Jordan Montgomery Leads Rangers Past Astros In ALCS Opener
HOUSTON -- Jordan Montgomery came up big in the Texas Rangers' biggest game of the year, continuing a personal scoreless streak, helping his club to preserve a perfect postseason and, just maybe, earning a new nickname in the process.
Montgomery outdueled future Hall of Famer Justin Verlander on Sunday, tossing 6⅓ scoreless innings in Texas' 2-0 Game 1 victory over the defending champion Houston Astros in the American League Championship Series. The gem was Montgomery's second straight scoreless effort in the playoffs, as pitching remains the key to Texas' startling 6-0 postseason mark.
"If [starting] doesn't raise your game in the playoffs, I don't think you're doing it right," Montgomery said. "Obviously, I was super excited to take the ball tonight. And anytime I can give my team a chance to win, I'll do my best."
The Rangers, the AL's No. 5 seed, have opened each of their three playoff series on the road and won every Game 1, becoming just the fourth team to accomplish the feat. The Texas staff has posted a 1.83 team ERA during the spree and recorded four quality starts -- the most of any postseason team -- including two from Montgomery.
Everyone on the Texas side of Minute Maid Park was having fun after the Rangers grabbed the series lead against their cross-state nemesis. But the Rangers also know that the Astros, playing in their seventh consecutive ALCS, are not going to be daunted by one two-run loss.
"We've lost Game 1 of some playoff series before," Verlander said. "And that's the great thing about this team. Obviously, nobody is sitting in the locker room right now happy. But it's very matter-of-fact. OK, we just got punched. How do you answer?"
Game 2 for the Rangers and Astros is Monday afternoon on ESPN 102.3/AM 1000 KSOO. Framber Valdez will take the mound for Houston. Nathan Eovaldi gets the ball for Texas. The first pitch is 3:37 PM.
Game1 of the NLCS will follow as the Philadelphia Phillies send Zack Wheeler out against Zac Gallen of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
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