‘Reserve free agent’ Montgomery beats Vanderbilt, Texas wins again…PS 6 undefeated, losses forgotten
The Texas Rangers have swept the first-ever fall baseball “Lone Star Series” against their local rivals, the Houston Astros. The Rangers continued their dominance this fall with a six-game sweep.
Texas swept the Astros 2-0 in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series (ALCS) of the 2023 Major League Baseball postseason (best-of-seven) at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas, on Saturday. The winner of Game 1 of the Championship Series has a 64% chance of advancing to the World Series.
Starter Jordan Montgomery pitched 6 1/3 scoreless innings of five-hit ball with one walk and six strikeouts to win his first career start against three-time Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander (6⅔ innings, six hits, one homer, two walks, five strikeouts, two runs).
No. 9 hitter Rody Taveras went 2-for-2 with a home run, one RBI and one walk in the bottom of the order, and rookie left fielder Evan Carter sealed the win with a super catch in the eighth inning.
With the win, Texas, which swept the Tampa Bay Rays in two games in the Wild Card Series and the Baltimore Orioles in three games in the Division Series, completed a six-game sweep of fall baseball this season after beating Houston in Game 1 of the ALCS. The six-game winning streak to start the postseason is the sixth-longest in franchise history. 먹튀검증토토사이트 The Kansas City Royals’ eight-game winning streak in 2014 is the most, while the 1976 Cincinnati Reds, 2007 Colorado Rockies, 2020 Atlanta Braves and 2022 Atlanta won seven straight.
Big Game Pitcher Montgomery Wins Start Against Verlander
Texas left-hander Montgomery won the start against Houston ace Verlander. After dominating Tampa Bay in Game 1 of the Wild Card Series with seven innings of six-hit, no walks and five strikeouts, Montgomery struggled in Game 2 of the Division Series against Baltimore, allowing five runs (four earned) on nine hits (one homer) with one walk and two strikeouts in four innings.
But he returned to his dominant form in this game. He shut down the Houston lineup over 6 1/3 innings, allowing one run on five hits with one walk and six strikeouts. With his second win in three games this postseason and a 2.08 ERA, he’s clearly emerged as a big-game pitcher. Montgomery, who is eligible for free agency at the end of the season, is using the fall to boost his stock.
He started the game with a triple play, striking out hard-hitting Jordan Alvarez in the first inning. All five pitches he threw were in the zone and he used his curveball to induce a wild swing. After giving up a leadoff single to Jose Altuve in the second, but retiring the next three batters, Montgomery had runners on second and third in the third, but struck out Alvarez again. After a seven-pitch at-bat, he struck out Alvarez on a low curveball outside.
In the fourth, he gave up three straight singles to Chas McCormick, Mauricio Dubon and Jeremy Peña to load the bases with two outs. But he showed off his crisis management skills by striking out Martin Maldonado on a 93.9 mph (151.1 km/h) fastball on four pitches.
After striking out Alvarez again in the fifth with a curveball, Montgomery retired back-to-back batters in order in the sixth. He needed 90 pitches to get out of the seventh inning. He topped out at 94.9 mph (152.7 km/h) and averaged 93.5 mph (150.5 km/h) with a sinker (33), curve (33), four-seam fastball (15) and changeup (9).
Dreaded No. 9 hitter wedge, rookie Carter makes crucial super-catch
The Texas bats struggled against Houston starter Verlander, but managed to score two runs. The runs proved to be the difference. In the second inning, rookie Carter doubled to right and came home on Jonah Heim’s single up the middle to give Texas the lead.
In the fifth, they added another run with a home run. No. 9 hitter Rody Taveras lined a five-pitch, 86.9-mph (139.9-kilometer) slider from Verlander over the right-center field fence. His first home run of the postseason.
Taveras was 2-for-2 with a walk, including a double in the seventh inning, and one RBI and one stolen base. Despite batting ninth, he has made his presence felt in six games this postseason, going 13-for-21 with one home run, three RBIs and a .964 OPS.
The Texas bullpen has also been steady. After Montgomery went down, Josh Svotz (⅔ innings), Aroldis Chapman (1 inning), and Jose LeClerc (1 inning) held the bullpen scoreless and protected the two-run lead. LeClerc earned his second save of the postseason.
There was also a decisive lake effect. Carter, the left fielder who made a leaping catch of Alex Bregman’s fly ball in front of the left field fence in the second inning, made a picturesque super catch in the eighth. Again, it was a Bregman hit. With the bases loaded and one out in the eighth inning, Carpenter leaped in front of the fence to snag Bregman’s line drive deep to the left-center field fence. It was a tough pitch to catch, with a 103 mph (166.1 km/h) bat speed, 364 feet (110.9 meters) of range and a 56 percent chance of being hit, but he made the super catch with uncharacteristic rookie poise.
Altuve’s big play and Houston’s loss to Verlander
Along the way, there was a costly miss for Houston. First baseman Jose Altuve stole second base and returned to first when he saw that Bregman’s throw was caught. However, instead of touching second base, Altuve returned to first and was called out on Nu’s throw. Texas requested a video review of the base touch and it was confirmed that Altuve’s foot did not touch second base. It was an uncharacteristic error for Altuve, who was playing his 97th game of fall ball.
Bregman’s well-struck pitch was caught, but once Altuve was doubled off the plate by Nu, Houston’s offense completely stopped flowing. The final four batters were retired in order in the ninth inning to end the scoreless game.
Alvarez went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, Kyle Cutter went 0-for-4, and Altuve went 0-for-3 with a walk. Alvarez was embarrassed by Montgomery, who struck out three straight batters.
Houston starter Verlander pitched 6⅔ innings, allowing two runs on six hits (one homer) with two walks and five strikeouts. He threw 101 pitches, with a four-seam fastball (47) that topped out at 96 mph (154.5 km/h) and averaged 94.3 mph (151.8 km/h), along with a slider (36), curveball (16) and changeup (2), but was unable to get any offensive support and took the loss.
Game 2 for both teams continues at 5:37 a.m. Sunday at the same location. Texas will look to bounce back with left-hander Framber Valdez. Houston will start with another “big game pitcher,” Nathan Eovaldi. Iboldi has been strong in the postseason, going 6-3 with a 2.70 ERA in 13 games (5 starts, 56⅔ innings). This postseason, he’s also been strong with a 1.32 ERA in two starts.