Last Sunday when the Astros headed to the bottom of the ninth inning trailing 7-2 to the Yankees, the only positive thought that most fans could muster was that it could have been so much worse.
- The Astros only had 4 hits, but due to some muscle on solo home runs from Martin Maldonado and Kyle Tucker, they had two runs, which was two more runs they had accrued in the first two games of the series against the Yanks combined.
- The Yankees had turned 8 hits, 14 walks, an error on Robel Garcia and 3 wild pitches into only 7 runs. I’m sure there is some stat that says the last time a team lost after receiving 14 walks and 8 runs was the Cleveland Spiders (not the tacky spider stuff) back in 1896.
- In the first, the Yanks turned two walks, a wild pitch and a single into 0 runs when DJ Lemahieu tried to go from 1st to third on the wild pitch.
- In the second, the Yanks turned two singles into 0 runs.
- In the fifth, they turned a single, walk, single with no outs into only one run.
- In the eighth, they did score 3 runs on two walks and a three-run homer but did not score again after the bases were reloaded with walks.
- In the ninth, they did not score after two walks with nobody out.
So, the Astros came into the ninth inning lucky to be only down 5, when they could have been down 10. But they also came into the 9th after having pretty much laid down for the Yanks in losing the previous two games 4-0 and 1-0 and putting up minimal effort in the finale. Who would have thought it was time for an Oh My God rally?
After the Yanks scored the three spot in the 8th, I texted my boys “Game over, game over man – Yanks go up 7-2 in the 8th”. I then tuned into the golf tournament. I got bored after about a while and tuned back to the Astros game for the bottom of the 9th.
Yuli Gurriel – Yuli led off in a bit of a funk. He was 0 for 3 on the day and 1 for 11 for the series. He opened the rally with a screaming duck that he barely topped, that rolled to a stop at the perfect spot down the third-base line and pocketed by pitcher Domingo German. In the dugout pitching coach Brent Strom (according to Dusty Baker) said this is how rallies begin.
Kyle Tucker – Though he had gone 0 for 3 on Saturday, Tucker had been hitting well lately, having a home run earlier in this game and going 3 for 9 in the series. On a 1-0 pitch he went the other way on a fastball that caught too much of the outside half of the plate and lashed it against the scoreboard in left for a double that moved Yuli to third base.
Dan text – “Astros down 5 with 2 on no out in the 9th” (Note – the kids live up in the Austin area and only can follow most games through me or Gameday on their phones)
Son Adam’s text – “Oh good we can waste some runs”
The Yanks removed Domingo German and replaced him with Chad Green, which they live to regret later.
Chas McCormick – Chas was playing in his first game in the series and came to the plate after going 0 for 2. On a 1-0 count he barrels up a curveball in the middle of the plate in the lower third and knocks the snot out of it. After it stops bouncing around the outer reaches of the left-center field enclave, Chas is on 2nd and Yuli and Kyle are in the dugout.
Dan’s text – “7-4 no out Chas on 2nd”
Adam’s text – “So the tying run is on deck”
Dan’s text – “Yes and Castro will hit for Robel when we get there”
Abraham Toro – Toro is up after going 0 for 2 on Sunday and 1 for 8 in the series. He gets ahead 2-1 and then puts a beautiful left-handed uppercut swing on a fastball at the bottom of the zone. The ball looks like it might end up in the Astros bullpen, but bounces off the top of the fence inches away from Aaron Judge‘s glove. Ironically, Judge catches a similar ball in the All Star Game, but he misses this one.
Dan’s series of texts – “Toro doubles” “Almost went out” “Tucker, Chas and Toro all hit off the wall”
Jason Castro – Castro went 0-for-3 on Friday and comes off the bench for Robel Garcia, who was 0 for 7 on the series and 1 for his last 25. A good call to pull him. Castro swings at the first pitch and hits a looping single to center. Toro stops at third.
Dan’s text – “Single!”
Adam’s text – “Yankee switching pitchers yet?”
Dan’s text – “They changed to Green earlier. Straw running for Castro.”
Adam’s text – “Can Straw run for Maldy too?”
Martin Maldonado – Martin who was 1 for 6 in the series, but had hit a rare (4 in his career) opposite-field homer earlier in the game comes up to bat. On an 0-1 pitch, he hits a humpback liner to the SS, who tries to drop it on purpose to turn a DP, but the ump says no sir and calls Maldonado out.
Dan’s texts – “Altuve up”
Jose Altuve – Jose came up after going 0 for 4 for the game and 1 for 11 in the series. But c’mon he’s frigging Jose Altuve who was built for these kinds of moments. He takes a fastball on the outside half of the plate. He takes a curveball tight inside. He then goes down and takes a shin-high curveball (and believe me shin high on Jose is not too far off the ground) into the Crawford Boxes for one of those shining moments in a fan’s following of his favorite team.
More Dan’s texts “Back in May he hit one out on Green” “Yessssss!!!!!!”
Adam’s text – “I’m guessing he hit more than a single”
It was truly one of those plays that gives you shivers. The whole dugout exploded onto the field and fans who thought they had wasted their ticket money 20 minutes before were celebrating like it was a World Series win. He did it against the team that baselessly accused him of cheating to win the ALCS. He did it in the clutch and he let his teammates tear that jersey off this time. What a blast!!!!