With the world’s worst bullpen, how many 2-0 wins did the Rangers have during the regular season?
You might be surprised.
Five. (They didn’t have a 1-0 shutout.)
So, last night’s 2-0 shutout of the Houston Astros in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series wasn’t unprecedented. But it sure was welcome.
The Rangers faced future Hall of Famer Justin Verlander, getting a run in the second and a run in the fifth. The way Jordan Montgomery pitched, that was enough.
It wasn’t easy but it was enough.
After turning a single into a double in the second, enabling him to scoot home on a Jonah Heim single, Evan Carter made a heart stopping catch in the eighth inning. Josh Sborz had committed the cardinal sin of walking the leadoff hitter in the eighth. With the pesky Jose Altuve now on first, Bruce Bochy called on Human Lighter Fluid Aroldis Chapman. Chapman threw a first pitch ball, got a strike for the second pitch, threw another one out of the strike zone, and needed a miracle not to torch the game. He got it on the next pitch.
Alex Bregman hit what looked like the game-tying home run to left but Evan Carter plucked it out of the air before it hit the left field wall, saving at the very least a run-scoring extra-base hit.
Jose Altuve thought so, too, having rounded second on his way to scoring the Astros first run. But when he saw Carter catch it, he headed back to first. Only, he forgot to retouch second. The Rangers got the ball back in, stepped on second, the umpire signaled Altuve had re-touched, but the replay proved he, in fact, had not.
Double play. Miracle granted. Chapman is saved once again. He got Yordan Alverez to ground out to first.
Leclerc retired all three batters in the ninth.
Texas wins 2-0.
The Rangers walked off with a Game 1 win in Houston on the legs and glove of Evan Carter and the arm of Jordan Montgomery and the forgetfulness of Jose Altuve.