Game 2 Insanity: The greatest win in Astros’ history


This was the ultimate. This was the absolute, OMG, wake grandpa the house is on fire, barn burner (the barn is on fire too) of a 7-6, eleventh inning Astros come from behind, fall from ahead, surge back ahead, hang on to your seats, see-saw win.

The Astros had started the Red Sox series with two identical 8-2 victories. They then started the Yankees series with two identical 2-1 victories. Seven innings into the second game, it appeared the Astros were going to start the Dodgers’ series with two discouraging 3-1 losses.

These two games were eerily the same, until they weren’t. Dallas Keuchel had pitched very well giving up a first pitch HR to Chris Taylor and then later in the game followed a sixth inning two out walk by allowing a Justin Turner 2 run homer that broke a 1-1 tie. Wednesday night, Justin Verlander was even better, but gave up a solo home run to Joc Pederson in the fifth and after a sixth inning two out walk, allowed a 2 run homer to Corey Seager to break a 1-1 tie.

Entering the eighth inning the Astros appeared dead for the game and perhaps for the series. They had unsuccessfully shot off their two biggest pitching bullets in Keuchel and Verlander, they were not hitting, they were on the road against the tradition rich Vin Scully Dodgers, they were facing a bullpen that had a post season 28 inning scoreless streak going, they had never in 56 seasons won a World Series (brought to you by Youtube TV) game, and they had blown with the help of an unlucky bounce off of Taylor’s cap a chance to put up two or three runs early in the game.

Writer’s questions. What the heck is Taylor’s cap made out of? Did anyone think a baseball could change direction like that hitting a cap? Did anyone watching live doubt that ball bounced off his forehead instead?

But this is not your mama’s Astros. All season long they played games where they wandered around looking lost, only to come alive late in the game to win. In the playoffs they had won against ace Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel and ace Red Sox ace Chris Sale. They tore apart Yankees set-up man David Robertson, who had put up a regular season 1.00 ERA with the Yanks. They beat Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman and his 103 mph fastball.

In this game they started their rally in the 8th inning with an Alex Bregman double off of nails set-up man Brandon Morrow (and off of Yasiel Puig‘s glove). Carlos Correa knocked in Bregman against premier closer Kenley Jansen to draw within 3-2. Jansen had blown only one save all season. He had set a record by starting his postseason career with 12 scoreless appearances in a row. All of this would turn to dust when Marwin Gonzalez, who had been absolutely putrid (Post-season numbers in 46 ABs: .150/.227/.427, no home runs and no RBIs) led off the 9th with the game tying home run.

The insanity continued 1/2 inning by 1/2 inning from that point on.

  • Ken Giles almost spit the bit of a 3-3 tie game with two outs in the bottom of the ninth when he gave up a long flyball from Cody Bellinger that fell just short of the wall.
  • Former Astro Josh Fields came on to pitch the top of the tenth. He has pitched well for the Dodgers this year, but….had given up 10 homers in 57 innings this year. He gave up 2 homers to the first two batters this time as Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa went back-to-back giving the Astros a 5-3 lead. They stranded Yuli Gurriel at second base with no out, which would come back to bite them.
  • In the bottom of the 10th Giles felt so confident in his abilities (apparently) that he gave up a leadoff homer to that serial bat licker Yasiel Puig. This backfired when he allowed former Astro Kike Hernandez to slap a 2 out single the other way to tie the score at 5-5. Chris Devenski came on to stop the madness with the third out.
  • In the top of the eleventh Cameron Maybin who had come on in a double switch, led off with a single, then stole 2nd only because Corey Seager, who had 2nd blocked off could not handle the throw. George Springer followed with a beautiful home run to right center giving the Astros a 7-5 lead.
  • Devo gave up two smoked balls for outs to start the bottom of the 12th. He then gave up a smoked ball into the left field stands by Charlie Culberson, who has 6 career home runs and last hit one in September 2016. He then had a battle royal with Puig, striking him out twice – once on a non-check swing that the umpire was too gutless to call and once swinging on – of course – a change-up. Astros win 7-6.

Thoughts…..

  • This game was reminiscent of another 7-6 extra inning post season game that the Astros did not win. That would be the 1986 NLCS 6th game against the Mets that the Astros lost in 16 innings. In both games the home team was leading late (3-1 this time 3-0 back then), blew a lead in the 9th, had both teams score in and extra inning to extend the game (Billy Hatcher‘s famous foul pole HR) and then the visitors scored in a later extra inning and held on during a home team rally in the bottom of the inning.
  • Heroes – This game was full of unlikely heroes. Marwin Gonzalez, who hit a lightning bolt out of a miserable post season. George Springer, who had been 3 of his last 30 in postseason, but in this game had a walk and 3 hits including the game winning home run. Jose Altuve looked terrible striking out twice against Rich Hill, so maybe he was an unlikely hero with his 10th inning HR due to that. Will Harris and Joe Musgrove had been almost on the AWOL list after shaky performances, but they came through here as did Devo, though he was a bit shaky. Alex Bregman knocked in the first run and scored the second and Correa knocked in Bregman and had his big homer in the 10th. And Verlander is my hero even if he didn’t win just for climbing back into the dugout and telling this team that if they kept working it they were going to win after losing the lead in the 10th. He’s a great pitcher too.
  • The crazy HR stats.
    • In the history of the World Series, which was not always brought to you by Youtube Live there had only been 17 extra inning home runs. There were 5 in this one game.
    • The 5 is the most extra inning home runs in any game WS or not, in the history of the game.
    • Only once had there ever been two extra inning home runs in the same WS game.
    • There had never been 8 home runs in a WS game.
    • Altuve and Correa were the first to ever go back to back in extra innings in a WS
    • The Dodgers hit two extra inning WS home runs.  In their history they had only hit one
  • The Dodgers were 98-0 when leading heading into the ninth in 2017.
  • Future – The Dodgers had to believe they were going to Houston with a 2-0 stranglehold on the series. The Astros not only swung the home field advantage, they may have the psychological advantage too. Rich Hill was hacked off at his manager Dave Roberts for taking him out early. Perhaps his teammates may be blaming the manager’s early and often use of the bullpen on the loss. Also, the Astros showed that the Blue Men’s bullpen is human too. This was a critical win and the type that could come back around as a hangover for the Dodgers in Houston.
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19 comments on “Game 2 Insanity: The greatest win in Astros’ history

