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OVER THE MOON — Rangers stun Astros, make World Series


‘It’s going to be fun.’

ROB CARR/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE JOSE Leclerc celebrates after helping the Texas Rangers book an 11-4 victory over the Houston Astros to wrap up their American League Championship Series, 4-3.

PHILADELPHIA (AFP) — The Texas Rangers booked their place in the World Series with a stunning 11-4 thrashing of the defending champion Houston Astros in Major League Baseball’s playoffs.

Adolis Garcia blasted two home runs, with Corey Seager and Nathaniel Lowe also grabbing homers as Texas romped to a victory that completed its 4-3 American League Championship Series win.

The result means Texas will advance to the World Series for the first time since losing back-to-back appearances in the Fall Classic in 2010 and 2011.

The Rangers are one of six MLB teams never to win the World Series — but are now set to believe anything is possible after demolishing the Astros in ruthless fashion.

Houston had looked poised to return to the World Series for the fifth time since 2017 after overturning a 2-0 series deficit to lead 3-2 after Game 5 last week.

But Texas squared the series with a 9-2 victory on Sunday and then cut loose once more on Monday at Houston’s Minute Maid Park, leaving home fans stunned.

Rangers star Seager said Texas had never doubted their ability to win the final two games of the series in Houston to advance.

“This team’s tough,” Seager said.

“We were never out of it. We knew what we had in front of us and we took the opportunity.”

Texas will face either the Philadelphia Phillies or the Arizona Diamondbacks in Game 1 of the World Series on Friday.

Arizona kept their National League Championship Series against Philadelphia alive earlier Monday after pitcher Merrill Kelly delivered a gem in a 5-1 victory to force a winner-take-all Game 7.

Arizona right-hander Kelly struck out eight batters for just one run from a Phillies line-up that had not lost at home all postseason before Monday’s defeat at Citizens Bank Park.

Arizona will head into Tuesday’s decider in a confident mood after producing a disciplined performance to frustrate the Phillies’ attempt to wrap up the NLCS.

“It’s going to be fun,” Kelly said of Tuesday’s Game 7.

“The fact that we’re here — I don’t think anybody thought we would even take it to game six. I don’t think anybody even thought we would make it to game one… We’re going to enjoy it and take it all in, but we’re definitely coming out competitive and trying to win.”

The tone was set early with Arizona cutting loose in the top of the second inning after Tommy Pham and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. crushed back-to-back home runs off Aaron Nola to give the Diamondbacks a 2-0 lead before Evan Longoria’s sharp line drive allowed Alek Thomas to score to make it 3-0.

There were signs of a Phillies rally in the bottom of the inning when Brandon Marsh doubled for J.T. Realmuto to score to make it 3-1.

But Kelly then extricated himself from the jam, striking out Trea Turner with two runners stranded on base to end the inning.

With the Phillies continuing to struggle against Kelly, the Diamondbacks kept the score ticking over with Ketel Marte’s triple, allowing Corbin Carroll to score for a 4-1 lead.

Marte then drove in another run in the seventh inning to send Geraldo Perdomo home, leaving Arizona 5-1 up heading into the late stages.

The Diamondbacks’ bullpen continued to bottle up the Phillies offense, with reliever Kevin Ginkel wrapping up the eighth inning with a minimum of fuss to preserve Arizona’s four-run cushion heading to the ninth.


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