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Astros Eliminate Red Sox in Game 6, Clinch 3rd AL Pennant Since 2017

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIOctober 23, 2021

AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki

The Houston Astros are going to the World Series after defeating the visiting Boston Red Sox 5-0 in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series on Friday at Minute Maid Park.

Houston Astros @astros

SEE Y'ALL IN THE WORLD SERIES.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ForTheH?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ForTheH</a> <a href="https://t.co/6VfCnJSVCm">pic.twitter.com/6VfCnJSVCm</a>

Astros designated hitter Yordan Alvarez continued to rake by smacking a first-inning RBI double and scoring on a sixth-inning groundout after landing on third with a triple.

He went 4-for-4 and now has eight hits in his last 10 at-bats.

Right fielder Kyle Tucker piled on with a three-run homer in the eighth to score Alvarez and shortstop Carlos Correa.

Houston Astros @astros

Made their bed, now we Tuck 'em in.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ForTheH?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ForTheH</a> <a href="https://t.co/D7TENGnqSL">pic.twitter.com/D7TENGnqSL</a>

Astros starting pitcher Luis Garcia and four Houston relievers dominated on the mound, combining for 10 strikeouts while allowing just four baserunners (two hits, two walks). Garcia didn't allow a hit until the sixth inning.

The Red Sox had their chances.

Center fielder Enrique Hernandez hit a two-out triple in the sixth to break up the no-hitter, but third baseman Rafael Devers popped out to end the threat.

One inning later, Boston put runners on the corners with one out, but Houston got a double play after pinch hitter Travis Shaw struck out and catcher Martin Maldonado threw out left fielder Alex Verdugo trying to steal second.

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Houston Astros @astros

STRIKE 'EM OUT, THROW 'EM OUT.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ForTheH?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ForTheH</a> <a href="https://t.co/JNvWY2uen0">pic.twitter.com/JNvWY2uen0</a>

Houston, which has now won three AL pennants in five years, took the best-of-seven series 4-2.

     

Notable Performances

Astros SP Luis Garcia (Win): 5.2 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 7 K

Astros DH Yordan Alvarez: 4-for-4, 2B, 3B, 2R, RBI

Astros 3B Alex Bregman: 2-for-4, R

Astros RF Kyle Tucker: 1-for-4, HR, R, 3 RBI

Red Sox SP Nathan Eovaldi (Loss): 4.1 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K

    

Redemption for Luis Garcia; Red Sox's Slump Ends Season

Garcia gave up a first-inning grand slam to Red Sox DH J.D. Martinez in Game 2, which Boston won 9-5. He was pulled after walking leadoff batter Kevin Plawecki to start the second inning, and anyone would be right to have some trepidations about his Game 6 outlook.

However, Garcia put those fears to rest quickly, and now the Astros are back in the World Series.

Garcia's unprecedented heat threw the Red Sox off. Sarah Langs of MLB.com and ESPN's Jeff Passan broke down the numbers:

Sarah Langs @SlangsOnSports

updating this on Luis García...<br><br>Luis García has thrown 7 pitches at 97.0+ mph so far tonight<br><br>He’d thrown 1 such pitch out of 2,603 in 2021 entering tonight — 97.0 mph on the dot on 7/20<br><br>His 5 fastest pitches tonight are the 5 fastest of his career

Jeff Passan @JeffPassan

Luis Garcia's stuff is ticking way, way, way up tonight. Like 3 full mph. Already he's thrown the four hardest pitches of his major league career, including one at 97.8 mph. And after a season in which his fastball averaged 93.3 mph, he's sitting at an average of 96.3 tonight.

The breaking balls were working too:

MLB @MLB

Luis Garcia is FEELING it tonight. <a href="https://t.co/3EUyIr0LLc">pic.twitter.com/3EUyIr0LLc</a>

MLB @MLB

5 innings of no-hit baseball for Luis Garcia. 👀 <a href="https://t.co/0URLaDmIOr">pic.twitter.com/0URLaDmIOr</a>

The combination of Phil Maton, Kendall Graveman, Ryne Stanek and Ryan Pressly did the rest, twirling 3.1 shutout frames. Graveman allowed a walk and a hit, but that was the only damage Boston mustered against the Astros bullpen.

The Red Sox went from scoring 21 runs over Games 2 and 3 to just three over Games 4, 5 and 6. Credit goes to the Astros' pitching staff for shutting down a powerful Red Sox lineup that managed to defeat the 100-win Tampa Bay Rays in the ALDS.

The Red Sox are a far better hitting team than they were Friday, but the teamwide slump came at an inopportune time.

   

Alvarez, the 2021 ALCS MVP, Wills Houston into World Series

Behold a collection of mind-boggling statistics that brings to mind game-breaking legends like Babe Ruth and Barry Bonds.

Talkin’ Baseball @TalkinBaseball_

Yordan Alvarez is 4-for-4 tonight. His stats in 10 games this postseason:<br><br>15-34 (.441), 2 HR, 4 2B, 1 3B, 8 BB, 9 R, 9 RBI<br><br>His 1.329 OPS is the highest of any player with multiple games played this postseason

Sportsnet Stats @SNstats

Astros Yordan Alvarez ALCS stats<br><br>AVG .522 (12-for-23)<br>Runs 7<br>HR 1<br>RBI 6<br>Slugging % .870<br>OPS 1.408 <a href="https://t.co/4ExCinQvB7">pic.twitter.com/4ExCinQvB7</a>

Chandler Rome @Chandler_Rome

Yordan Alvarez has five extra-base hits in his last 12 at-bats. He is 11-for-22 in the ALCS

And now check out his highlights, which showcase his aura of invincibility against the Red Sox's pitching arsenal:

Houston Astros @astros

a p p l y i n g . p r e s s u r e<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ForTheH?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ForTheH</a> <a href="https://t.co/oh24oWAhGu">pic.twitter.com/oh24oWAhGu</a>

Houston Astros @astros

🚨 YORDAN ALVAREZ STAND UP TRIPLE 🚨<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ForTheH?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ForTheH</a> <a href="https://t.co/xloaOG2Auy">pic.twitter.com/xloaOG2Auy</a>

FOX Sports: MLB @MLBONFOX

Goodness... Yordan Álvarez is now 4-4 tonight 🔥🔥🔥🔥 <a href="https://t.co/xqsZ0D4hlH">pic.twitter.com/xqsZ0D4hlH</a>

His heads-up baserunning deserves credit as well.

In the sixth, Tucker pulled a ground ball down the line with Alvarez on third base and Correa on first.

Boston's Kyle Schwarber touched the bag for one out and caught Correa straying off the bag for two, and then he threw home for the potential triple play. That wasn't meant to be, as Alvarez booked it down the baseline and slid home safely.

FOX Sports: MLB @MLBONFOX

Heads up base running by Yordan Álvarez to score on this hard hit ball to 1st!<a href="https://twitter.com/astros?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@astros</a> lead 2-0! <a href="https://t.co/gYFcrpQvTe">pic.twitter.com/gYFcrpQvTe</a>

On a night in which Astros not named Alvarez or Bregman combined for just one single through seven innings, Houston's power hitter delivered when his team needed him the most.

That's bad news for the NL pennant winners, especially if the rest of the Houston lineup is in good form like Alvarez during the Fall Classic.

What's Next?

Houston now awaits the winner of the National League Championship Series between the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers.

Atlanta leads L.A. 3-2 and can clinch the NL pennant with a win in Game 6, which starts Saturday at 8:08 p.m. ET at Truist Park. If L.A. wins, Game 7 will go down Sunday at 7:38 p.m. in Atlanta.

The World Series will start Oct. 26.

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