Astros handle Rangers’ Max Scherzer, halve ALCS deficit

Oct 18, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA; Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve (27) celebrates with third baseman Alex Bregman (2) after a solo home run during the third inning of game three of the ALCS against the Texas Rangers in the 2023 MLB playoffs at Globe Life Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Dieb-USA TODAY Sports

Martin Maldonado and Yordan Alvarez each hit a two-run single and the Houston Astros tightened up the American League Championship Series with an 8-5 victory over the Texas Rangers in Game 3 on Wednesday at Arlington, Texas.

Jose Altuve smacked his 25th career postseason homer and Cristian Javier went 5 2/3 innings in his latest strong postseason outing as Houston cut its deficit to 2-1 in the best-of-seven series. Mauricio Dubon had three hits for the Astros.

Josh Jung hit a pair of two-run homers for the Rangers, who lost for the first time in eight games this postseason.

Game 4 is Thursday night in Arlington.

Javier (2-0) gave up two runs, three hits and one walk while striking out three. He recorded 14 outs before allowing Texas’ first hit.

The runs were the first Javier has allowed in four career postseason starts. He has given up just five hits in 22 innings during those outings.

Ryan Pressly worked around a leadoff walk in the ninth for his third save of this postseason and 14th of his career.

Rangers starter Max Scherzer (0-1) allowed five runs and five hits in four innings in his first outing since Sept. 12. Scherzer, who had been sidelined due to a teres major muscle strain in his right (pitching) shoulder, struck out four and walked one.

Houston took its first lead of the series with a three-run second inning.

The Astros loaded the bases with two outs before Scherzer bounced a slider for a wild pitch and Alvarez scored from third. On the next pitch, Maldonado ripped a single to left to score two more.

In the third, Altuve recorded his first hit of the series, a leadoff homer to left-center to make it 4-0.

Houston added another run off Scherzer in the fourth when Jose Abreu doubled and scored on Dubon’s single to center.

Nathaniel Lowe singled with two outs in the fifth for the Rangers’ first hit off Javier. Jung followed with a blast to right center to cut Texas’ deficit to 5-2.

The Astros added on in the seventh when Alvarez hit a two-run single against Will Smith.

Lowe and Jung were at it again in the seventh. Lowe singled with two outs off Hector Neris, and Jung followed with a two-run shot to center to pull the Rangers within 7-4. It was Jung’s third career postseason homer.

Jeremy Pena hit an RBI single in the eighth for Houston. Adolis Garcia answered with a run-scoring single in the bottom of the inning for Texas.

–Field Level Media

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