The American League Championship Series drew to an anticlimactic close on Friday night as the Houston Astros shut down the Boston Red Sox, advancing to their third World Series appearance in five years.
Yordan Álvarez opened the scoring with an RBI double in the 1st inning. He finished the game 4-4 with two runs scored and 1 RBI.
Garcia pitched the game of his life, throwing 5.2 no-hit innings before Kiké Hernández‘s two-out triple in the 6th inning.
Boston’s bats remained silent after the bullpen took over.
With one out and one on in the 7th inning trailing by a score of 2-0, Travis Shaw was called to pinch-hit for Christian Arroyo. Kendall Graveman struck Shaw out swinging with a four-seam fastball, and catcher Martín Maldonado rifled the ball to second base to catch Alex Verdugo stealing and execute an inning-ending double play.
Kyle Tucker furnished the dagger for Houston with a three-run homer in the 8th inning.
Álvarez, who hit for a .522 batting average and 1.408 OPS in the series, won the ALCS MVP award.
Yordan Alvarez hit for the highest AVG in ALCS history 🤯 pic.twitter.com/m6uy4uAeR7
— MLB (@MLB) October 23, 2021
A post-scandal World Series appearance gives Houston an opportunity to launder the legacy of its dirty 2017 championship with a victory under clean conditions (unless you consult Ryan Tepera, that is). This could be spoiled by a potential rematch with the Los Angeles Dodgers that will prompt fans and writers to revisit the past. Fans who are not interested in this rematch can rest assured that Rob Manfred doesn’t want it either.
Astros skipper Dusty Baker, who took over amid the fallout from the scandal, will have the chance to win his first World Series championship as a manager.
The National League Championship Series resumes on Saturday night at 8:08 PM ET. Atlanta will look to close out the series within the distance. Max Scherzer has been scratched from starting for Los Angeles due to fatigue, so Ian Anderson (regular season – 9-5, 3.58 ERA) will face a Dodgers pitcher TBD. Injuries are piling up for the Dodgers, but their offense remains elite.
Featured Image: Waving flag with Houston Astros professional team logo. Close-up of waving flag with Houston Astros baseball team logo, seamless loop. Editorial footage by Media Whalestock / Shutterstock.com.