Happy Friday, Athletics Nation!
Both the Texas Rangers and Philadelphia Phillies saw opportunities to finish Thursday just one win away from a World Series berth as the day’s League Championship Series action convened. However, neither team succeeded, leaving both league pennants up for grabs rather than putting the Houston Astros and Arizona Diamondbacks up against the ropes.
The Diamondbacks managed to claw one back from the seemingly unstoppable Phillies in a nail-biter of a Game 3 of the NLCS by a score of 2-1. D-backs starting pitcher Brandon Pfaadt put on a second consecutive master class on the mound, holding the Phils to just two hits through 5⅔ innings and striking out nine.
Brandon Pfaadt is the first pitcher in postseason history with no runs allowed AND no walks in consecutive starts https://t.co/dHci1ZEbaE— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) October 20, 2023
Phillies starter Ranger Suárez went toe-to-toe with Pfaadt with a gem of his own, and the game was scoreless through six innings. Each team put up a run in the seventh, and the tie would not be broken until the bottom of the ninth, when D-backs second baseman Ketel Marte finally walked it off with a single off Phillies closer Craig Kimbrel as Pavin Smith scored the winning run.
KETEL MARTE WALKS OFF THE PHILLIES pic.twitter.com/W5dfherMHA— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) October 19, 2023
Marte bolstered a fine postseason run with yesterday’s game-winning RBI: he’s batting .371 with a 1.046 OPS in the playoffs, and went 3-for-5 yesterday when his team desperately needed it. Thursday’s win keeps the D-backs right in it, trailing the series 2-1 instead of being on the brink of elimination.
While Marte and the D-backs celebrated their victory at home, the Astros won a second consecutive game in Arlington to tie up the ALCS between Houston and the Rangers at two games apiece.
The Astros started their big offensive night early, scoring three runs in the first as Rangers starting pitcher Andrew Heaney left the game after securing just two outs.
The Rangers had it tied up at 3-3 by the third inning, thanks to home runs from outfielder Adolis García and shortstop Corey Seager, but the Astros rocketed right back with four more runs in the fourth, enabling them to coast to a 10-3 victory. The visiting team has won all four games of this series so far.
Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, Jose Abreu, and Chas McCormick all batted in multiple runs as the Astros recaptured home field advantage in the best-of-seven series.
Both series continue today in Arlington and Phoenix. I dare say, “Go Rangers!”
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Best of X:
Gelof turns 24.
Sympathies to A’s beat writer Martín Gallegos.