Game 7 rout sends Rangers to third World Series in club history
(AP photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)
HOUSTON — No matter how many early runs they scored Monday night, no matter how big their cushion over the Astros became or who was pitching, the only thing that was going to allow the Rangers breathe easy was the 27th out.
These are the Rangers, for whom heartbreak has been hiding just around the corner since 2011. Hell, heartbreak has been a member of their bullpen much of this season.
And they were playing the Astros, the reigning world champions and the Rangers’ kryptonite much of the past seven years. Yes, they were terrible at home this season, but their lineup can put up runs in bunches.
No one knows that better than the Rangers.
The 27th out finally came, more than three hours after Game 7 of the American League Championship Series started, and the Rangers’ hearts are still beating.
They are headed to the World Series.
Garcia homered twice and drove in five runs, and Corey Seager and Nathaniel Lowe also homered as the Rangers rolled to an 11-4 victory to win the third American League pennant in club history. They will be the home team for the World Series, which begins Friday night at Globe Life Field against either the Phillies or the Diamondbacks.
“This team has played with so much heart and determination as any club I’ve had,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “It’s just amazing how they kept getting up. We went through ups and downs with the injuries. We ran into a lot of streaks. To come in here and do this shows you how determined they were to find a way.”
Garcia, with five home runs and 15 RBIs, was the easy choice for ALCS after setting the MLB record for most RBIs in any postseason series. Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz were ALCS MVPs in 2010 and 2011.
Garcia was booed lustily in Game 6 for his involvement in a benches-clearing shoving match in Game 5. After striking out in his first four at-bats in Game 6, he connected for a grand slam that ensured a Game 7.
He collected four more RBIs in his first four at-bats Monday.
“You can’t really deny that October has that type of emotion, has that type of situation around it,” he said. “I just try to keep myself focused on the task at hand, try to perform, try to control the things that I can, and have the success that we can have.”
After he connected for his second homer, he cupped his ear as if to ask the Minute Maid Park crowd to let him hear some more.
“When there’s a lot of emotions, the fans out there, they are rallying for their team, it fuels me,” Garcia said. “It’s motivation that helps me out when I’m playing.”
Seager’s home run in the first inning against Cristian Javier traveled 440 feet with an exit velocity of 113.1 mph and landed in the second deck in right field. He also doubled and added a single in the Rangers’ four-run fourth.
It wasn’t so much his third home run of the postseason that sparked the rest of team but his reaction to it.
“He does show emotion, but he really showed it when he came in,” Bochy said. “He fired up the whole club. That seemed like it just got us going. And it got contagious. I have to credit with him what happened early in that ballgame, in the whole game, how excited he was and how fired up he got the whole club.”
Jordan Montgomery was credited with his second win of the series after 2 1/3 scoreless innings in relief of Max Scherzer, who started and allowed two runs in 2 2/3 innings. The Rangers knew they would have Montgomery available and would turn to him when the moment called for it.
With a left-handed hitter coming to face Scherzer with a runner at third, Montgomery got the call.
“Monty, the hot hand, gave us all he had,” pitching coach Mike Maddux said. “Monty’s been a best, and having him available, that’s the guy we’ve got to go with.”
The Rangers have won all eight of their road games this postseason, including four against the Astros in just the second postseason series in MLB history in which the home team failed to win a game.
Now, the Rangers are going to the World Series.
Jeff Wilson, email@example.com