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    ALDS: Rangers edge Orioles to capture Game 1
    • October 7, 2023

    BALTIMORE — Andrew Heaney and Dane Dunning helped Texas reach the sixth inning with a lead, and the Rangers’ maligned bullpen held on through some anxious moments for a 3-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles in Game 1 of their AL Division Series on Saturday.

    Josh Jung homered and made a nice play at third base to start a critical double play for Texas, which improved to 3-0 in these playoffs – all on the road.

    After squandering a chance to win the AL West on the final day of the regular season, the wild-card Rangers entered the postseason without Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer and with a bullpen largely considered a weak link, but they’ve allowed only three runs in three games against the Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays.

    Heaney held Baltimore to a run and two hits in 3 2/3 innings. Dunning relieved him and went two innings for the win, allowing a run in the sixth. Will Smith, Josh Sborz, Aroldis Chapman and José Leclerc combined for the final 10 outs – but not without some drama.

    Sborz threw seven straight balls to start the seventh but pitched around a leadoff walk. Chapman walked the first two batters in the eighth before Jung ranged to his left and snagged Anthony Santander’s high bouncer on a short hop to start a 5-4-3 double play. Chapman then struck out Ryan Mountcastle with a runner on third to end the inning.

    Leclerc earned the save, although he allowed a leadoff single in the ninth to Gunnar Henderson. All-Star catcher Jonah Heim threw out Henderson trying to steal second, and the Orioles didn’t manage another baserunner.

    Kyle Bradish struck out nine in 4 2/3 innings for the Orioles but allowed two runs in the fourth to take the loss. Jung and Santander traded solo homers in the sixth.

    Texas has been without deGrom for a while, and the Rangers left Scherzer off their ALDS roster Saturday because of shoulder problems that have kept him out since mid-September. So far, however, the Rangers’ pitching has held up.

    Jordan Montgomery and Nathan Eovaldi kept the Rays at bay in the Wild Card Series, and then the Heaney-Dunning tandem gave the Rangers a chance to win again.

    The Orioles won 101 games and a division title this year, but it’s been a rough start to the playoffs for the AL East. Tampa Bay and Toronto were swept in the first round, and now Baltimore is trailing after its postseason opener.

    This was the first playoff game at Camden Yards since 2014, and a crowd packed with orange-clad fans saw former Orioles star Adam Jones throw out the first pitch and longtime fan Joan Jett sing the national anthem. Bradish struck out five in the first two innings to keep the mood festive.

    Adolis García and Evan Carter hit consecutive doubles to put Texas up 1-0 in the fourth, and Heim followed with an RBI single.

    Mountcastle hit a run-scoring double for the Orioles in the bottom of the inning, but Dunning came in and held the lead.

    Texas was clinging to a 3-2 advantage in the seventh when Sborz issued a leadoff walk to Aaron Hicks on four pitches. The right-hander then battled back from a 3-0 count and retired Adam Frazier on a flyball.

    Sborz struck out Cedric Mullins and pinch-hitter Ryan O’Hearn to end the inning.

    The Rangers missed a chance to break open the game earlier. After scoring two runs in the fourth, they had the bases loaded and two outs when Bradish struck out Marcus Semien. Texas left 10 runners on base in all.


    Rangers: Texas remains without Scherzer in this series, even after he faced hitters at Friday’s workout. He hasn’t pitched since Sept. 12.

    Orioles: Baltimore had to leave LHP John Means – who was a possible candidate to start Game 3 – off the roster because of elbow soreness.


    Montgomery is set to start Game 2 for the Rangers on Sunday against Baltimore rookie Grayson Rodriguez. Montgomery pitched seven scoreless innings against the Rays last round. Rodriguez posted a 2.58 ERA after the All-Star break.

    ​ Orange County Register