Over the past few seasons, the Houston Astros have become the team everyone loves to hate thanks in large part to their on-field arrogance — and a little help from an elaborate cheating system.
But love ’em or loathe ’em, they do manage to win every year, with four straight ALCS appearances since 2016 and a championship in 2017. Much of the credit goes to a homegrown core of young stars that include second baseman Jose Altuve, shortstop Carlos Correa, outfielder George Springer and third baseman Alex Bregman, all of whom always seem to turn it up a notch in the postseason.
On this day in béisbol, Oct. 17, 2019, Springer and Correa helped give the team a three games to one lead in the ALCS when they each banged a three-run homer in an 8-3 win over the rival Yankees.
The hard-fought series lasted to a thrilling Game 6, which Altuve won with a walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth in Houston against fireballing closer Aroldis Chapman.
Also on this day: In 2005, the Astros, still a National League team, are just one out from Houston’s first World Series appearance until Albert Pujols forces them to put the champagne on hold with a three-run homer in the 9th inning for a 5-4 Cardinals win.
The Astros eventually won the pennant — but got swept by the White Sox in the Fall Classic.
— Robert Dominguez
Robert Dominguez is co-author of “Bronx Bummers: The Unofficial History of the New York Yankees’ Bad Boys, Blunders and Brawls” and writer of the upcoming “El Salón: The Trials and Triumphs of Baseball’s Latino Hall of Famers.”
Photo: Buck Davidson — Under Creative Commons License