Rangers moving on in MLB postseason after sweeping Orioles in ALDS
(AP photo/LM Otero)
ARLINGTON — With only a few exceptions, everything that could have gone right Tuesday night for the Texas Rangers went right.
Globe Life Field was packed. Corey Seager homered in the first inning. Nathan Eovaldi was dialed in. The offense grinded another starting pitcher into a pulp.
The result was a 7-1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles and a three-game sweep of the American League Division Series. The Rangers advanced to the championship series, which will begin Sunday at either Houston or Minnesota. Houston leads that best-of-5 division series 2-1.
“I saw a team that was really motivated,” Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said. “The fans, they were so into it. We came out swinging. But the story is Nate, the job he did out there on the mound to help set the tone. But the offense, everybody was doing something to contribute.”
Seager launched a 445-foot home run as the Rangers’ second batter against Dean Kremer, Adolis Garcia’s three-run homer capped a five-run second inning and Eovaldi allowed one run in seven innings as the Rangers improved to 5-0 this postseason.
Seager’s homer was the 14th of his postseason career, eight of which have come at Globe Life Field. He played three series here during the 2020 postseason that was held at a neutral site because of COVID.
All five runs in the second came with two outs. Mitch Garver knocked in the first two after the Orioles intentionally walked Seager to load the bases. Garcia followed with 418-foot moonshot into the second deck in left field.
The Seager walk was his ninth of the postseason, which set a division-series record and are the most in a three-game span in postseason history, according to Stathead.
The only tally against Eovaldi came in the fifth on a two-out single by Gunnar Henderson after the right-hander couldn’t handle what would have been an inning ending double-play grounder. But he finished with two perfect innings, striking out Jordan Westburg to end his night.
“Eovaldi had complete control,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said.
The sellout crowd of 40,861, a Globe Life Field record for a baseball game, gave Eovaldi a curtain call after his 98-pitch effort.
“It was definitely very special,” said Eovaldi, who allowed five hits and no walks while striking out seven. “I’ve never had a curtain call or anything like that.”
Things got uncomfortable in the eighth, when Aroldis Chapman loaded the bases with two outs. Jose Leclerc entered and went to a full count against Aaron Hicks, who homered against him in Game 2 but grounded out to first to end the threat.
Leclerc worked a 1-2-3 ninth to set off another celebration. The Rangers entered the postseason having never swept a series, but they have swept two in the span of a week. They opened the playoffs last week with a two-game sweep of Tampa Bay in the wild-card round.
“For us to play the kind of ball that we have been playing since we went to Tampa and, of course, against Baltimore, I just told the guys, it’s incredible how well they’ve been clicking in all facets of the game,” Bochy said.
Jeff Wilson, email@example.com