HOUSTON – José Altuve knew that the time would come to wash up his mistake and he arrived an hour later.
Altuve hit a two-run homer to momentarily tie the game and Carlos Correa followed one inning later to hit his and give the Houston Astros a lead they would no longer lose.
This has been a good part of the history of these Astros in their five consecutive trips to the American League Championship Series, which this Friday resulted in a 5-4 victory over the Boston Red Sox.
Altuve still secured the game with a sacrifice fly so that another of the most important generation of the Astros and baseball in recent times, Yuli Gurriel, could score the final run.
“Two swings changed the course of the game,” said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. “Overall, we had good at-bats from start to finish. They just beat us. “
For the Astros, that last run marked over the Red Sox’s seventh eighth reliever, Hirokazu Sawamura, turned into the win at the end of the night, because Enrique Hernández was still in charge of hitting a home run in the final inning to leave the definitive figures on the board.
The Astros’ relief had looked almost flawless from jumping for starter Framber Valdez in the third inning until Hernandez hit his second home run of the day in that ninth.
But right now, it seems that nothing, and no one, is stopping Puerto Rican Hernández, who fell a triple from becoming just the second player in Major League history to hit a postseason cycle.
It looks like what in the best of cases, the rivals just have to try to keep Hernandez out of his parameters and explode like he did again in this Game 1. The Boston center fielder is hitting .500 in these playoffs and has produced eight runs in six games this postseason.
Additionally, he has made any number of plays to defense that would otherwise have turned into runs.
But it was insufficient, as that backbone that has straightened Houston so many times during this historic streak.
Altuve hit 20 home runs in the postseason; something that only he and three other players have achieved in history. More importantly, 11 of those home runs have been to tie or give his team an advantage.
Correa, who also orchestrated a pair of double plays with the glove, reached 55 RBIs in the playoffs, which represents the sixth highest number in Major League history; one more than Albert Pujos.
“For me, just being mentioned in the same line as Albert is already a motivation,” Correa said. “I really just want to help my team. Home runs, runs produced or any other statistic are useless if we don’t reach the goal ”.
For now, these Astros are already 1-0 up in the Championship Series, knowing that the winner of the first game has advanced 61 percent of the time to the Fall Classic.
This Saturday they will play the second and last game of the series, before traveling to Boston on Sunday. They will send Luis García (0-0, 16.88 in the current playoffs) to the hill to face the best current Red Sox starter, Nathan Eovaldi (1-0, 2.61).
“I’m happy to have the opportunity to start Game 2,” Garcia said. “I’m going to have the opportunity to help my team win the game and go to Boston with an advantage.”