ARLINGTON, Texas – Jose Abreu hit a three-run home run right after Yordan Alvarez’s game-winning sacrifice fly, and the Houston Astros tied the AL Championship Series with a 10-3 victory over the Texas Rangers in Game 4 on Thursday night.
Houston, which was 3-0 and had only four batters in the game, responded immediately after Texas tied an opposite-field home run by Corey Seager in the third inning.
Adolis Garcia also scored for the wild-card Rangers, who have lost two straight games at home after starting this postseason with seven straight wins – six on the road. This included wins against the AL’s two winningest teams, Baltimore and Tampa Bay.
Game 5 is Friday afternoon at Globe Life Field, where the defending World Series champion Astros are 8-1 this season. The home team doesn’t yet have the lead in this ALCS, which moves back to Houston for Game 6 on Sunday night.
“We are playing against a good team. “Nobody thought it would be easy,” Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said. “(The Astros) played very well in this stadium. We have to change that. We know it.”
Jose Altuve had three goals and three goals in his 100th career playoff game. Alvarez drove in three runs, giving him 13 RBIs already this postseason, and Chas McCormick added a two-run home run.
“Of course that means a lot. That makes it even more special because we won,” said Altuve, who became the seventh major league player to play in 100 playoff games. “Nothing has been done yet, but getting the opportunity to come back and even the series…that’s really important for us.”
Dane Dunning, who came into the game in relief in the first inning, had a 0-2 count against No. 9 batter Martin Maldonado and opened the fourth game with a draw before striking out him and then Altuve.
Mauricio Dubon followed with his second soft single of the game before Alex Bregman struck out with the bases loaded. Rookie lefty Cody Bradford faced Alvarez, whose 401-foot sac fly landed on the warning track in center field in the ninth pitch. Then Abreu hit his fourth home run this postseason to make it 7-3.
Ryne Stanek picked up the win while throwing only one pitch, setting off Mitch Garver’s inning-ending double-play grounder on the third pitch.
The Astros have outscored Texas 74-32 and won their last seven games at Globe Life. That includes the 8-5 win in Game 3 of the first postseason series between the AL West rivals.
“It just happens. We come here, we focus and everyone does a good job,” said Dubon, who otherwise couldn’t offer an explanation for why the Astros are so good there. “It’s just showing.”
Altuve opened the game with a double and Dubon followed three hits in Game 3 with a bloop single off Andrew Heaney. Bregman drove both home with a triple into the gap in right-center, and the Rangers already had Dunning under control in the bullpen before Alvarez singled to make it 3-0.
Seager became the first shortstop to hit a home run in both the NLCS and ALCS, with his 401-foot solo drive to left-center with one out in the third. Astros starter Jose Urquidy then gave up two consecutive singles before Stanek took over.
The Rangers trailed 7-3 but had two ons with no outs in the fifth when a finger from Marcus Semien’s batting glove was the difference between a lineout and a crucial double play. The Rangers baserunner slid back to the bag at first base after Abreu caught Seager’s 108.6 mph fast liner and pounced on Semien just as his hand reached the bag, and first base umpire Jordan Baker signaled that he was safe.
The Astros challenged and the video review showed Abreu’s glove brushing a batting glove finger into Semien’s back pocket as the finger jumped out of the back pocket into the air. Texas only had two baserunners left after that game.
Alvarez and Abreu become the first teammates in postseason history with at least four home runs and 10 RBIs in a team’s first eight playoff games.
Seager was with the Los Angeles Dodgers when they played 16 neutral playoff games at Globe Life Field and won the 2020 World Series title. Seager was MVP in both the NLCS and World Series. He hit five home runs in this seven-game NLCS, two in the World Series and two here this postseason. He was also well ahead in the decisive win in Game 3 of the AL Division Series at home against Baltimore.
Game 5 will be a rematch of the trade deadline acquisitions that kicked off the series. Rangers left-hander Jordan Montgomery pitched 6 1/3 innings in Game 1 as Texas won 2-0. Three-time Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander, who allowed both runs over six innings, will make his 21st career postseason start for the Astros. They brought him back from the Mets after he made just 16 starts in New York this year following free agency.
It was the first time in Heaney’s 156 career starts (154 in the regular season and two in the postseason) that he failed to make it past the first inning. The left-hander was done for after a two-out walk. He allowed the seven batters he faced to reach base. … Urquidy, who allowed three runs on five hits in 2 1/3 innings, went 5-0 with a 2.82 ERA in seven career starts against the Rangers.
For the first time in nearly five months, a game was played with the roof open at Globe Life Field. When the game started it was 78 degrees with clear skies. Texas was 7-4 during the open regular season, with its last game played on May 21. The roof was open for 13 of the 16 neutral site postseason games in 2020, including three of the six World Series games.