García powers Rangers to first World Series since 2011 with 11-4 rout of Astros in Game 7 of ALCS
HOUSTON (AP) — Adolis García homered twice and drove in five runs as the Texas Rangers reached the World Series with an 11-4 blowout of the Houston Astros in Game 7 of the AL Championship Series on Monday night.
García went deep for the fourth straight game and set a record for RBIs in a postseason series with 15. Corey Seager got things started for the Rangers with a long home run in the first inning, and Nathaniel Lowe also went deep to give Texas — one of six major league teams without a World Series title — its first berth in the Fall Classic since consecutive trips in 2010 and 2011.
After winning their Lone Star State showdown with Houston, the wild-card Rangers open the World Series at home Friday night against Arizona or Philadelphia, who play the decisive Game 7 of their NLCS on Tuesday night.
Bruce Bochy, who came out of retirement this season to manage the Rangers, became the first skipper to win a League Championship Series with three different teams, after previously leading San Diego and San Francisco to NL pennants.
The defending World Series champion Astros were finally dethroned. It fittingly came at home, where they went 40-47 this year, including losing all four home games in this series. They won all three at Texas and came home a win shy of a third straight pennant, but their pitching staff got pounded for 20 runs in the final two games.
No club has won consecutive World Series since the New York Yankees took three straight from 1998-2000.
The Rangers improved to 8-0 on the road in the playoffs, joining the 1996 Yankees as the only teams to win their first eight road games in one postseason.
Texas starter Max Scherzer, acquired from the Mets in July, wasn’t great in this one, allowing four hits and two runs with two walks in 2 2/3 innings. But the Rangers took advantage of an early flop by Cristian Javier.
The Rangers jumped on Javier immediately and tagged him for three runs, highlighted by Seager’s second-deck shot, before he was lifted with just one out in the first. It was the first time Javier had lost a playoff start after entering the game 4-0 with a 0.82 ERA in four career postseason starts.
Seager, in his second season with Texas after signing a 10-year, $325 million contract, had three hits after starting the series 5 for 26.
García, who had four hits, slugged his sixth home run this postseason to make it 4-1 in the third before the Astros cut it to two on a home run by Alex Bregman in the bottom of the inning.
Texas broke things open with a four-run fourth that featured a two-run double by rookie Evan Carter and a two-run single by García.
After hitting a grand slam to punctuate a 9-2 win in Game 6, García led the charge Monday. He had 15 RBIs in this series to break the record set by Nelson Cruz with 13 for Texas in the 2011 ALCS.
The slugger was booed throughout the game for a second straight night after beingafter being hit by a pitch from Astros reliever Bryan Abreu.
García seemed to delight in playing the road villain. When he opened the third inning with his shot to right field, he watched as the ball sailed over the fence before slowly taking a few steps toward first base. He then dropped his bat, turned around and skipped backward for a few feet while smiling broadly at his cheering dugout before trotting around the bases.
The Cuban slugger added a solo shot in the eighth to give him seven homers and 20 RBIs this postseason, passing Houston’s Yordan Alvarez (six) for the most home runs in the playoffs this year.
García’s home run streak is tied for fourth-longest in postseason history.
The road team won every game in this series, marking just the second time in baseball history the home team dropped each game of a best-of-seven series. The Astros were also on the wrong end of the other one, dropping four home games in a loss to the Nationals in the 2019 World Series, a series in which Scherzer also pitched Game 7 in Houston.
Texas and Houston had identical regular-season records (90-72), with the AL West title going to the Astros on a head-to-head tiebreaker. Tied once again entering this game, the Rangers came out on top when it mattered most.
Texas’ win guarantees a third all-wild card World Series, the first since Bochy’s Giants beat Kansas City in 2014.
Kristie Rieken, The Associated Press