Here’s a fair question: would the Astros’ magic from Game 3 of the American League Championship Series hold over into Game 4?

Both Houston and the Rangers got that answer throughout Thursday evening when the Astros strung together 10 runs while the bullpen kept Texas bats in check.

In the end, Houston turned a 0-2 ALCS into a tied series after earning the 10-3 win.

‘Stros come out swinging

Houston Astros’ Alex Bregman, right, hits a two-run triple as Texas Rangers catcher Jonah Heim reaches for the pitch on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023, in Arlington, Texas.AP Photo/Godofredo A. Våsquez

The ‘Stros strung together four hits through their first four batters – including a Jose Altuve double, a Mauricio Dubon single, an Alex Bregman RBI triple, and a Yordan Alvarez RBI single – to score three runs before the first out was recorded in the first inning.

The Rangers were expected to use a platoon of bullpen arms in Game 4, starting with Andrew Heaney, who got the hook after the game’s first two outs and saw seven batters, five of whom got on base.

Houston continued the threat with bases loaded in the same inning, but Texas relief pitcher Dane Dunning struck out Martin Maldonado to strike out the side and hold Houston’s lead to 3-0.

Texas erases the lead

After a scoreless top of the second inning for the ‘Stros, the Rangers got on the scoreboard in the bottom half with Adolis Garcia’s first home run of the ALCS off of Jose Urquidy, who had begun the game retiring the first three Texas batters in the first inning.

The Rangers weren’t done. After a Mitch Garver walk and a Natahaniel Lowe double, Josh Jung hit a sacrifice fly to deep left field to further cut into the lead. However, Urquidy and the Astros escaped the second inning with a 3-2 lead.

After another scoreless Astros inning in the third inning, the Rangers knotted things up at 3-3 in the bottom half when Corey Seager launched a fly ball that left the yard in left center.

After back-to-back hits, Urquidy exited the game, leaving two runners on and one out in the third inning, which ended with Houston reliever Ryne Stanek inducing a double play without further damage.

Astros break Game 4 wide open

So, both teams reset with a new game in the fourth inning, when the Astros returned to a familiar scenario – bases loaded. After new Texas pitcher Cody Bradford retired Alex Bregman for the first out, Yordan Alvarez stepped up and crushed a deep fly ball to untie the game. Unfortunately, Alvarez drove in just one run on a sacrifice fly to give Houston the lead again, 4-3.

While no grand slam was earned, Jose Abreu made sure Houston got the rest of the runs when, in the next at-bat, he crushed a three-run homer to left center, extending the lead 7-3.

Astros’ Jose Abreu (79) hits a three-run home run off Texas Rangers pitcher Cody Bradford (61) during the fourth inning in Game 4 of the ALCS, Oct. 19, 2023, in Arlington, Texas.AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez

An interesting sequence unfolded in the bottom of the fifth inning, when, with Rangers runners on first and second bases, Abreu caught a sharply hit liner for the first out and swiped at Marcus Semien stretching out to get back to first. Originally ruled safe, a replay challenge overturned the call when officials saw Abreu’s glove contact Semien’s batting gloves hanging out of his backpocket. The Astros finished the inning, maintaining the four-run lead.

Chas chomps out a homer

After a scoreless sixth inning, Houston got chompin’. With a runner on, Chas McCormick joined in the home-run parade by blasting a 392-foot bomb off of former Astros pitcher Will Smith. The Astros extended the lead, 9-3.

One more run would be added in the eighth inning when Alvarez drove in Altuve, who was originally awarded a home run but had it overturned after replay. Houston widened the lead, 10-3.

Rafael Montero was given the ninth inning with a seven-run cushion, which he comfortably got through, ending the ball game.

The win now guarantees the series returns to Houston for at least Game 6.

MMP open for Game 5 watch party

You can claim a $2 voucher for the Game 5 watch party at Minute Maid Park on the ‘Stros website.

Game 5 is on Friday, and the watch party begins at 2 p.m. for a 4:07 p.m. first-pitch.

The ballpark won’t allow in any more fans 90 minutes after first pitch.

2023 ALCS schedule and results: Series tied 2-2

Houston Astros’ Jose Altuve, left, celebrates after hitting a home run as Texas Rangers catcher Jonah Heim kneels behind home plate on Oct. 18, 2023, in Arlington, Texas.AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vasquez
  • Game 1: Rangers 2, Astros 0
  • Game 2: Rangers 5, Astros 4
  • Game 3: Astros 8, Rangers 4
  • Game 4: Astros 10, Rangers 3
  • Game 5: Astros at Rangers, Friday, 4:07 p.m.
  • Game 6: Rangers at Astros, Sunday, 7:03 p.m.
  • Game 7: Rangers at Astros, Monday, Oct. 23, 7:03 p.m.*

* – if necessary

All times are Central Time.

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