Astros fail to clinch ALCS at home as Rangers force Game 7

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The Houston Astros had a chance to advance to the World Series for the third consecutive year, but the Texas Rangers spoiled their party with a 9-2 win in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series on Sunday night at Minute Maid Park.

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Rangers hit three homers to back Eovaldi’s gem

The Rangers took an early lead with a solo homer by Mitch Garver in the second inning off Astros starter Framber Valdez, who had struggled in his previous four outings. The Astros tied the game in the bottom of the first with an RBI single by Yordan Alvarez, who has been their best hitter in the postseason.

However, the Rangers regained the lead in the fourth inning with a two-run blast by Jonah Heim, who barely cleared the right-field wall. It was Heim’s first career postseason homer and his second hit of the series. The Astros could not solve Rangers starter Nathan Eovaldi, who pitched 6 1/3 innings of two-run ball, striking out seven and walking one. Eovaldi lowered his postseason ERA to 2.42 and improved his record to 3-0.

The Astros threatened to rally in the sixth inning, when they loaded the bases with one out. But Eovaldi got Carlos Correa to pop out and Kyle Tucker to ground out to end the inning. The Astros scored their second run in the seventh inning on a sacrifice fly by Mauricio Dubon, but they left two runners on base.

Leclerc escapes jam in eighth, Garcia hits grand slam in ninth

The Rangers added an insurance run in the eighth inning off Astros reliever Bryan Abreu, who was appealing a two-game suspension for hitting Adolis Garcia with a pitch in Game 5. Garver doubled home Corey Seager, who had singled and stolen second base.

The Astros had another chance to come back in the bottom of the eighth, when they loaded the bases with one out against Rangers closer Jose Leclerc, who had given up a go-ahead homer to Jose Altuve in Game 5. But Leclerc got Dubon to line out to shortstop and struck out pinch-hitter Jon Singleton to preserve the lead.

The Rangers broke the game open in the ninth inning, when they scored five runs off Astros reliever Ryne Stanek. Stanek hit Seager with a pitch to force in a run, and Garcia avenged his plunking with a grand slam to left field. It was Garcia’s third homer of the series and his sixth of the postseason, tying him with Alvarez for the most in the majors.

Home team loses every game in series for second time in history

The Rangers forced a decisive Game 7 between the bitter rivals, who have been trading barbs and beanballs throughout the series. The home team has lost every game in the series, a trend that the Astros will need to reverse on Monday night to reach the World Series for the fourth time in five years.

The only other time that the home team lost every game in a seven-game series was in the 2019 World Series, when the Astros dropped four games at Minute Maid Park to the Washington Nationals, including Games 6 and 7. The Astros have lost 21 of their last 28 games at home, while the Rangers have won 11 of their last 12 games on the road.

The Astros will send Cristian Javier to the mound in Game 7, hoping that he can replicate his performance from Game 3, when he pitched six scoreless innings in a 4-1 win. The Rangers have not announced their starter yet, but they could go with a bullpen game or use Jordan Lyles on short rest.

The winner of Game 7 will face the Philadelphia Phillies, who won their second straight National League pennant by beating the Los Angeles Dodgers in five games.

By Kane Wilson

Kane Wilson, founder of this news website, is a seasoned news editor renowned for his analytical skills and meticulous approach to storytelling. His journey in journalism began as a local reporter, and he quickly climbed the ranks due to his talent for unearthing compelling stories. Kane completed his Master’s degree in Media Studies from Northwestern University and spent several years in broadcast journalism prior to co-founding this platform. His dedication to delivering unbiased news and ability to present complex issues in an easily digestible format make him an influential voice in the industry.

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