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 – their first berth in the Fall Classic since consecutive trips in 2010 and 2011.
After winning their Lone Star State showdown with Houston, the wildcard Rangers open the World Series at home on Friday night against Arizona or Philadelphia.
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.
Arizona Diamondbacks 5-1 Philadelphia Phillies
In Monday’s earlier game, Tommy Pham and Lourdes Gurriel Jr hit back-to-back homers and Merrill Kelly struck out eight to help the Arizona Diamondbacks force Game 7 of the NL Championship Series with victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Diamondbacks came ready in Game 6 to back up the bold pregame words from manager Torey Lovullo and tamed Phillies bats and the hostile home crowd.
“Getting there is really important, so we have that all-in mentality,” Lovullo said before Game 6. “We didn’t come cross-country to get our asses kicked. We came here to play our best baseball game, and our guys will be ready to go.”
The Diamondbacks came ready to go – and Kelly didn’t want to leave.
Kelly retired Kyle Schwarber, Trea Turner and Bryce Harper in order in the fifth and with the Diamondbacks ahead 4-1. When Kelly retired to the dugout, Lovullo told the right-hander he was done. Kelly, who had thrown 90 pitches, appeared agitated as he gestured with his glove as if to point out he struck out Schwarber and Harper in the inning and had much more in the tank.
But four Arizona relievers combined to shut down the Phillies and stifle their rousing run of success at Citizens Bank Park.
The Phillies were held to six hits and lost at home for the first time in seven home postseason games. They dropped Games 4 and 5 to Houston in the World Series but had won 11 straight postseason home games against NL opposition.
The Phillies sent Aaron Nola to the mound – a year to the day after they beat San Diego to win the NL pennant – in the hope of making it two straight trips to the World Series.
Nola had been lights out in every postseason start, pitching against the backdrop that the pending free agent could be down to his final games with the Phillies. He was 3-0 with a 0.96 ERA in October. Make that 3-1 after Monday’s game. Nola allowed homers to Pham and Gurriel in almost the same spots in the left field seats, the first ones the longest-tenured Phillies player allowed all postseason.