Rangers force Game 7 with Astros in ALCS

There will be a Game 7 in Houston. The Texas Rangers pulled away late and barged to a 9-2 win over the Astros in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series on Sunday night at Minute Maid Park. The series is now even at 3-3, and that sets up a deciding Game 7 on Monday to determine who advances to the World Series to play either the Phillies or the Diamondbacks.

In Game 6, Nathan Eovaldi twirled 6 1/3 effective innings for the Rangers, and Adolis García, who was a main character in the Game 5 near-brawl, launched a ninth-inning grand slam to all but ensure the Texas win. The Game 6 outcome means that the road team remains undefeated in this series.

Now for some takeaways from Game 6. 

Adolis García stole the show

The Rangers got opposite-field homers from Mitch Garver and Jonah Heim earlier in the game, but the blast that has everyone talking was Adolis García's ninth-inning grand slam off a Ryne Stanek fastball that put Game 6 out of reach. 

That one left the bat at 110 mph and traveled 375 feet. In his prior four trips to the plate in Game 6, García struck out and was lustily booed by the Houston crowd all the while. The boos, of course, flow from Game 5 and García's central role in the near-brawl that's still being talked about. Most essentially, it gave Texas a seven-run lead and took all the pressure off the bullpen for the bottom of the ninth. 

García has now homered in three straight games, and he has five home runs in the 2023 postseason. 

Nathan Eovaldi's postseason reversal of fortunes continued

Eovaldi looked like a Cy Young contender for Texas before a forearm injury landed him on the IL for more than a month. After he returned in early September, he struggled badly: a 9.30 ERA and similarly grim 7.88 FIP over his final six starts of the regular season. In the playoffs, however, Eovaldi found something much closer to vintage level. He came into his Game 6 start against the Astros with a 2.29 ERA across three starts this postseason with 24 strikeouts against only one (!) walk. 

Then in this elimination game for Texas he worked 6 ⅓ innings, allowed two runs on three hits, and struck out four versus three walks. He got just five whiffs on the night, so it wasn't a dominant outing. It was, however, an effective outing, and it gave his team a chance to win. That's indeed what they did. More broadly, Eovaldi continues to cement his reputation as a great postseason pitcher. 

Game 7 is next 

The American League pennant will be decided on Monday back at Minute Maid Park with Game 7 between these two teams. First pitch is scheduled for 8:03 p.m. ET. Starting pitchers have yet to be announced, but if it's a redo of Game 3 then Max Scherzer of the Rangers will oppose Cristian Javier of the Astros. Perhaps of note is that the road team is unbeaten in this series, and Houston in 2023 has a sub-.500 record at home. 

Dan Butcher

Dan Butcher (aka HP Pundit) is not a Democrat or Republican. He is a free thinking independent bringing you news and commentary with a dose of much needed common sense.

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