Only two years after losing 102 games, the Texas Rangers are headed to the Fall Classic.
The Rangers clinched their third AL pennant, and first since 2011, with a decisive 11-4 win over the Houston Astros in Game 7 of the ALCS on Monday.
Texas will face either the Philadelphia Phillies or Arizona Diamondbacks in the World Series, which begins in Arlington on Friday. Game 7 of the NLCS will be contested Tuesday.
The Rangers seized control from the start, scoring three runs off Astros starter Cristian Javier, who recorded only one out before being lifted. Houston got within a run thanks to Alex Bregman’s third-inning homer, but Texas put the game out of reach with four in the top of the fourth.
ALCS MVP Adolis García put on a show, going 4-for-5 with two homers, five RBIs, and three runs scored. He’s the fourth player to hit two home runs and the fourth to tally four hits in a Game 7, according to sportscaster Mark Followill.
Corey Seager went 3-for-5 with a homer, and Nathaniel Lowe added a round-tripper of his own. Left-hander Jordan Montgomery, who started Game 5, threw 2 1/3 shutout innings in relief of starter Max Scherzer to pick up his third win of the postseason.
The Rangers’ 11 runs are tied for the most ever scored in a Game 7 on the road, joining the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1934 World Series, per Stathead. They also tied the 2007 Boston Red Sox for most runs and hits (15) in Game 7 of an ALCS. Houston, meanwhile, set a franchise record for runs allowed in a winner-take-all playoff game.
Rangers manager Bruce Bochy, who came out of retirement last November to take over the club, added some more history to his future Hall of Fame resume with Monday’s win. The 68-year-old became the third skipper to take three different franchises to the World Series, joining Cooperstown inductees Bill McKechnie and Dick Williams, according to Sarah Langs of MLB.com. Bochy – who coincidentally played for Williams – also guided the Padres to the Fall Classic in 1998, and the Giants in 2010, ’12, and ’14.
Bochy also became the 10th manager to win pennants in both the AL and NL, joining a list that includes his counterpart in this year’s ALCS, Dusty Baker. He also upped his record in winner-take-all postseason contests to an astounding 6-0.
Texas appeared to be limping into the playoffs after a September swoon that cost them both the AL West title and a first-round bye on the final weekend of the regular season. But since the playoffs began, the Rangers have been on fire. Texas swept through the first two rounds, won its first seven playoff games, and tied a record by winning its first eight straight road playoff games, per Langs.
For Houston, meanwhile, the loss marks a bitter end to its quest to win a third straight AL pennant and second consecutive World Series title. No MLB team has won back-to-back championships since the Yankees’ 1998-2000 three-peat.
This ALCS was only the second time in playoff history that the road team won all seven games of a series. The last time it happened was the 2019 World Series, when the Astros lost to the Washington Nationals.
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