Things were looking bleak for the Astros after receiving a confidence-crushing beating in three straight games in the Bronx and watching a 2-0 lead flip into a 3-2 disadvantage, setting up a must-win game six.
But thanks to ace pitcher Justin Verlander and a rediscovery of their potent offense, the Astros forced a deciding game seven on Saturday night.
This time it was Charlie Morton who managed to shut down the Yankees bats until the Astros finally got onto the scoreboard with a titanic home run by designated hitter Evan Gattis in the fourth inning.
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) October 22, 2017
It would prove to be the winning run.
Morton tossed five scoreless innings, giving up only two hits and stifling the powerful Yankees.
The Astros struck for three more runs in the fifth. A Jose Altuve home run made it 2-0 and former Yankee Brian McCann got sweet revenge when the catcher broke it open by driving in two more runs with a timely shot to right field.
Lance McCullers Jr. then entered the game and shut down the Yankees for the remaining four innings, at one point, throwing 24 straight curveballs to retire hitters.
This video of Lance McCullers Jr. throwing 24 consecutive curveballs to win the pennant is glorious: https://t.co/YIDdsW8mDd
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) October 22, 2017
McCullers only surrendered one hit and the final score of 4-0 punched the resilient Astros ticket to a World Series matchup against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
— Houston Astros (@astros) October 22, 2017
The home team won every game in the ALCS.
Winning the American League pennant had to be especially sweet for Houston, especially after last week’s Yankee Stadium nightmare appeared to shift the momentum to the New York for good – but then came Verlander and for his efforts, he won the ALCS MVP award.
While the Yankees may have lost out on their shot this year, this is a team that is built for a period of contention if not outright dominance and has a budding superstar in rookie Aaron Judge with all the makings to join the pantheon of the team greats like Ruth, DiMaggio, Mantle and Jeter before he is done.
The World Series starts on Tuesday at 8 pm ET in Los Angeles.
Houston’s leftie Dallas Keuchel gets the call to match up against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw.