Rangers take 2-0 lead over Orioles with wild win

The Texas Rangers defeated the Baltimore Orioles late afternoon Sunday, 11-8, to take a commanding lead in the ALDS. The Rangers are up 2-0 in the best-of-five series that now heads back to Texas for Game 3 and, if necessary, Game 4.

As the score indicates, the Rangers feasted offensively in Game 2. After leaving the bases loaded in the first inning and then falling behind 2-0, the Rangers put up five runs in the second. In the third, they totally busted the game open with Mitch Garver's grand slam. 

In all, the Rangers collected 11 hits and while their power during the regular season was a calling card, they had eight singles in this one. They used all fields and fought off high fastballs throughout the game. It was an impressive approach that led to them having so much traffic. They actually left nine runners on base, believe it or not. 

Yeah, as part of that, we should mention the jaw-dropping stat of the game. Rangers hitters accepted 11 walks from Orioles' pitchers, including a postseason-record five walks for Corey Seager.

The grand slam will garner headlines and rightfully so, but the Rangers gave a complete hitting performance between that shot, the eight singles and the 11 walks. It was an offensive clinic. 

Despite being spotted five runs before the third inning and nine before the fourth, Rangers starter Jordan Montgomery -- who had been nails lately, including with seven scoreless innings in Game 1 of the Wild Card Series -- wasn't very good in this one. He routinely missed his spots and fell behind Orioles' hitters. With this kind of run support, surely Rangers manager Bruce Bochy would've loved to get his starter much deeper into the game than 12 outs. 

Alas, Montgomery just didn't have it and was removed after giving up a home run and single to start the fifth. 

Still, the Rangers didn't have to dip very deep into their bullpen thanks to a strong effort from reliever Cody Bradford. The rookie lefty had a 5.30 ERA in 56 innings this season. Within the last few weeks of the season, the Angels and Guardians teed off on him for six runs apiece (the Guardians in three innings while the Angels needed four). 

The Orioles threatened to get back into the game Sunday and Bradford just totally shut the discussion down for three innings. In the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, Bradford allowed just one hit without giving up any runs. He did cough up two hits in the eighth, but stretching him that far was probably wishful thinking by Bochy with that five-run lead. It didn't matter anyway; Josh Sborz relieved Bradford and needed only one pitch to end the inning. 

The Orioles' offense was mostly dead in Game 1, but the same can't be said for Game 2, even if it wasn't enough. Baltimore actually out-hit the Rangers, putting up 14 hits but only bringing eight around to score. Among those hits was a home run by Gunnar Henderson, joining Manny Machado and Ryan Flaherty as the only Orioles rookies to ever homer in a playoff game. It should also be noted that shortstop Jorge Mateo was 4 for 4 with two doubles in his first career playoff start. 

The issue was the Orioles went 3 for 13 with runners in scoring position and left nine on base. Well, that and the Rangers' offense going crazy. The bottom line is having so much traffic on the bases is a good thing moving forward. 

It's a hard sell down two games to none in a series and needing to string together three straight wins to advance, but if you're talking to the Orioles' clubhouse right now, the message is that the tide is about to turn. Perhaps they'll feel less pressure away from home? Sure, go with that, too. 

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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