2023 ALCS: Adolis Garcia Makes History as Rangers Force Game Seven with Astros

Adolis Garcia running out his game-sealing grand slam in the Rangers 9-2 victory over the Astros in Game 6 of the 2023 ALCS
(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

2023 ALCS: Adolis Garcia Makes History; Rangers, Astros Go to Seventh Game
Rangers 9, Astros 2; Series Tied, 3–3

HOUSTON, Oct. 22 — Every time Adolis Garcia stepped to the plate, Minute Maid Park echoed with a chorus of boos. The Texas Rangers left fielder had caused a bench-clearer the last time these two teams squared off, Game Five in Arlington, Texas. Two Houston Astros — reliever Bryan Abreu, who plunked him, along with manager Dusty Baker — were ejected. Abreu was suspended two games, only playing in Game Six due to his appeal. And the first four times Garcia batted, the third of which came against Abreu, the result was the same. Strikeout.

So when he stepped to the plate in the top of the ninth with the bases loaded, one out, and his team holding a 5–2 lead, it would have been easy to think he’d become the third player ever to go 0-for-5 with five strikeouts in a nine-inning postseason game. Garcia had other ideas, however.

As the torrential boos of disdain rained down on Garcia, Astros reliever Ryne Stanek unleashed a 97-mph fastball belt high and right down the middle. Garcia jumped on it, unleashing a 110-mph rocket into the Crawford Boxes above the left-field wall for a grand slam. As Garcia rounded the bases, at least two thirds of the orange-clad crowd made a beeline for the exits, their boos now a stunned murmur. The Rangers staved off elimination for one more day, forcing a Game Seven in this ALCS that has yet to see a home victory.

Garcia’s Historic Feats

Garcia became the first player in postseason history with a Golden Sombrero (four strikeouts) and a grand slam. He was the fifth player in postseason history to have both a Golden Sombrero and a home run, joining Wayne Garrett (Game Two, 1973 World Series), Bobby Bonilla, Rafael Palmeiro (both in Game Four, 1996 ALDS), and Brian McCann (Game Four, 2005 NLDS). But he was the first player in LCS history to do so, and he was also the first to ever do it in a nine-inning postseason game.

To catcher Jonah Heim, this not only speaks of his resilience, but it righted a wrong. “That’s baseball justice,” he said. “They’re booing him all game, and he puts the game on ice. I don’t know how you can boo someone for getting hit, but it is what it is, and he quieted them pretty quickly there.” When told that Garcia was the first in an LCS to ever do it, Heim said, “That’s Adolis. He’s never gonna let his previous at-bat affect his current at-bat.”

Outfielder Travis Jankowski added, “The environment he played in tonight wasn’t the easiest one, but it’s one of those things. In any big situation, I’m picking him.” Third baseman Josh Jung was stunned to hear Garcia was the first to do it, saying, “Wow. That’s awesome.” But he also said, “It’s not fun getting booed all game. Then to silence the crowd in the ninth gives him confidence going into tomorrow, because it’s gonna be the same thing.”

Most Impressive Part?

We’ve established that Garcia was the first to strikeout four times and hit a grand slam in a postseason game. And we’ve also established that he’s the first Sombrero wearer to go deep in a nine-inning postseason game. But here’s another biggie…

He’s the first one to hit a homer in a postseason game after he had already been donned with the Golden Sombrero. Garrett’s clout came in the third inning. He struck out three more times after that. Palmeiro and Bonilla hit back-to-back jacks in the first inning of their game before whiffing four times each afterwards. McCann had two groundouts and a strikeout before his eighth-inning bomb, then struck out three more times in extra innings of the 18-inning marathon ended by Chris Burke’s roundtripper. But Garcia was the first to fan four times then hit a homer. Jankowski loved it. “That was the nail in the coffin. Going 0-for-4 with four punches to end your night 1-for-5 with a grand slam? That’s a helluva night in a postseason game.”, he said.

Rangers Take Delight in Sudden Shift of Emotion from Astros Fans

Jankowski said it’s the first time he’s ever seen an entire crowd shift from thunderous boos to quiet murmurs. “Great for us,” he grinned with a chuckle. “That was awesome,” Jung added. “That ball leaves the bat, and that whole fanbase pretty much gets up and leaves. There’s no bigger at-bat for Adolis right there, especially to give him confidence going into tomorrow.”

Ah, yes. There’s a Game Seven to play. It will be at 8:07 pm Eastern, 7:07 Central Monday night. Max Scherzer will toe the rubber for the Rangers against Cristian Javier of the Astros, with FS1 televising the game. It’s only fitting for the first LCS involving two teams from the same state to go seven. In the words of Jung, “It’s gonna be fun.”

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Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan is the owner and sole contributor of Thompson Talks, a website discussing the Big Four North American Pro Sports as well as soccer. He also is a credentialed member of the Colorado Rockies press corps. His first and biggest love is baseball.

Evan lives in Gilbert, Arizona and loves history, especially of sports. He is the treasurer for the Hemond Chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) and also is a USSF and AIA soccer referee. He released his first book, Volume I of A Complete History of the Major League Baseball Playoffs, in October of 2021.

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