  1. There was a conflict in the bar where the team was staying after the first game, involving Hinch. Someone called the police, but nothing was documented by the police. The altercation involved some Dodger fans ragging on Hinch about the loss. I REALLY hope this doesn’t end up with Crane firing Hinch. As they say, sometimes sh*T happens. He will address it this afternoon. The Cubs let their hitting coach go……I would LOVE to have John Mallet back! He was the reason behind Altuve’s first batting title!

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  2. Watching the mlb network and Dan Plesac is saying that Justin Turner is probably the best hitter on either team.
    Really? Oh he did say “No disrespect to Altuve, Correa and Springer….”
    Uh huh – lots of disrespect

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m getting used to the disrespect. If fact I’m embracing it.
      Makes it so much sweeter when our team shines like they did last night.
      I’m so glad I watched the whole thing even though I couldn’t sleep all night.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. As I constantly point out, the Astros NEVER do it the easy way. Their playoff history is replete with classic games, A quick recap:
    1980 NLCS vs Phillies – 4 of the last 5 games went extras, incl game 3, a 1-0 walk off by the Astros
    1981 NLDS vs Doyers – which included another 1-0 11th inning walkoff Astros win
    1986 NLCS vs Mets – another 1-0 Astros win; a 6-5 loss where the Astros were up 4-0 early and then lost it in the 9th on Lenny @#$% Dykstra’s HR; a 12 inning 2-1 loss and the game 6 heartbreaker mentioned in the original post.
    Even the ignominious 1998 series vs Padres, the first 2 wins for SD were 1 run games and the sole Astros win was a 5-4.
    2004 NLCS – Astros lose Game 6 on a walkoff HR by Edmonds in the 12th
    2005 – Astros close out the NLDS vs Braves on Chris Burke’s 18th inning walkoff HR
    2005 NLCS – Astros lose game 5 on the 9th inning Pujols moonshot (has that ball come down yet?)
    2015 ALDS – Astros blow a 6-2 7th inning lead to lose 9-6 to KC
    Which brings us to this year. In the Astros history of 75 postseason games , 13 have gone extra innings and 12 of them have been walkoffs. They have certainly had their share of classics or near classics.
    Exciting playoff baseball is in the Astros DNA

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve been driving all day and got to hear A.J. on MLB Network. I do have a new appreciation for his approach as he talked about sticking with Springer and even Giles.

    Here’s what he had to say specifically about Giles: “I think he’s going to get some really big outs. I think when the crowd is standing in this ballpark over the next couple of games, if we can have the lead and he’s the right matchup, he’s going to get the last out.

    “He’s done it awfully well this year, and again I reiterate, just because somebody has a bad day at work does not mean they need to be condemned and sent away.”

    To me, that’s actually a cool swagger that I can appreciate. After two games, he’s sending a strong message not only to Giles, but to his pen and his lineup. I like that “bad day at work” comment and I admire A.J.’s stance…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah Chip I saw that interview on the MLB network and it put things in perspective. These guys may have a bad day or week but they carried this club before and can do it again. Great way to stand up for your players and it already worked with Springer.

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    • “And he’s the right matchup”. That’s the key. That does not sound as if Hinch is going to send him out into any closer situation. And I think that’s wise at this point.

      Hinch needs Giles to get outs. He’s sure not going to anything negative about anyone on his roster at this point. But he will be more selective in his use of Giles. Wouldn’t any of us?

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  5. The day before the season began, if you would have offered me a 1-1 tie in two road games of the World Series I would have taken it in a second.
    This is like a dream. Our team is going to play the next 3 WS games in MMP.
    We didn’t find an acorn, we found a forest of oak trees and I want to savor every meal.
    The team that wins this is going to be the best team in the world and I could not be happier to be a fan of the Astros.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Did you see the comment from Keuchel about the balls being juiced? I thought that was interesting. Aside from that I missed seeing the 8th & 9th since I was driving home. A friend in Seattle texted me to say it was rally time. Listened on MLB radio the remainder and then I got up and watched the replay of the 7th through 11th innings. I was nervous even though I knew the results. What a great game for the ‘Stros. Looking forward to tomorrow night and the “home field advantage”. Interesting interview with Springer about his plate issues and Hinch’s confidence in him resulting in a great game from him.
    Just 3 more wins guys!

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    • I had not, but went and read it. I don’t doubt what he’s saying. If you watched any game this year you saw the Statcast graphics after home runs, throws from the outfield, catches, etc. A decent number of those announced statistics have to be bogus. Do you believe that Marwin Gonzalez threw a ball 104 mph to cut down Greg Bird at the plate? Of course not! It’s nonsense. But this is what MLB is pitching to try to keep baseball exciting and appealing.

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  7. FYI – Chip will be posting the next live blog around 3:30 this afternoon – so come here until then and then flip over when that pops up

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