The Texas Rangers kept their dream of a first-ever World Series crown alive on Tuesday, defeating the Baltimore Orioles 7-1 to seal a 3-0 clean sweep of their American League Division Series.
Corey Seager, Adolis Garcia and Nathaniel Lowe all blasted home runs as the Rangers advanced to the AL Championship Series for the first time since 2011.
The Rangers are chasing a first ever Major League Baseball championship this postseason, aiming to remove themselves from the list of six clubs who have never won the World Series.
Texas reached the MLB showpiece in back-to-back seasons in 2010 and 2011 but lost on both occasions.
However they will head into the next round of the postseason brimming with confidence after a ruthless demolition job of top-seeded Baltimore, winners of an AL-best 101 games in the regular season.
Seager set Texas on the road to victory with a first inning home run before Garcia smacked a three-run shot to left center field in the second inning to put the hosts 6-0 up in Arlington.
Rangers starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi shut down the Baltimore bats, allowing just one run over seven innings while Lowe homered in the sixth inning to put the seal on the win.
Texas will face either the Houston Astros or Minnesota Twins in the ALCS for a place in the World Series.
Houston edged closer to setting up that all-Texas showdown earlier Tuesday as Jose Abreu smashed two home runs in a 9-1 rout of the Minnesota Twins. The Astros lead the best-of-five series 2-1.
Cuban slugger Abreu went deep in the first and ninth innings to help the reigning World Series champions claim an emphatic win at Minnesota’s Target Field.
Abreu’s three-run opening homer off Twins starter Sonny Gray flew 422 feet into left field, giving Houston a commanding 4-0 lead after Kyle Tucker had driven in a run earlier in the inning.
Astros star Alex Bregman then added to the Twins problems with a solo home run in the fifth inning to make it 5-0.
The Twins meanwhile were unable to find any way to trouble Astros starting pitcher Cristian Javier.
The Dominican ace fanned nine batters across five innings, allowing just one hit and no runs to set up the Houston win.
Bregman struck again in the sixth inning, with a sharp line drive allowing Jeremy Pena to score and make it 6-0.
Willi Castro finally got Minnesota on the board with a single to right field in the bottom of the sixth that allowed Carlos Correa to score, making it 6-1 .
But it was only a fleeting rally by Minnesota who were in trouble again in the ninth inning as the Astros bats unloaded on closer Bailey Ober.
Yordan Alvarez swatted a solo shot to right field to make it 7-1 and then Abreu uncorked his second homer to make it 9-1.
Houston can wrap up the series with victory in game four in Minneapolis on Wednesday.
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