The Houston Astros traveled Friday to the Pacific Northwest for a clean sweep over the Mariners to head to the ALCS. The game would remain scoreless until the 18th as the Stros eliminated Seattle with a 1-0 win.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
Both teams went three-up-three-down in the opening inning. For the Astros in the second, Kyle Tucker and Yuli Gurriel each hit singles and stolen bases on Trey Mancini’s strikeout. They’d be stranded as Chas McCormick whiffed for the third strike and final out.
In the second for the Mariners, Cal Raleigh and Mitch Haniger were walked to start the inning. The two runners threatened to score as Carlos Santana and Adam Frazier went deep. Both shots were caught for the out and Lance McCullers struck out Jarred Kelenic to finish the frame.
Houston had an opportunity to get on the board first at the top of the fourth as the bases were loaded after Yordan Alvarez and Mancini were hit by pitches. McCormick’s hit was caught in center field for the third out.
For the next inning and a half, each team could only record one hit each while at the top of the sixth, Kelenic caught all three pop flys for the quick end to the beginning of that frame. McCullers got us to the seventh with his seventh strikeout of the game as the score was still stuck at zero a piece.
Mariners pitcher George Kirby for the third time in the contest got his team out of multiple runners on base bind and retired Jose Altuve to keep the Stros scoreless.
Hector Neris and Christian Vasquez came in to relieve at pitcher and catcher at the bottom of the seventh inning. Neris got Frazier and Haniger swinging while Santana hit one deep, but Tucker caught it on the run for the eighth three-up-three-down.
Andres Munoz came in for Kirby in the eighth and retired Jeremy Pena and Alvarez in his first seven pitches. Alex Bregman recorded the game’s first double on two outs, and Munoz ended the frame with his third strikeout on Tucker.
Rafael Montero came in for Houston at the bottom of the eighth. Julio Rodriquez with two outs picked up a double for Seattle for a scoring opportunity. Montero retired Ty France as we headed into the ninth scoreless.
Gurriel led off a single into right field, then Diego Castillo, who came in for Seattle hit Aledmys Diaz, who pinch-hit for Mancini to put two runners on base. McCormick hit the sacrifice bunt to advance Gurriel and Diaz to third and second base.
Seattle made another pitching change to Matt Brash. Brash was able to end the inning as he struck out Vasquez and Altuve.
Ryan Pressley came in and gave up a single to Eugenio Suarez, then Haniger was hit by a pitch. The defense of the Astros clutched up as the game headed to extra innings.
Throughout the rest of the game, there were many appearances by multiple pitchers from each team. The pitchers include Ryan Pressly, Bryan Abreu, Ryan Stanek, Hunter Brown, and Luis Garcia. For Seattle, Paul Seward, Erik Swanson, Matthew Festa, Matthew Boyd, Penn Murfee, and Robbie Ray all made it to the mound.
At the top of the 18th inning, Pena hit one over the center field wall for a solo home run to score the first run of the game. It would be all Houston needed as the Stros move on to the ALCS.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Jeremy Pena
The young shortstop scored the lone run of the game for Houston as the Astros advanced to the ALCS.
BIG NUMBER: 18
There were 18 different pitchers that made an appearance in Saturday’s game three of the ALDS. Eight were from the Astros while the other 10 came from the Mariners’ bullpen. The contest also lasted a full 18 innings and six hours and a half hours.
UP NEXT: The Houston Astros will face the winner of the Cleveland Guardians – New York Yankees series.