José Altuve conquered what postseason dreams are made of by pulling an American League Championship Series miracle out of Aaron Boone’s history book. A walk-off home run to send his team to the World Series.
The Maracay native was serenaded by a roar that bellowed throughout the city of Houston, as the Astros defeated the New York Yankees 6-4 Saturday night to face and will face the Washington Nationals in the 2019 Fall Classic.
The hero of the night, whose heart and willingness to shine on baseball’s biggest stage has manifested in the capturing of the American League Pennant, stood before a boisterous crowd and thanked God, the fans and his teammates for getting him to another World Series.
“We’re going to the World Series because of everybody inside of the clubhouse,” Altuve said doused in champagne. “But I feel happy that I could help my team. We all celebrating right now. We’re not thinking about tomorrow until it comes.”
Yankees first baseman DJ LeMahieu’s game tying two-run blast in the ninth inning gave the Yankees a string of hope. But a decisive mistake was made as Aroldis Chapman hung a slider over the plate in the bottom of the ninth, allowing the five-time All-Star to hook the ball to left-center field, paving the Astos’ way to the World Series for the second time in three seasons.
It’s a moment little kids dream of when they hit a baseball in little league, hitting the game-winning home run to send their team to baseball’s holy land, the World Series.
“I hit the ball, you make sure the ball is gone before you celebrate. Then I’m thinking, We’re going to the World Series. And then I’m thinking — I don’t know, a lot of things.”
“He’s turned himself into a star in his career here, and yet he’s remained humble, he’s remained hungry. He’s driven. He’s engaging with his teammates,” Astros manager AJ Hinch said after the game on his second baseman. “It’s the same old quote of: Everything that’s right about the Astros is Jose Altuve. He’s been here the longest and seen this organization grow from the ground up.”
The Astros couldn’t have entrusted any other person to get the job done other than José Altuve.
Each moment the Astros made a highlight-worthy play in the batter’s box and on the field, was every reason the Astros deserved to clinch the American League Pennant. A team that fought long and hard to erase the grim memory of defeat in the 2018 ALCS against the Boston Red Soxs.
Yuli Gurriel was the first to blow the roof off Minute Maid Park when he hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the first inning off Chad Green, giving the Astros the confidence they needed after faltering at the plate in Game 5. Gurriel’s bat was revived in the right place at the right time, as he broke out of his postseason slump as many questioned his ability to produce in high-stakes situations.
“Yuli has been the unluckiest guy on our team when it comes to results, but his resolve has been great,” Hinch said. “His at-bats were always really good. Even the pitch he hit was incredible that he could get to it and hit the ball out of the ballpark. He hits a lot of home runs in this park. And he hung with it.”
The Astros will host the Washington Nationals in Game 1 of the 2019 World Series on Tuesday October 22 at Minute Maid Park. It will be the Nationals first World Series appearance and the Astros’ second in franchise history.
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