Hoo boy. How’s your cardiovascular doing?
Lest we forget, the last time these two teams met back in early September, the Astros scored an unfathomable 39 runs during a three-game sweep of the Rangers in what then appeared to be a spiral that the team would not pull out of. Well, here we are. The Rangers are a game up in the ALCS and the Astros are still looking for their first run.
In one of those ever more rare classic postseason pitching duels between starting pitchers, hired gun Jordan Montgomery and living October legend Justin Verlander battled it out and it was Texas’ lefty that came through with the more impressive performance to lead his team to a crucial Game 1 win.
Montgomery threw 6 1⁄3 shutout innings for Texas on five hits and just one walk with six strikeouts in 90 pitches as he lowered his postseason ERA to 2.08.
Verlander, meanwhile, bent a few times but didn’t break much, though the Rangers were able to get to him for two runs, one in the top of the 2nd on an RBI bloop single by Jonah Heim that brough home Evan Carter following a hustle double, and one in the top of the 5th on a massive solo home run from nine-hole hitter Leody Taveras.
That second run felt important as it meant the Astros could not tie the game with any one swing without first producing a base runner.
Scoring more runs and scoring more often would have taken the edge off of the contest, but the two runs sufficed even as Texas ultimately needed 2 2⁄3 innings from their anxiety-inducing bullpen.
However, as has been the case thus far in October, the ‘pen was up to the task despite some tense moments, including Carter maneuvering around Houston’s circus ballpark to start a double after Jose Altuve rounded the bag at second base but didn’t touch it as he retreated back to first base.
THIS KID IS UNREAL.— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) October 16, 2023
WHAT A CATCH BY EVAN CARTER
: FOX pic.twitter.com/RmnNSwejyH
The Rangers were shown the path to the promised land. Just keep walking.
Player of the Game: Looking every bit like a left-handed Colby Lewis out there, the Rangers seem to have found themselves a postseason ace at just the right time in Jordan Montgomery.
Up Next: The Rangers have wrenched home field advantage away from the Astros with tonight’s victory, but they’d love to go back to The Shed up 2-0. They can accomplish that tomorrow afternoon as RHP Nathan Eovaldi is set to take the hill in Game 2 opposite LHP Framber Valdez for Houston.
First pitch from Minute Maid Park is set for 3:37 pm CT and will be broadcast on FOX.