Home field provides Astros no advantage
Rangers rout Astros to force winner-take-all Game 7
HOUSTON – Home field continues to be anything but advantageous in the American League Championship Series. The Astros remain winless at home in the ALCS.
The Rangers beat the defending World Series champions 9-2 in Game 6 of the ALCS, forcing a winner-take-all Game 7 for a trip to the Fall Classic.
After winning all three games at Globe Life Field, the Astros lost their fourth consecutive home game at Minute Maid Park and their third against the Rangers in this best-of-seven Lone Star Series.
“Obviously we didn’t have the big hit,” Astros outfielder Michael Brantley said. “We had some opportunities early. But at the same time (Nathan) Eovaldi pitched a great game.”
Eovaldi pitched another gem against the Astros. He tallied nine strikeouts in 6 ⅓ innings while allowing five hits and two runs to earn the victory and force a winner-take-all Game 7 Monday night at Minute Maid Park.
“He’s just a good pitcher,” Astros right fielder Kyle Tucker said of Eovaldi. “I mean he has good stuff. He’s locating and he had a really good game. He just did a really good job tonight, limiting damage.”
Astros designated hitter Yordan Alvarez gave the Astros a 1-0 lead with an RBI single in the first inning. The Rangers’ designated hitter Mitch Garver quickly responded with a home run to tie the score at 1 in the second.
Rangers took early control
The Rangers took a 3-1 lead in the fourth. Garver drew a two-out walk. Then Jonah Heim proceeded to hit a two-run home run just out of the reach of Tucker’s glove in right. Heim’s 336 ft. home run would’ve been a homer at only one other ballpark: Yankee Stadium.
That’s all the Rangers needed to knock out Astros starter Framber Valdez from the game. The Dominican lefty allowed five hits and three runs with two walks and six strikeouts over five innings in the loss.
“I had three opportunities. You know I haven’t been able to get it done,” Valdez said after losing Game 6. “But I have to remember this is a team game. You know we’re in this together. We’re playing this together.”
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The Astros’ offense continues to struggle at home. They were 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position while leaving nine men on base in Game 6.
In addition, the Astros have scored only six runs, with 17 hits, four extra-base hits and 10 walks in their three ALCS games at home.
Astros fail to capitalize
“It’s disappointing,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said about missing several offensive opportunities. “The name of the game is opportunities. And then after that you hope that you come through.”
Everyone in sports knows the two most notable words in a win-or-go home scenario: Game 7.
This year’s ALCS is the second best-of-seven series in postseason history where a road team has won each of the first six games, joining the 2019 World Series.
You know which team had the so-called home-field advantage in that series? The Astros.
“Tomorrow’s a new day,” Astros third baseman Alex Bregman said. “You show up ready to compete and get after it.”
The Astros will have Cristian Javier on the mound to start Monday night at Minute Maid Park. The Rangers will counter with three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer.
Javier has done a fascinating job in the postseason. He will pitch one of the most important games of his career and look to help the Astros reach their third consecutive World Series appearance and not look to repeat postseason history in 2019.
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