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    ALDS: Rangers complete sweep of Orioles, remain perfect in postseason
    • October 11, 2023

    By STEPHEN HAWKINS AP Baseball Writer

    ARLINGTON, Texas — Corey Seager and Adolis García homered early, Nathan Eovaldi struck out seven over seven innings in another series-clinching start and the Texas Rangers completed a sweep of the Baltimore Orioles in their American League Division Series with a 7-1 victory Tuesday night in Game 3.

    The Rangers, whose loss at Seattle on the last day of the regular season made them a wild-card team instead of the AL West champion, have since won all five of their postseason games. They are going to the AL Championship Series for the first time since 2011.

    “We’ve just been playing good ball,” Seager said. “Can’t say enough about what our pitching staff has been able to do and shut down some really good offenses and scored enough runs to win some games.”

    Baltimore won an AL-high 101 games and was never swept in a series during the regular season, but the surprise AL East champions are done after a sweep at the most inopportune time. The Orioles have lost eight playoff games in a row over the past 10 seasons.

    “Really proud of our group. They defied all the odds. Nobody gave us a chance,” Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde said. “These guys played their butts off for six months. We just didn’t play well for these last three, unfortunately.”

    Seager pulled a 445-foot drive into the right-field seats in the first inning, and García’s three-run homer – one the All-Star slugger admired while taking a few slow steps out of the batter’s box – made it 6-0 in the second to chase Orioles right-hander Dean Kremer, the Israeli-American pitcher making his first career postseason start.

    It was the first Rangers playoff game at Globe Life Field, the stadium that was brand new in 2020 when it hosted most of MLB’s neutral postseason during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The Dodgers spent most of that October there, and Seager was the MVP in both the NLCS and World Series. A year later, the shortstop went to Texas on a $325 million, 10-year deal and occupies the same locker he did during that most unusual postseason with limited attendance.

    With a full house for his first home playoff game with the Rangers, Seager sent the record sellout crowd of 40,861 into a frenzy when he connected in his first at-bat. He went deep seven times for the Dodgers here in 2020.

    Nathaniel Lowe also homered for Texas, a solo shot in the sixth. Lowe had led off the Rangers’ five-run second inning with a lineout to left, but that came on the 15th pitch of the at-bat after fouling off nine two-strike pitches.

    “I saw a team that was really motivated,” said Rangers manager Bruce Bochy, the three-time World Series champion with San Francisco now headed to his first ALCS. “The offense, everybody was doing something to contribute.”

    Seager is one of five Texas hitters who started for the AL squad in this year’s All-Star Game. That is quite a lineup for Bochy, who was hired last offseason by Rangers general manager Chris Young, one of the manager’s former pitchers in San Diego.

    Also an All-Star in his first season with the Rangers, Eovaldi has won both of their series-clinching games this postseason. Those are the right-hander’s longest and best two starts since returning in September after missing seven weeks because of a right forearm strain.

    Eovaldi threw 76 of his 98 pitches for strikes without a walk while allowing only one run. He was serenaded with chants of his name as he walked off the mound after the seventh – and then was pushed out of the dugout by a teammate to tip his cap to the crowd. He also won the Wild Card Series clincher at Tampa Bay last Wednesday.

    “Playoff pitcher,” Hyde said.

    José Leclerc got the final four outs, the first one with the bases loaded in the eighth when he induced an inning-ending groundout by pinch-hitter Aaron Hicks, who in the ninth inning of Game 2 had hit a three-run homer off him.

    Leclerc took over for hard-throwing Aroldis Chapman, who gave up a single and then a pair of two-out walks. Leclerc pitched a perfect ninth, setting off celebratory fireworks inside the ballpark when he struck out Jordan Westburg to end the game.

    Kremer’s 1⅔ innings marked his shortest outing all season. The 27-year-old wore a Star of David necklace as usual, with thoughts of extended family members in Israel, where war has been declared following a deadly incursion by the militant group Hamas. His mother was at the game.

    Kremer was 13-5 with a 4.12 ERA in 32 regular-season starts that included Baltimore’s two clinching games: Sept. 17 to secure a playoff spot, and 11 days later for the team’s 100th win to clinch the AL East.

    “We have a lot of guys who have never been to the postseason before. So this hurts, and it’s OK to hurt. It’s OK to have this kind of fuel your fire in the offseason. It’s going to take a while for us to get over this a little bit. But I think our guys will come in hunting and hungry in spring training,” Hyde said.

    “Now we have experience. This team going forward – heads up. It’s going to be a really good club.”


    With runners at second and third and two outs in the second inning, the Orioles opted to intentionally walk Seager. Mitch Garver, who hit a grand slam in Game 2, then hit a two-run double before García homered to make it 6-0.

    Seager also drew another walk in the fourth inning, making him the first player with nine walks in a three-game postseason stretch. That is one more than Barry Bonds in San Francisco’s four-game NLDS loss to Florida in 2003.

    Seager walked five times in Game 2 against Baltimore, the first player in postseason history with five in a single game.


    The Rangers wait to see if they will be going to Houston or Minnesota for Game 1 of the ALCS on Sunday.

    More to come on this story.

    ​ Orange County Register