The Texas Rangers moved their postseason win streak to seven straight games as they won Game 2 of the ALCS against the Houston Astros on Monday night, 5-4, at Minute Maid Park.
There was no offense coming from the Astros on Sunday to begin the series, but they made things interesting for the Rangers, who have yet to experience a loss in October after facing the Tampa Bay Rays and Baltimore Orioles.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, Astros slugger Yordan Alvarez launched a home run to cut the Rangers’ lead to 5-4. After the Rangers didn’t score in the opening frame of the ninth, Astros fans were raucous, hoping the home team could at least tie it and force extra innings.
Jeremy Pena, the first hitter for Houston to begin the bottom of the ninth, scared Rangers closer Jose Leclerc when he hit one to deep right field. But the ball died for right fielder Adolis Garcia to haul it in for a loud out No. 1.
Yainer Diaz ended up grounding out to third baseman Josh Jung, who slid to his left and threw it to first in one smooth motion. Jose Altuve then flew out to center field to cap another Rangers victory.
It was another solid pitching performance from a Rangers starter, this time from veteran right-hander Nathan Eovaldi. He allowed three earned runs on five hits, including two homers.
However, he also had nine strikeouts and lasted six full innings to move his postseason ERA to 2.29.
The Rangers got on the scoreboard first in this one as Astros starter Framber Valdez committed a throwing error to first base on a Robbie Grossman ground ball, leading to Marcus Semien to cross home plate.
That started a Rangers rally as Garcia singled in Corey Seager followed by Mitch Garver and Nathaniel Lowe RBI singles to put the Astros in a 4-0 hole before they got their first at-bats.
Alvarez would finally get the Astros’ first run of the series in the bottom of the second when he launched his first homer of the game to right center field. He has six homers in six postseason games this year.
But as the Rangers have done all postseason, they’ve answered the call for big moments. Catcher Jonah Heim hit his own solo home run to left field to make it 5-1.
The long ball was seen again from the Houston dugout as Alex Bregman hit his second of the postseason, ringing the ball off the left field foul pole to keep the Astros in it.
Michael Brantley added an RBI double to make it 5-3 in the bottom of the sixth, and Alvarez was able to get the Astros close but to no avail.
Now, the Rangers head to Arlington where they will be greeted by a very satisfied fan base that will hope the win streak stays alive.
The Ranger will have Max Scherzer on the mound while the Astros will hand the ball to Cristian Javier on Wednesday.