Streaky Rangers suddenly headed wrong way again with Game 4 loss as Astros even ALCS

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Texas Rangers starting pitcher Andrew Heaney, center right, hands the ball to manager Bruce Bochy, left, after being pulled during the first inning in Game 4 of the baseball American League Championship Series against the Houston Astros Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vsquez)

ARLINGTON, Texas – The streaky Texas Rangers are suddenly headed the wrong way again.

The 10-3 loss to the Houston Astros in Game 4 on Thursday night that evened the AL Championship Series at 2-all was the second defeat in a row for Texas — both at home — after a 7-0 postseason start.

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Now Texas has to stop the Astros' seven-game winning streak at Globe Life Field in Game 5 on Friday, or the defending champs would go home needing one win for a third consecutive World Series trip.

Not that going home is much of a comfort for Houston, just 40-45 at Minute Maid Park, postseason included.

Neither home team has taken a lead in the first four games of the first postseason meeting between the instate AL West rivals.

Texas fell behind 3-0 as Andrew Heaney got just two outs in the shortest start of the 32-year-old left-hander's big league career. After Corey Seager's third-inning solo homer got Texas even, the Astros immediately scored four more, capped by José Abreu's three-run homer in the fourth.

The Rangers won the first two in Houston and matched the Astros' 7-0 start in the playoffs last year, when Houston won its second championship.

Now Texas is flirting with a fifth losing streak of at least three games since the All-Star break. It would match the number of winning streaks of at least six games in the same span.

The Rangers had a 20-game stretch in September when they lost four games in a row, won six, lost four and then won six more. That up-and-down stretch began with Houston sweeping Texas at Globe Life Field, hitting 16 homers while outscoring the Rangers 39-10.

Texas played six of its first seven games on the road this postseason, winning twice in Tampa Bay, Baltimore and Houston.

The Rangers are 1-2 at home in these playoffs, and 10-18 in franchise history. That .357 winning percentage is the third-lowest for the postseason in major league history.

Houston has never rallied from a 2-0 deficit, and will have Justin Verlander on the mound for the final game of the series in Arlington. It's a rematch with Jordan Montgomery from Texas' 2-0 win in Game 1.



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