Eovaldi remains perfect, Rangers slug their way to 9-2 win over Astros to force Game 7 in ALCS

Houston Astros' Kyle Tucker can't catch a two run home run hit by Texas Rangers' Jonah Heim during the fourth inning of Game 6 of the baseball AL Championship Series Sunday in Houston. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)

HOUSTON — Nathan Eovaldi remained perfect this postseason, and Mitch Garver and Jonah Heim homered early before a ninth-inning grand slam by Adolis García helped the Texas Rangers avoid elimination with a 9-2 win over the Houston Astros in Game 6 of the AL Championship Series on Sunday night.

The road team has won every game in this series going into the decisive Game 7 on Monday night in Houston. Cristian Javier is scheduled to pitch for the Astros against three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer. Javier beat Scherzer in Game 3 at Texas.

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Eovaldi, who also won Game 2, yielded five hits and two runs in 6 1/3 innings to improve to 4-0 with a 2.42 ERA in the playoffs this year. The wild-card Rangers, one of six major league teams without a World Series title, need one win to return to the Fall Classic for the first time since back-to-back trips in 2010-11.

“I’m just proud of how these guys keep bouncing back,” Texas manager Bruce Bochy said.

The defending World Series champion Astros were again felled by a subpar start from Framber Valdez and lackluster play at home. Valdez was charged with five hits and three runs with six strikeouts in five innings to fall to 0-3 with a 9.00 ERA this postseason.

The Rangers led by two before a breaking the game open with a five-run ninth, punctuated by the slam from García, who struck out his previous four times up. The slugger was booed throughout the game after being at the center of a bench-clearing scuffle in Game 5 after being hit by a pitch from Bryan Abreu.

When García knocked a pitch from Ryne Stanek into the Crawford Boxes in left field with one out in the ninth, many of those fans began streaming for the exits after yet another poor home showing by Houston.

The Astros, who are 5-0 on the road this postseason, won three in a row in Arlington wearing their orange jerseys to move within a win of reaching their third consecutive World Series. But it didn’t help them carry their road magic home as they fell to 1-4 in Houston this postseason after posting a 39-42 mark at Minute Maid Park in the regular season.

No team with a losing record at home has ever reached the World Series.

This series joins the 2019 World Series, which Houston lost to Washington in seven games, as the only best-of-seven series in postseason history in which the road team won the first six games.

Houston led by one after a first-inning RBI single by Yordan Alvarez. Garver tied it on his solo shot to start the second.

Heim connected off Valdez for the second time this series with a two-run shot with two outs in the fourth that put Texas on top 3-1.

“I think seven out of their nine runs scored were on homers. So you’ve really got to keep them in the ballpark,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said.

Houston got within 3-2 on a sacrifice fly by Mauricio Dubón in the sixth. But the Rangers got some insurance from an RBI double by Garver with one out in the eighth off Abreu.

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