Two of the youngest Houston Astros stars on Friday helped one of the MLB’s oldest managers get another shot at a most elusive title, with rookie Luis Garcia showing the poise of an October ace and MVP Yordan Alvarez doing more damage at the plate as the Astros earned yet another trip to the World Series by beating the Boston Red Sox 5-0 in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series.
Garcia and Alvarez, both 24 and ascending, and 72-year-old manager Dusty Baker are to open the World Series on Wednesday morning Taiwan time, either at Dodger Stadium or at home against Atlanta, with the Braves leading Los Angeles 3-2 in the National League Championship Series going into Game 6 this morning Taiwan time.
“There’s four more wins on the board out there,” Baker said. “There’s four more wins you’ve got to get.”
The Astros advanced to the World Series for the third time in five seasons. They won the championship in 2017, a crown tainted by the team’s sign-stealing scandal, before losing to the Washington Nationals in seven games in 2019.
Garcia pitched no-hit ball into the sixth inning, leaving to a huge ovation with two outs after a triple by Kike Hernandez. It was an impressive bounce-back performance for Garcia, who started Game 2 and gave up a grand slam in the first inning before leaving with no outs in the second because of discomfort in his right knee.
“I know I’m a rookie, but I know what I can do and that’s what I did tonight,” Garcia said.
Alvarez continued his scorching streak, a year after watching at home after surgery to both knees as the Astros came one game shy of reaching the World Series. The slugging designated hitter went four for four, including a triple and two doubles.
Alvarez hit an ALCS-record .522 (12 for 23) with one homer, three doubles, the triple and six RBIs in Houston’s six-game victory. He has nine hits in his past 13 at-bats.
Catcher Martin Maldonado made the defensive play of the game on a strikeout-throwout double play to end the seventh with Houston ahead 2-0.
It is Baker’s second trip to the Fall Classic as a manager and first since leading the San Francisco Giants to the NL pennant in 2002. As a player, he went three times with the Dodgers, winning it all in 1981.
“Hey, I’m going back to the World Series,” Baker told a cheering crowd at Minute Maid Park.
For Houston, it was a team victory featuring all facets of the game they used in taking the AL West title and beating the Chicago White Sox in the AL Division Series.
The Astros won the clincher, too, without a hit from stars Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa — Alex Bregman got two hits and scored a run.
“We have a little bit of everything,” Altuve said.
Boston’s best shot to score came in the seventh. The wild-card Red Sox had runners at first and third with one out in after a single by Alex Verdugo.
However, Kendall Graveman struck out pinch-hitter Travis Shaw and Maldonado made a perfect throw to Correa, who was covering second, to beat Verdugo there and end the inning.
Maldonado beat his chest with glee as Graveman and Correa both pumped their fists in celebration to roars from the crowd of 42,718.
Kyle Tucker broke it open with a three-run homer with two outs in the eighth. Television cameras flashed to Houston’s Hall of Fame duo of Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell, who stood together and cheered as Tucker rounded the bases.
Asked to describe these Astros, Biggio, who led the team to their first World Series said simply: “They’re just good.”
Ryan Pressly closed it out in the ninth.
A British skier crashes through wooden fencing on a downhill corner and slams into a pole, breaking his leg. An American hits an icy patch at the bottom of a hill and crashes into a fence, breaking one ski and twisting the other, also breaking his leg. Another American, training before a biathlon race, slides out on an icy corner and flies off the trail into a tree, breaking ribs and a shoulder blade, and punctures a lung. These were not scenes from high-speed Alpine or ski cross events. They happened on cross-country ski and biathlon tracks made with artificial snow.
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