Nathan Eovaldi remained undefeated this postseason, with Mitch Garver and Jonah Heim hitting early home runs and Adolis García hitting a grand slam in the ninth inning to help the Texas Rangers win 9-2 against the Houston Astros in Game 6 of the AL Championship Series on Sunday night.
Eovaldi, who also won Game 2, gave up five hits and two runs in 6 1/3 innings. He now has a 4-0 record with a 2.42 ERA in the playoffs this year.
The decisive Game 7 will be played on Monday night in Houston. The Rangers, one of six major league teams without a World Series title, need a win to make it to the Fall Classic for the first time since their back-to-back trips in 2010-11.
The Astros, the defending World Series champions, struggled with a poor start from Framber Valdez and lackluster play at home. Valdez allowed five hits and three runs with six strikeouts in five innings, falling to a 0-3 record with a 9.00 ERA this postseason.
The Rangers held a two-run lead before breaking the game open with a five-run ninth inning, highlighted by García’s grand slam. García, who had struck out in his previous four at-bats, was booed by the crowd throughout the game due to his involvement in a bench-clearing scuffle in Game 5 after being hit by a pitch from Bryan Abreu.
After García’s home run in the ninth, many fans started leaving the stadium, frustrated by another disappointing home game for the Astros.
The Astros, who are 5-0 on the road this postseason, won three consecutive games in Arlington while wearing their orange jerseys, bringing them one win away from their third consecutive World Series appearance. However, they were unable to replicate their road success at home, with a 1-4 record in Houston this postseason after posting a 39-42 record at Minute Maid Park in the regular season.
This series has become only the second best-of-seven series in postseason history, along with the 2019 World Series where the Astros lost to the Washington Nationals, in which the road team won the first six games.
The Astros took an early lead with Yordan Alvarez’s RBI single in the first inning, but Garver tied the game with a solo home run in the second. Heim extended the Rangers’ lead to 3-1 with a two-run home run off Valdez in the fourth.
Houston managed to score one run in the sixth inning with a sacrifice fly by Mauricio Dubón, cutting the lead to 3-2. But the Rangers added insurance with an RBI double by Garver in the eighth inning.
This victory marks the first time the Rangers have won an elimination game in the postseason since Game 5 of the 2010 ALDS, when they defeated the Tampa Bay Rays with a complete game pitched by Cliff Lee.
The Astros had a chance to narrow the lead in the eighth inning, but José Leclerc managed to get out of the jam after giving up the decisive three-run homer to Jose Altuve in Game 5.
Game 7 will determine which team advances to the World Series. With both teams giving it their all, it’s expected to be a thrilling finale.