Although they have only won four times in their last 16 games, the Texas Rangers Join the opening game of their big three-game Lone Star Series on Monday Houston Astros in Arlington, Texas, with a little more hops in the crotch.
Adolis Garcia deserves great credit for that.
Garcia, who had struck out on all four of his previous attacks and came on in the middle of a 15-for-92 (.163) stretch on Sunday, hit a walk-off home run at the bottom of the ninth inning to give the ranger a much-needed 6-5 win over the Minnesota Twins.
Garcia’s 34th home run of the season ended Texas’ three-game losing streak.
The ranger (76-60) and Astros (77-61) will start tied for second in the series in the American League West, one game behind the Seattle Mariners. Both teams have a 1 1/2 game lead over the Toronto Blue Jays by an AL wildcard berth.
“Obviously a huge win,” Texas coach Bruce Bochy said of Sunday’s win. “These are games that didn’t go the way we wanted. … We’ve been through a lot and played a lot of baseball, but I thought this is one that we really, really need. A great win for us.”
For Garcia, it was the AL-leading 100th RBI of the season. His 34 home runs rank third behind the Angels’ Shohei Ohtani (44) and the White Sox’s Luis Robert Jr. (35).
“When you hit four, it puts a lot of pressure on you, especially when you’re two shots ahead,” Bochy said. “I’m sure the pressure was on and he’s not feeling good about his tag at this point but he’s gotten one. Good for him, good for us, and once again that’s one of the biggest home runs we’ve had all year.”
Garcia’s home run diverted the spotlight from teammate Mitch Garver, who was completing his fourth four-hit game of his career, including two home runs and four RBIs.
“It has to be,” Garver said when asked if the walk-off win meant anything more than a 12-0 win. “We have a big series ahead of us here.”
Left-hander Andrew Heaney (9-6, 4.16 ERA), who went 2-0 in six starts in August with a 2.39 ERA, will start the opener of the series ranger and meet rookie right-hander JP France (10-5, 3.49).
Heaney is 4-4 with a 3.20 ERA in 14 career starts against Houston. He’s 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA in three starts against Houston this season, allowing just nine hits and three runs over 15 innings while notching 15 strikeouts in those contests.
France won their only career start against Texas on July 25, allowing an unearned five-hit run over seven innings while notching three strikeouts.
The Astros hobbled into the contest after being defeated by the New York Yankees in a three-game series for the first time since September 27–29, 2013. The Yankees wrapped up the win Sunday night at Minute Maid Park with a 6-1 win.
“It was hard to take, especially given the number of Yankee fans in our stadium,” said Houston coach Dusty Baker. “You can’t worry about that now because we only have a few hours to get through this and a tough series in Texas.”
https://deadspin.com/rangers-astros-brace-for-high-stakes-series-1850801491?utm_source=regular Rangers and Astros gear up for a high-stakes streak