Marcus Semien and his Texas Rangers got vengeance on Framber Valdez for early season beef with a four-run first inning that lifted them to a 2-0 lead in the ALCS.

Now they are just two wins away from a World Series berth and ending Dusty Baker’s shot at a repeat.


Semien sets the tone:


After going 0-for-4 in Game 1, including leaving five men on base, Marcus Semien was locked in from the first pitch of Monday afternoon’s contest in Houston as he shot a line drive single to Michael Brantley.

As if playoff motivation was not enough, Semien had been waiting since July 27th to get his lick back on opposing starting pitcher Framber Valdez. In that game, after the Rangers got to him, Valdez hit Semien with a fastball that appeared to be in retaliation for Yordan Alverez being plunked the inning before.



“It is always going to be in the back of my mind,” Semien told reporters after the game when asked if he took extra pride in beating Valdez.

“You are always going to remember that, but we still have a series to play.  We did what we needed to do to beat Framber but the rest of the pitching staff did well against us so we will look to make adjustments.”


That single kicked off what would be a four-run first inning that featured Semien scoring the first run on an errant throw by Valdez. After the team batted around, Semien would leadoff the second inning with a single and make himself the first player to hit the first pitch of the first two innings of a playoff game in Major League history.


He would finish the game 2-for-5 with two strikeouts and a line out.


Brantley was a bright spot in playoff return:


After missing the entire 2022 postseason run “Professional Hitter” Michael Brantley was inserted in the lineup by Baker to get some production out of the DH spot and he certainly delivered. Brantley went 2-for-3 with an RBI double in the 6th to make the score 5-3.


During batting practice, Brantley was seen getting tips from his father, former Major League player and hitting coach Mickey Brantley who has been Michael’s hitting coach since he came out of the womb.


Tough task for Dusty:


Baker and his Astros leave Houston with a sour taste in their mouths after dropping both of their first two home games and forfeiting home field advantage over. Teams down 0-2 lose the series 84% of the time so Houston will have their work cut out for them if they want to bring the series back to their home ballpark.

Keys for the Astros to climb out of this hole include Baker getting his star players going, Kyle Tucker, Jose Abreau, Jose Altuve and Jeremy Pena went a combined 0-for-16 in Game Two.



Also, those bullpen weapons at their disposal must be sharp for him in Arlington to give them a fighting chance.

Game Three will be played Wednesday night at 7PM. Central.

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