Rangers Fall to Astros in Game Three of ALCS

Rangers Astros
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Astros 8, Rangers 5

ARLINGTON, Tex. (Oct 18) — The Texas Rangers didn’t have the magic that they had in the first two games in the ALCS, as they fell to the Houston Astros, 8–5, on Wednesday. Josh Jung contributed in a big way with a two-homer night, but it wasn’t enough as the Rangers now hold a 2–1 lead in the ALCS. The Rangers will try to regain their two-game lead in this series on Thursday evening at Globe Life Field. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 pm Central. Lefty Andrew Heaney (First postseason appearance) will get the ball for the Rangers, while the Astros will throw Jose Urquidy (postseason 1–0, 3.18 ERA) in Game Four.

Astros Score First

The Astros got on the board in the top of the second off Rangers starter Max Scherzer. Yordan Alvarez scored on a wild pitch to Martin Maldonado by Scherzer. Alvarez was hit by a pitch earlier in the inning. Maldonado plated Kyle Tucker and Mauricio Dubon with a single to left. Tucker walked and Dubon singled to left, respectively, moments earlier.

In the top of the third, Jose Altuve hit his second homer of the postseason to extend the Astros’ lead to 4–0. They made it 5–0 in the fourth. Jose Abreu crossed the plate thanks to a single to center by Dubon. Abreu doubled to center two batters prior. At this point in the game, the Rangers were in dire need of any sort of momentum they could get.

Rangers Fight Back

They got it in the bottom of the fifth thanks to Jung. With Cristian Javier on the mound for the Astros, Jung hit his first career postseason home run with Nathaniel Lowe on base to cut the lead to 5–2. Lowe reached on a single to left in the previous at-bat. The Astros tacked on two more in the top of the seventh off Rangers reliever Will Smith. Maldonado and Altuve scored on a single to center by Alvarez. Maldonado and Altuve both singled off Smith earlier in the inning.

The Rangers inched closer in the bottom of the seventh. Jung made it 7–4 with his second two-run blast of the evening with Lowe on base once again with a single. The Astros scored again in the top of the eighth off Jon Gray. Jeremy Peña drove in Tucker with a single to right. Tucker drew a walk earlier in the inning. The Rangers pushed across another run in the bottom of the eighth. Marcus Semien drew a leadoff walk off Astros reliever Bryan Abreu. Two batters later, he scored on a single to right by Adolis Garcia.

Tough Night for Scherzer

Scherzer took the loss after allowing five earned runs on five hits with one walk and four strikeouts across four innings. He made his 28th career postseason appearance (23rd start) and first appearance since September 12 against the Toronto Blue Jays. His all-time postseason record is 7–8 with a 3.80 ERA and 168 strikeouts. The 168 career postseason strikeouts rank third among actives behind Justin Verlander (241) and Clayton Kershaw (213). At 39 years, 83 days, Scherzer became oldest starting pitcher in Rangers postseason history. The previous oldest was Colby Lewis (37 years, 68 days) in Game Three of the 2016 ALDS against the Blue Jays.

On the other side, Javier earned the win after tossing 5 2/3 innings and allowing two earned runs on three hits with one walk and three strikeouts. He has now won all four of his career postseason starts while pitching to a 0.82 ERA. Javier held the Rangers hitless for the first 4 2/3 innings. The first hit that he surrendered was a single to Lowe with two outs in the bottom of the fifth. The home run he allowed to Jung in the fifth snapped a streak of 20 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings as a starter to begin his postseason career. The only longer streak in postseason history was 28 innings by Christy Mathewson (spanned the 1905 and 1911 World Series). Javier has a .071 (5-for-70) opponent batting average across his four career postseason starts, which is the lowest in any four-start span in postseason history (courtesy of Elias Sports Bureau).

Postgame Comments

Rangers manager Bruce Bochy took his usual seat in the crowded interview room after the game. Bochy reflected on Scherzer’s start. He said, “I thought he had good stuff. He came out and had his normal velocity. Unfortunately, he didn’t have his good slider tonight. He left a couple of pitches up, and those pitches appeared as runs in their column. Max is going to be a little rusty. It’s been a month since he’s been out there. Overall, I was really pleased with his stuff. It’s only going to get better with him.”


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