We can pin this Orioles loss on them issuing so many walks. You just can't give a team like the Rangers so many free baserunners.
2023 MLB playoffs: Rangers hold onto 2-0 ALDS lead over Orioles thanks to Mitch Garver grand slam
Baltimore's lineup put up a strong fight, taking the game down to the ninth inning, but couldn't pull it off
The Texas Rangers defeated the Baltimore Orioles late afternoon Sunday, 11-8, to take a commanding lead in the ALDS. The Rangers are up 2-0 in the best-of-five series that now heads back to Texas for Game 3 and, if necessary, Game 4.
Rangers dominate at the plate
As the score indicates, the Rangers feasted offensively in Game 2. After leaving the bases loaded in the first inning and then falling behind 2-0, the Rangers put up five runs in the second. In the third, they totally busted the game open with Mitch Garver's grand slam:
In all, the Rangers collected 11 hits and while their power during the regular season was a calling card, they had eight singles in this one. They used all fields and fought off high fastballs throughout the game. It was an impressive approach that led to them having so much traffic. They actually left nine runners on base, believe it or not.
Yeah, as part of that, we should mention the jaw-dropping stat of the game. Rangers hitters accepted 11 walks from Orioles' pitchers, including a postseason-record five walks for Corey Seager.
The grand slam will garner headlines and rightfully so, but the Rangers gave a complete hitting performance between that shot, the eight singles and the 11 walks. It was an offensive clinic.
Montgomery not good, but Bradford shines
Despite being spotted five runs before the third inning and nine before the fourth, Rangers starter Jordan Montgomery -- who had been nails lately, including with seven scoreless innings in Game 1 of the Wild Card Series -- wasn't very good in this one. He routinely missed his spots and fell behind Orioles' hitters. With this kind of run support, surely Rangers manager Bruce Bochy would've loved to get his starter much deeper into the game than 12 outs.
Alas, Montgomery just didn't have it and was removed after giving up a home run and single to start the fifth.
Still, the Rangers didn't have to dip very deep into their bullpen thanks to a strong effort from reliever Cody Bradford. The rookie lefty had a 5.30 ERA in 56 innings this season. Within the last few weeks of the season, the Angels and Guardians teed off on him for six runs apiece (the Guardians in three innings while the Angels needed four).
The Orioles threatened to get back into the game Sunday and Bradford just totally shut the discussion down for three innings. In the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, Bradford allowed just one hit without giving up any runs. He did cough up two hits in the eighth, but stretching him that far was probably wishful thinking by Bochy with that five-run lead. It didn't matter anyway; Josh Sborz relieved Bradford and needed only one pitch to end the inning.
Signs of life from Orioles' offense
The Orioles' offense was mostly dead in Game 1, but the same can't be said for Game 2, even if it wasn't enough. Baltimore actually out-hit the Rangers, putting up 14 hits but only bringing eight around to score. Among those hits was a home run by Gunnar Henderson, joining Manny Machado and Ryan Flaherty as the only Orioles rookies to ever homer in a playoff game. It should also be noted that shortstop Jorge Mateo was 4 for 4 with two doubles in his first career playoff start.
The issue was the Orioles went 3 for 13 with runners in scoring position and left nine on base. Well, that and the Rangers' offense going crazy. The bottom line is having so much traffic on the bases is a good thing moving forward.
It's a hard sell down two games to none in a series and needing to string together three straight wins to advance, but if you're talking to the Orioles' clubhouse right now, the message is that the tide is about to turn. Perhaps they'll feel less pressure away from home? Sure, go with that, too.
Rangers win 11-8
Texas will return home with a 2-0 advantage in the best-of-five series. The Orioles, 101-game winners during the regular season, are in danger of being eliminated without notching a postseason victory.
Orioles down to their last out
No one is on. Three-run deficit. It's up to Cedric Mullins to keep them going.
Hicks with a three-run shot
It's now 11-8 Rangers with one out in the ninth.
How about one more pitching change for the road?
Leclerc is entering. Perhaps to Seek and Destroy, even.
Orioles have something brewing
Two on with one out. Brock Burke is pitching, but Jose Leclerc is warm.
We have reached the Mattalica part of the live blog, folks.
You know what would be a good walk-up song? Seek and Destroy
HEY!!! Enter Sandman in the background!
Corey Seager makes MLB history
The Rangers drew 11 walks in Game 2 of the ALDS against the Orioles and one player in particular did some heavy lifting on that stat line. Rangers shortstop Corey Seager hit second in a game where his team scored 11 runs and here was his traditional box score line:
The trained, old-school baseball eye will note that it means Seager went 0 for 1 and scored twice. He actually had six plate appearances. He drew five walks!
The five walks are a playoff record. That is, never in Major League Baseball history had a player ever had a five-walk game until Seager pulled it off Sunday in Baltimore.
Call it a fun fact, a nugget, a trivia question or whatever else you want, but we've never seen it before.
We head to the bottom of the ninth
Rangers lead 11-5. A 2-0 series advantage is very much within reach.
Semien grounds out, but the run scores
It's now 11-5 Rangers with two outs in the top of the ninth.
Rangers have a runner on third with one out
Top of the order due up. Looking for that all-important 11th run.
What a 2-0 lead means
Texas is three outs away from putting the Orioles on the brink of elimination as the series shifts to Arlington. According to our research, just 10 (out of 148 teams) in MLB history have won a best-of-five series after falling behind 0-2. Just three of those 10 did it after losing those first two games at home. That does not bode well for the Orioles if they can't muster a miracle rally in the ninth.
Mountcastle grounds out
One pitch from Sborz sends us to the ninth. It's still 10-5 Rangers.
Sborz is in
Bradford is responsible for the two runners on. Went 3 2/3 innings.
Rutschman with a double to right
Mateo is held at third. Orioles have two in scoring position with two down.
Mateo now 4 for 4
Two outs here in the eighth, however, so the Orioles will need to work quickly to cash in on his latest.
Bradford back out for the eighth
This would be his fourth inning.
Rangers have a baserunner to begin the eighth.
Bradford completes his third inning
That may seem trivial in a five-run game, but the Rangers' bullpen is thin and he's helped minimize their exposure.
This game slowed down enough for me to drift into thinking about Chad Bradford. We need more submariners.
I only saw part of it. Whatever.
Didn't see it. Nothing to say.
That OU-Texas game was wild yesterday.
Bradford still in there
Rangers have put a lot of faith in their rookies this series. Carter, Jung, and now Bradford are making good on it, too.
It indeed appears that Twins hurler Pablo López is in attendance for his Game 2 start against the Astros:
We're through six
Still 10-5 Rangers.
Still 10-5 entering the bottom of the sixth
Bradford back on the bump. Mateo and then the top of the order due up.
Not to sound like a league stan but
It's the top of the sixth and we're 2:30 into this game. And yet it hasn't felt like it's dragging. That's mostly because of the constant offense, obviously, but there's no lollygagging around.