Dusty Baker’s Boyz get in the win column in Game 3 of the American League Championship series with an 8-5 road victory Wednesday night thanks to the help of a few lineup tweaks and a Michael Brantley game-saving catch.
Meanwhile for the Rangers, they are in need of a hero in the form of their leadoff hitter who needs to step up at the plate for the remainder of the series.
Dusty Baker Gets 55th Playoff Win
Dropping the first two games of a best-of-seven series at home was not the most ideal way for Baker to complete his task of returning to the World Series for a second straight season.
To help spark the Astros, he made some changes to the lineup which included moving Michael Brantley up to second in the order while dropping Kyle Tucker down and adding utility man Mauricio Dubon, who is hitting over .500 this postseason to the lineup.
The bottom four of the order for Houston, which included both Tucker and Dubon combined to go 6-for-14 for a .429 average with four RBI and four runs scored.
The wily veteran manager used both his best relievers to close out the game and announced he would start Jose Uriquidy on the mound for Game Four of the series Thursday at 7 P.M. Central.
Uncle Mike Used All The Gas Left In The Tank
Although “Uncle Mike” was 0-for-5 at the plate Wednesday, his running catch in the bottom of the sixth inning saved the game for Houston. With two outs and a runner on second in a 5-2 game, 36-year-old Brantley chased down a line drive in the left centerfield gap to prevent extra bases and keep momentum in the Astros dugout.
“I did not think I had it,” Brantley said in his postgame interview.
“I could have taken a better angle, but it feels good to make that play for the team and get the win. We need to keep playing well, it is a good first step but we need to come out tomorrow and do it again.”
SOS For Marcus Semien:
It is now or never for Marcus Semien to get going at the plate and help get the Texas Rangers to their first World Series since 2011.
Semien is hitting just .171 in the postseason after going 0-for-3 with a walk and run scored on Wednesday.
He is popping up at a high rate and despite his multi-hit effort in Game Two, he has not been the same guy who is likely to win the American League Silver Slugger Award for second baseman.
If these struggles continue into Thursday night and the Rangers do not receive a big game from the best leadoff hitter in franchise history, this series will be the center of the baseball world going into the weekend if it is tied at 2-2.