Al­varez hits 2-run homer in Astros’ Game 5 win

The Korea Times - - SPORTS -

WASH­ING­TON (AP) — Car­los Cor­rea told Hous­ton Astros team­mate Yor­dan Al­varez it was his day.

After spend­ing the pre­vi­ous two nights on the bench limited to two pinch-hit ap­pear­ances, Al­varez got a full-time job back for Game 5 of the World Se­ries and had a blast. Al­varez went 3 for 3 and hit a huge two-run home run off Wash­ing­ton Na­tion­als emer­gency starter Joe Ross to help Hous­ton take a 3-2 se­ries lead and move one vic­tory away from a sec­ond cham­pi­onship in three years.

When they got back into the club­house after a 7-1 win Sun­day night, Cor­rea re­minded the rookie of his pregame pre­dic­tion.

“See, I told you,” Cor­rea told Al­varez. “This is the day.”

The homer was Al­varez’s first of the play­offs, and he be­came the youngest AL player with three hits in a World Se­ries game since Tony Kubek did it for the Yan­kees in 1957.

“I never thought that I’d be here in the big leagues at the big­gest stage and per­form­ing at the big­gest stage,” Al­varez said through a trans­la­tor.

De­spite hit­ting .500 in the first two games of the World Se­ries, Al­varez didn’t see the field for Games 3 and 4 at an NL park with no des­ig­nated hit­ter be­cause of con­cerns about his de­fense. Al­varez took three swings in two pinch-hit ap­pear­ances, pop­ping out in one and fly­ing out in the other.

The Astros won each of those any­way with no help from Al­varez, but man­ager AJ Hinch had a plan.

Hinch didn’t want Al­varez sit­ting too long and saw an op­por­tu­nity with his ace, Ger­rit Cole, on the mound. He fig­ured Cole usu­ally gets “so many strike­outs” — he threw nine — that there’d be fewer balls in play. Al­varez had no trou­ble with the one ball lined his way in left field.

“The dugout ac­tu­ally ex­ploded more when he caught the line drive in left field,” Hinch said. “Ev­ery­body was hav­ing a good time with him.”

Al­varez, of course, was sixth in the lineup for his bat, which heated up dur­ing the first two games in Hous­ton after he went 1 for 22 in the AL Cham­pi­onship Se­ries. The 22-year-old was start­ing to look more like the phe­nom who hit .313 with 27 home runs and 78 RBIs in just 87 games in his first ma­jor league sea­son.

That power was on dis­play in the sec­ond in­ning when he crushed a low-and-away sinker from Ross into the seats in left cen­ter. Al­varez passed Jose Canseco as the youngest Cuban-born player to homer in the World Se­ries.

“Not re­ally think­ing about home run,” Al­varez said. “Just look­ing to hit the ball through the mid­dle, and it went out.”

He fol­lowed that up in the fourth by sin­gling to right — through the de­fen­sive shift — on an up-and-in slider and scored on Cor­rea’s tworun home run.

“He’s been hav­ing great at-bats, hon­estly, the last five, six games,” out­fielder Ge­orge Springer said.

Hinch’s hope was Al­varez would help get the Astros the lead and he could put in a de­fen­sive re­place­ment. After an­other sin­gle to right in the sev­enth, Hinch lifted Al­varez for a pinch-run­ner be­cause his job was done.

“He’s done this the whole year, but this post­sea­son as he’s tried to find his way, and it was nice to see him stay within him­self,” Hinch said.


Yor­dan Al­varez of the Hous­ton Astros hits a solo home run against the Wash­ing­ton Na­tion­als dur­ing the sec­ond in­ning in Game 5 of the 2019 World Se­ries at Na­tion­als Park in Wash­ing­ton, DC., Sun­day.

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