Texas sets tone early in G7 with three-run 1st

Seager hits 3rd HR of postseason, García and Garver notch RBI singles to spark offense

October 24th, 2023

HOUSTON -- It’s probably fitting that the Rangers sealed the American League Championship Series with a landslide 11-4 win on Monday night vs. the Astros.

Texas set the tone on Opening Day with an 11-run outburst in a win against the Phillies. The Rangers scored 10 or more runs in 26 games during the regular season, the most in the Majors, propelling the club through 162 games and to the playoffs.

And two more offensive outbursts in Games 6 and 7 of the ALCS at Minute Maid Park sent Texas to the World Series. It was the seventh time in postseason history that a team has scored 10 or more runs in a Game 7, and each of those teams won.

“We were very excited for Game 7, we came out and we showed it,” shortstop Corey Seager said.

Even though ALCS MVP Adolis García stole the show with a monster two-homer performance, the hot hitting all started with the Rangers’ regular-season MVP candidate: Seager.

Seager slammed a fastball from Astros starter Cristian Javier into the second deck of the right-field bleachers at 113.1 mph, the hardest-hit ball of his postseason career. The first-inning solo shot sparked a fast start for Texas, which knocked Javier out of the game after just one out and three earned runs.

“That was the game plan going in. That was our battle zone,” Seager said. “We had to beat the heater. That’s his pitch, we knew he did it, and he did it to us the last time [in Game 3], so it was all about beating the heater today.”

The Rangers did what they have done for so many wins this season: started a rally that never seemed to stop with the depth of their lineup. They won Games 1 and 2 at Minute Maid Park in large part due to the bottom of their lineup outperforming Houston’s Nos. 7-9 hitters.

When manager Bruce Bochy moved youngsters Leody Taveras and Josh Jung up the lineup in response, designated hitter Mitch Garver and catcher Jonah Heim did their thing at the bottom, reaching base twice and kickstarting a ninth-inning almost-rally in Game 5 by both singling.

They returned to their normal spots in the order for Game 6 and added two early home runs.

The Game 7 clincher was another complete team effort. Even after Javier’s quick hook, the Rangers didn’t relent. Rookie Evan Carter helped break the game open in the top of the fourth with a bases-loaded double. He came around to score on a two-run García single.

First baseman Nathaniel Lowe added more insurance with his homer.

“We’ve got such a good group,” Lowe said. “We got a bunch of free-agent guys, trade guys and waiver guys. We’ve got homegrown players. The front office has done such a good job of getting a good mix of players in here who just really work together.”

When Carter made his debut on Sept. 8, it was a muted atmosphere that greeted one of baseball’s top prospects (No. 8, per MLB Pipeline).

Texas had lost 15 of its past 19 games. The struggles continued with a close loss to last-place Oakland. The loss of two All-Stars in García (right patellar tendon strain) and Jung (fractured left thumb) to injury had depleted the lineup.

But a few days later in Toronto, with the Rangers facing the Blue Jays for a huge four-game set and playoff positioning on the line, Carter hammered his first big league homer.

Texas scored 35 runs in the four-game sweep of Toronto (with two 10-run games, of course) and returned García and Jung to the lineup with just enough time for them to shake off the rust before the postseason. Carter’s emergence certainly didn’t hurt, either.

With the lineup at full strength, the Rangers powered their way to sweeps in their first two series and shook off some mid-series woes to send themselves to the World Series by scoring 5.92 runs per game so far this postseason.

Arizona's pitching staff will have its hands full in the World Series. Just ask Javier or any Tampa Bay, Baltimore or Houston pitcher.

“Man, I’ll tell you what,” Carter said to Tom Verducci postgame on the FOX broadcast. “This is just a group of guys that have no quit in them. Everybody can step up at any moment.”