The American League will go through Texas. After a grueling regular season and a stressful postseason, the two remaining AL teams — the Houston Astros and the Texas Rangers — both hail from the Lone Star state.
They reached this point in the season in vastly different ways. The Rangers rose back to prominence this year after flexing their financial muscles. Marcus Semien and Corey Seager were brought in on mega deals before the 2022 season, but that didn't stop the team from acquiring Max Scherzer and his big 2024 salary at the trade deadline.
The Astros spend money, too, but the team has mostly been a consistent contender thanks to its homegrown core. Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve, Kyle Tucker and Yordan Alvarez once again find themselves excelling this postseason.
On Sunday, Jordan Montgomery and Justin Verlander both logged excellent starts for their teams, but it was the Rangers who emerged victorious in a low-scoring affair, thanks to some excellent defense from young superstar Evan Carter.
See below for news, scores and highlights from ALCS Game 1.
And that's the game. After a wild eighth inning, Rangers closer José Leclerc posted a 1-2-3 effort in the ninth to secure the 2-0 win for a 1-0 Texas lead in the ALCS. Jordan Montgomery picks up the victory after a stellar 6 1/3 inning on the mound.
After a Jose Altuve walk, Evan Carter makes a ridiculous catch on an Alex Bregman fly ball in the farthest corner of left field and then throws to the infield for a double-play on Altuve.
Rangers go down 1-2-3 in the top of the eighth. Still 2-0 Texas.
Jordan Montgomery exits after 6 1/3 innings: 5 hits, 6 strikeouts, 1 walk, zero runs allowed.
Neris gets Marcus Semien to pop out, and the inning is over. Rangers, 2-0 in the seventh.
Justin Verlander is done after 6 2/3 innings. A Leody Taveras single to put runners on first and second with two outs ended his day. A strong outing from Verlander, but he leaves in line to take the loss.
Final line: 6 2/3 innings pitched, 6 hits, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts and 2 earned runs. Rangers lead, 2-0. Hector Neris takes over on the mound.
Montgomery counters with a 1-2-3 inning of his own. Pitching a shutout through six. 2-0, Rangers.