The Houston Astros scored two runs in the 7th inning and swept their American Championship Series against the New York Yankees by winning 6-5 on Sunday at Yankee Stadium.
Houston joins the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series. The latter had qualified earlier Sunday by eliminating the San Diego Padres at the end of the 5th game.
It will be the fourth time in six years that the Astros have made their way to the ultimate showdown. They won the championship in 2017, and lost it in 2019 and 2021.
Although the Yankees entered Game 4 strong, scoring three runs in their first two at bats, the Astros never panicked.
“What an incredible group! This team worked so hard. I am proud of our group. Everyone took their game up a notch. But we still have some baseball to play,” said Alex Bregman, who has a .333 batting average in the playoffs.
Jeremy Pena chilled the New York crowd in the top of the third inning when he hit a three-run homer off starter Nestor Cortes.
Moments later, a Yuli Gurriel single scoring Yordan Alvarez gave the visitors their first lead of the night.
The Yankees themselves rolled up their sleeves afterwards, adding two runs to their tally thanks to a productive single from Anthony Rizzo in the 4th inning and a solo homer from Harrison Bader in the 6th.
Bader’s slap, successful against Jonathan Loaisiga, put the crowd favorites in control, 5-4.
Yankees second baseman Gleyber Torres opened the door for the Astros in the 7th inning, however, and they didn’t miss their chance to make them pay.
Torres screwed up a routine play that he should have turned into a double play with Isaiah Kiner-Falefa to wrap up the set.
Houston was left with two runners on the trail instead, and back-to-back singles by Alvarez and Bregman pushed both runners to home plate – in this case Jose Altuve and Pena.
The Astros’ relief then shone, as Bobby Abreu, Rafael Montero and Ryan Pressly each recorded three outs in order.
The Dusty Baker-led roster will enter the World Series having won all seven of its playoff games, having previously edged out the Seattle Mariners in just three games.
Baker, 73, has coached Major League Baseball since 1988 but has never lifted the prized Commissioner’s Trophy.
« It’s really the best group of players I’ve had the chance to lead, assured Baker, adding that it was » quite an emotion « to be one of the last two teams in the running.
« Hey, these are the greatest guys I’ve ever been around, » the 73-year-old Baker said in a postgame celebration.
MLB has confirmed Game 1 of the World Series will take place in Houston on Friday night.