Yankees' Aaron Boone Says Walk-off ALCS Loss Is 'Ultimate Pain' in Sports

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistOctober 20, 2019

Houston Astros' Jose Altuve watches his two-run walk-off to win Game 6 of baseball's American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019, in Houston. The Astros won 6-4 to win the series 4-2. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Matt Slocum/Associated Press

Aaron Boone once hit a walk-off home run to send the New York Yankees to the World Series. On Saturday night, the Yankees manager learned how it felt to be on the other side of that outcome.

Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve won Game 6 of the 2019 American League Championship Series with a walk-off, two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning off New York's All-Star closer Aroldis Chapman. After the game, Boone described the loss as "the ultimate pain you can feel in sports."

"So many different emotions. Proud of all our guys. ... Just knowing all that so many put into and know how good of a club we have to get back into it and then it to end that way, it's hard and our guys are hurting. But could not be more proud of them and the way they always compete."

New York had faced little resistance en route to the ALCS while winning 103 games during the regular season and sweeping the Minnesota Twins in the American League Division Series. However, the Astros jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the ALCS, putting the Yankees on the brink of elimination.

Boone's squad pulled out a 4-1 victory in Game 5 on Friday night to send the series back to Houston. After falling behind 3-0 in the opening frame on Saturday, the Yankees battled all the way to ultimately even the score at 4-4 on a ninth-inning two-run shot by DJ LeMahieu.

That would only save New York temporarily, though.

After Chapman retired the first two batters he faced, he issued a two-out walk to George Springer, bringing Altuve to the plate with a chance to win the game. On the 2-1 pitch, the 2019 ALCS MVP blasted an elevated slider to clinch Houston's second AL pennant in three years:  

With that, the Yankees were handed one of the most painful season-ending losses imaginable. They had fought all the way back to even the score only to be sent packing with their best reliever on the mound.

The only way the loss could have been any more painful would have been for it to come in a Game 7. That's something Boone has some experience with:

That walk-off home run came in extra innings of Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS against the Boston Red Sox, the Yankees' archrival who were in the midst of an 85-year championship drought. It doesn't get any more painful than that.

Even though this wasn't a Game 7, Altuve's homer will not soon be forgotten in the Bronx.

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