Astros thump Rangers again to take series victory in final matchup of 2021

The Astros' offense couldn't be stopped in Thursday's finale against the Rangers. Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images

After a disappointing loss in the second matchup of this four-game series, the Astros won the third, giving them a chance for the series victory in the fourth and final game. They would hold all the momentum in the finale, getting a rout of the Rangers on Thursday.

Final Score: Astros 12, Rangers 1

Astros' Record: 86-50, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Luis Garcia (11-7)

Losing Pitcher: Glenn Otto (0-2)

Garcia does well in the unexpected start

After a late scratch to Framber Valdez with a cut on his finger, Luis Garcia would make his start a day early in the finale against the Rangers. He did well, getting a 1-2-3 first then working around some traffic in the second. In the second, he kept Texas off the board, again erasing runners after a walk and a single.

A double play erased a one-out walk in the fourth, and then he followed that with a 1-2-3 fifth. He kept going in the bottom of the sixth, but Dusty Baker would lift him in favor of Yimi Garcia after a leadoff single and one-out double. Garcia allowed one of the inherited runs to score but finished the inning to finalize Garcia's line: 5.1 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 0 HR, 87 P.

Houston's offense rolls

Garcia would leave in line for the win, thanks to a tremendous amount of offense behind him. The Astros put together a seven-run fourth inning to start the scoring for the game, putting two on base for a three-run homer by Carlos Correa, then loaded the bases with walks to set up a two-RBI single by Alex Bregman. Yordan Alvarez made it 6-0 with an RBI double after that, then Yuli Gurriel put a bow on it with an RBI single in the next at-bat, and just like that, the Astros were in front 7-0.

They didn't stop there, as a walk and a double to start the top of the sixth gave Alex Bregman a chance for some more RBI, and he took advantage with a two-run single to extend the lead to 9-0, giving him 4 RBI for the night. Yimi Garcia remained in the game in the bottom of the seventh and erased a single and a walk to keep the score 9-1.

Astros finish domination of Rangers in 2021

A one-out walk in the top of the eighth presented Houston with the chance for more runs, and Chas McCormick took advantage, launching a two-run homer to make it a ten-run game, then a two-out RBI ground-rule double by Jake Meyers made it 12-1. Phil Maton was Houston's next reliever in the bottom of the eighth, and he sat down the Rangers 1-2-3.

Josh James came on to finish things off in the bottom of the ninth, which he did with a scoreless inning to finish off the eleven-run win. The victory also gave Houston fourteen wins in the nineteen-game season series, continuing their domination of Texas in recent seasons.

Up Next: With this quick Arlington road trip completed, the Astros return home to face the Diamondbacks at Minute Maid Park on Friday at 7:10 PM Central. Due to Framber Valdez being a late scratch on Thursday, resulting in Luis Garcia starting, Houston has not yet figured out their rotation for the series or their starter for the opener. Madison Bumgarner (7-10, 4.66 ERA) is slated to be on the hill for Arizona.

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Houston now trails in the fall classic

Astros fall in World Series Game 1 as Braves come out swinging

Framber Valdez had a forgettable start in World Series Game 1 as the Braves tagged him with five runs. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

After a dominant end to win the ALCS and American League pennant, the Houston Astros welcomed in the National League champion Atlanta Braves for World Series Game 1 at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday. With Houston favored to win not just this game but the entire series, the Braves shook up those expectations by finding early success at the plate to build a lead they would hold to take a 1-0 series lead.

Final Score: Braves 6, Astros 2

World Series (Best of Seven): Atlanta leads 1-0

Winning Pitcher: A.J. Minter

Losing Pitcher: Framber Valdez

Valdez unable to replicate ALCS Game 5 success as Braves mount early lead

For the optimist, not having home-field advantage in an MLB postseason series affords you a benefit: you can score first and take captive momentum first in the series. The Braves did that against Framber Valdez, as Jorge Soler became the first player in league history to hit a homer in the first plate appearance of a World Series, putting Atlanta out to an immediate 1-0 lead. They would get another in the first frame, getting a one-out infield single by Ozzie Albies, who would steal second to get in position for an RBI double by Austin Riley.

Houston had the chance to respond in their first inning against former teammate Charlie Morton, getting a single and two walks to load the bases with no outs. They'd strand all three runners, though, as Morton made it through unscathed but having used 26 pitches. Atlanta kept putting stress on Valdez, extending their lead to three runs with back-to-back singles to start the second before later getting an RBI groundout.

Valdez gave up two more in the top of the third, once again allowing a leadoff single, this one setting up a two-run homer to make it a 5-0 Braves lead and forcing Houston's starter out of the game early. Yimi Garcia entered and was able to retire the three batters he faced to end the frame.

Braves lose Morton to injury as both bullpens begin long night

After stranding the bases loaded in the bottom of the first to keep the Astros off the board, Morton followed it up with a 1-2-3 second. He started the bottom of the third by retiring his fifth batter in a row, getting a strikeout of Jose Altuve. He would immediately call trainers to get him out of the game, though, as he would later be diagnosed with a fractured fibula, presumably from a ball that ricocheted off his leg in the prior inning, ending his season in a disappointing turn of events for the Braves.

That set up a long night for both bullpens, and next up for Houston was Jake Odorizzi. He started with a scoreless fourth, working around a two-out error to keep it a five-run game. The Astros began a rally in the bottom of the fourth, getting runners on the corners with one out on a Kyle Tucker double and Yuli Gurriel single. Chas McCormick brought in the first run of the board for Houston, but that's all they would get as Atlanta's lead remained four runs.

Astros drop Game 1

Odorizzi kept going on the mound, tossing a 1-2-3 fifth, then getting one out before a one-out single in the top of the sixth would prompt Dusty Baker to move on to Phil Maton, who finished the inning. Maton returned in the top of the seventh, getting a strikeout before a double and a walk would result in the call to bring in Ryne Stanek.

A double play against his first batter allowed Stanek to finish the seventh, and then he returned in the eighth. He faced three batters that frame, getting one out before a walk and a single would put runners on the corners as Houston moved on to Brooks Raley. A sac fly by Freddie Freeman off of Raley made it a five-run lead again, but a leadoff triple by Yordan Alvarez in the bottom of the inning would set up Carlos Correa for an RBI, a groundout to make it 6-2.

Atlanta's bullpen continued to do well, though, limiting the damage to that one run in the eighth, then returning to hold on to the four-run lead in the bottom of the ninth to give the Braves the upset win to start the series. The loss extends their home losing streak in the World Series to five games (having lost all four at home in the 2019 World Series against the Nationals) and puts them down 0-1 and in need of a win in Game 2 to try and reset the series into a best-of-five.

Up Next: World Series Game 2 will be another 7:09 PM Central scheduled start time on Wednesday from Minute Maid Park. The expected pitching matchup is Max Fried, who is 1-1 with a 3.78 ERA in three postseason starts, for the Braves, and Jose Urquidy, who went just 1.2 innings while allowing six runs (five earned) in his start in the ALCS.

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