ARLINGTON, Texas - The Houston Astros continued their dominance of the Texas Rangers in Arlington on Wednesday night.
The Astros beat the Rangers 8-5 in Game 3 of the ALCS.
The Rangers still lead the series 2-1.
Max Scherzer, who was making his first pitching appearance since Sept. 12, appeared rusty in the 4 innings of work.
After a clean first from the Rangers ace, Houston started the scoring in the second inning.
Scherzer threw a wild pitch allowing Yordan Alvarez, who reached base when he was hit with a pitch, to score.
Martin Maldonado then drove home two more runs with a single to increase the lead to 3-0.
Astros second baseman Jose Altuve homered in the third to bring the score to 4-0.
In the fourth inning, the Astros plated their fifth run when Mauricio Dubón drove in Jose Abreu.
Scherzer was removed from the game after the 4th inning.
ARLINGTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 18: Josh Jung #6 of the Texas Rangers hits a two run home run against Cristian Javier #53 of the Houston Astros during the fifth inning in Game Three of the American League Championship Series at Globe Life Field on October
Rangers rookie Josh Jung hit his first of two 2-run homers in the 5th inning off of Astros starter Cristian Javier.
Javier hadn't given up a hit until the 5th.
ARLINGTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 18: Leody Taveras #3 of the Texas Rangers catches a pop up fly hit by Yordan Alvarez #44 of the Houston Astros during the sixth inning in Game Three of the American League Championship Series at Globe Life Field on October
In one of the most exciting moments of the night Rangers' centerfielder Leody Tavares leaped to robbed a sure home run off the bat of Yordan Alvarez in the top of the 6th.
Alvarez got his revenge in the top of the 7th when he drove in two runs with a single to extend Houston's lead to 7-2.
Jung hit his second two-run homer of the night in the bottom of the 7th.
Houston and Texas each scored a run in the 8th.
Ryan Pressly, who attended high school at Flower Mound Marcus in Denton County, closed things out for the save.
The official attendance for the game was listed at 42,368, a new record for a game at Globe Life Field.
The Rangers will look to bounce back in Game 4 on Thursday.
First pitch is set for 7:03 p.m.
Creed attends ALCS Game 3
Creed, the rock band that gives the Rangers a boost of motivation with their song "Higher," was at Globe Life Field Wednesday night.
The crowd sang along with the song, then cheered when the band appeared on the big screen wearing Rangers jerseys.
The band's lead singer said he's thankful the team and fans have embraced them.
Ian Kinsler throws out First Pitch in Israel Jersey
Texas Rangers great Ian Kinsler threw out the ceremonial first pitch for Game 3 to his former teammate Derek Holland.
Kinsler came to the mound wearing a Texas Rangers hat and a Team Israel jersey.
Kinsler managed Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic in 2023.
Max Scherzer starts Game 3
It was a tough night for Rangers ace Max Scherzer. He gave up five runs in four innings.
But Scherzer was back on the mound for the first time since straining a muscle in his shoulder on Sept. 12.
"I tried to get it going, and I could feel that I wasn't going to be able to throw another baseball," Scherzer said about his injury.
At the time, many expected him to miss the rest of the season. But this isn't some mortal. It's the guy they call ‘Mad Max.' A future Hall of Famer who is 11th all-time in strikeouts.
"I took one day to feel bad about it, and then the next day I was back to grind," Scherzer said.
Now 36 days later, he's on the mound in time for one of the most important Rangers games of the season.
"I want to pitch. I want the ball. That's how I tick," said Scherzer. "You can never quit in baseball. You can never try to predict baseball. You gotta go out there and every single day and do something about it."
Not mortal does not mean invincible.
Scherzer's teammates gave him this opportunity by taking down a pair of 100-win teams, giving him just enough time to be healthy enough to take on this moment.
Going into the game, Scherzer said he wasn't sure if he'd be wild and rusty, or if he'd hurt himself again.
"I have no experience of coming off the injured list after a month off and trying to make a playoff start," Scherzer opined. "No one really knows."
Scherzer has pitched the 12th most playoff innings of all time, but has not had a winning decision in 5 straight playoff starts.
His last victory during the 2019 World Series helped the Washington Nationals win their first-ever title over the Houston Astros.
"All these postseason starts are precious," he said. "You're playing for a ring. When you get to this point of the year, like I said, this is what you dream of. This is all the sacrifices you make in your life, all the hard work you put throughout the offseason is to get to this moment, to get to this spot. So, here we are."
Evan Carter hitting third
Rangers rookie Evan Carter was back in the lineup after sitting for the first part of Game 2 in Houston.
Carter has been a star since he was called up to the bigs late in the season but has struggled against left-handed pitching.
Bruce Bochy opted to go with switch-hitter Robbie Grossman over Carter against lefty Framber Valdez in Game 2.
With a righty on the mound, Carter was back in the lineup and made some big plays.
For most of the season with the Rangers Carter has hit ninth. On Wednesday, he hit third.
Jose LeClerc providing stability in the bullpen
HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 16: Jose Leclerc #25 and Jonah Heim #28 of the Texas Rangers celebrate after defeating the Houston Astros in Game Two of the American League Championship Series at Minute Maid Park on October 16, 2023 in Houston, Texas. (Phot
The Rangers bullpen was unreliable for most of the first six months of this season.
Now in the postseason, it seems like they've found a reliable closer.
Texas blew 30 saves this season, more than any playoff team ever.
Will Smith was the closer for most of the year but struggled late.
That opened the door for Jose LeClerc, the longest-tenured Ranger, to step up.
LeClerc started the year in a closer role, but blew 2 of his first 3 save chances and had an ERA over 6.
He lost the job but won it back and made history in the process.
LeClerc is now the first player in postseason history to finish the first 7 games of a team's playoff run.
Despite being with the Rangers since 2016, this was LeClerc's first taste of the postseason.
He's 3 for 3 on saves with a 1.23 ERA.
"I never really thought I would pitch the way I'm pitching right now, you know, it's something that I've worked for this whole time to get to this point, but I just think it's something I'm appreciative that I'm pitching the way that I'm doing right now," LeClerc said through a translator.
Not only has LeClerc been great, he's allowed other relievers to stabilize their roles.
In the regular season, the Texas bullpen had an ERA of 4.77.
In the playoffs, they've dropped that number to 2.01.
What channel is the Rangers game on tonight?
Games 3, 4 and 5 of the ALCS will all air FS1.
You can also stream the games for free on the FOX Sports app.
A TV provider is required to watch the games.