. <a href=”https://t.co/OxwYOYpqPw”>pic.twitter.com/OxwYOYpqPw</a>
If Game 4 takes place on Wednesday at Target Field, Game 5, if necessary, will be held in Houston on Friday.
Abreu expressed that one of the factors behind his decision to join this organization was to be in a favorable position and engage in competitive endeavors. He experienced a decrease in performance this season with a .237 average, which is almost 50 points lower than his usual career standard.
Splitting the first two games in Houston gave the Twins home-field advantage, and they sold out both games three days in advance. Johan Santana threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Joe Mauer, and the crowd the Twins credited for carrying them to a two-game sweep of Toronto in the AL Wild-Card Series was roaring from the start.
The Astros were not likely to be affected by the surroundings. They had a strong performance on the road with a record of 51-30, which was the third-best in MLB. Additionally, they have consistently participated in October games since their successful streak began in 2017.
“The club exudes great confidence without being arrogant. We refrain from excessive showboating and simply focus on playing,” stated manager Dusty Baker. “The players have a special ability to support one another.”
HIS SECOND OF THE NIGHT. <a href=”https://t.co/9sk46PzVFI”>pic.twitter.com/9sk46PzVFI</a>
Javier’s 4.56 ERA in his fourth season in the major leagues was his worst so far. He also struggled to complete five innings in five out of his last 11 starts. However, the Astros did not express any worries about this.
“He possesses a low heart rate. He desires the baseball,” Bregman expressed. “He is a determined individual and we hold unwavering faith in him every instance he steps onto the pitching mound.”
The right-hander, who threw six hitless innings in World Series Game 4 last year to beat Philadelphia, lowered his career post-season ERA to 1.91 over 37 2/3 innings.
The Twins struggled to hit Javier’s slider, with 13 misses out of 16 swings. Their response to the early Astros surge was weak as they couldn’t find their footing. Javier only gave up one hit, a double by Max Kepler in the first inning, but he managed to prevent any runs from being scored by striking out Royce Lewis and Carlos Correa back-to-back, leaving two runners stranded in scoring position.
The Twins had many chances to catch up with five walks and one hit batter. In the fifth inning, they loaded the bases due to walks, but Kepler and Lewis struck out to end the inning.
The Twins had nine players stranded on base and only managed to score one run out of nine opportunities with runners in scoring position. Correa, who has achieved a hit in all five post-season games and has a batting average of 9-for-19 with four RBIs, crossed home plate on Willi Castro’s single with one out in the sixth inning. However, Jeremy Pena displayed exceptional skill at shortstop by making a diving stop to catch a ground ball hit hard by Ryan Jeffers, and quickly got up to initiate a double play.
“It was a challenging day for scoring, so their early lead was incredibly crucial,” stated Twins manager Rocco Baldelli. “Whichever team managed to achieve that would certainly have the advantage.”