The Houston Astros will be playing for a World Series title for the third time in five years.
Houston held off the Boston Red Sox in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series on Friday, 5-0, and won the series 4-2 to get back to the World Series for the first time since 2019.
The Astros got clutch hitting from Yordan Alvarez, brilliant pitching from Luis Garcia and a key defensive play in the seventh inning from Martin Maldonado to secure the shutout win.
Alvarez jumped on a pitch from Red Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi in the first inning. His double scored Alex Bregman and gave Houston the early 1-0 lead. The slugging designated hitter then helped himself to a triple in the sixth inning and was brought home when Kyle Tucker grounded into a double play.
Houston held a 2-0 lead, but Boston would start to make some moves in the seventh inning.
Alvarez finished 4-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI. He was named the ALCS MVP.
Astros reliever Kendall Graveman walked J.D. Martinez and then Alex Verdugo singled. Graveman faced off against Travis Shaw and struck him out and as Verdugo tried to steal second base Maldonado fired a missile to Carlos Correa who was waiting and put the tag on the stealing outfielder.
The double play ended the inning and took any momentum away from the Red Sox.
The Astros weren't done offensively.
Kyle Tucker added insurance with a three-run home run off Red Sox reliever Adam Ottavino.
Garcia was named the starter for the game and pitched masterfully.
He went 5.2 innings allowing one hit and striking out seven. It was a big bounce-back performance after only going one inning and allowing five runs in Game 2's loss.
Houston would close out the game without any further issues.
The Astros are back in the World Series after missing out in 2020, losing in seven games in the ALCS to the Tampa Bay Rays. The Astros lost in the World Series in 2019 to the Washington Nationals in seven games.
The team last won the championship in 2017 but the run was marred in scandal a few years later when the team was found to be using technology to steal signs during the regular season. The team will get a chance to really fight back against the critics and pick up the franchise’s second title in its history.
Boston’s lack of offense over the last two games of the series proved to be the difference-maker at the tail end of the season. Boston only scored three runs in its final three games of the ALCS.
The Red Sox were held to two hits on Friday. Kiké Hernández and Verdugo were the lone players with hits for Boston.
Boston starter Eovaldi gave a valiant effort. He allowed one run on five hits in 4.1 innings.