Heading into the final stretch of the season, the Houston Astros, like the great Triple Crown winning thoroughbred Secretariat, are establishing their dominance, as they kick in to a new gear with the finish line approaching.
Secretariat won the third leg of the Triple Crown by over 31 lengths. The Astros won tonight against the Orioles by only 21 runs. Still, it was the most runs scored by an Astros team in the history of the franchise. It was a relentless and merciless pounding. The Astros had 25 hits out of 50 at bats. There were six home runs, seven doubles, and fifty total bases. The Astros were 11 for 18 with runners in scoring position, and with 23 runs scored while scoring in seven of the nine innings, they left only two runners on base. Five batters had three hits, and Yuli Gurriel had four. The clean-up position in the order was six for six...in front of Yordan Alvarez.
Yes, Yordan Alvarez. Somehow standing out and above this amazing team effort was Yordan Alvarez, who seems to hit home runs as routinely as normal men hit pop-ups. He hit three tonight, including his first grand slam, and had seven RBI. He has 51 RBI in his first 45 games, which is more RBI in a player’s first 45 games than any other player in history. The second best is Ted Williams. In those 45 games he now has 17 home runs and is hitting .353.
Here are the Statcast versions of his first two homers. For some reason Baseball Savant didn’t record the third one.
Here’s Yordan’s grand salami in the seventh.
And here’s his solo shot in the first. But first the Bregman homer in front of him, his 28th
Before Yordan’s shot Alex Bregman had already cleared the bases with a two-run homer of his own. He added two doubles later before being substituted for by Aledmys Diaz, who was also three for three.
Here’s Breg’s shot again, his 28th of the season.
Jose Altuve added his 20th homer of the season in the second, the main blow in a five run inning.
But the single most impressive hit of the night was this shot by Carlos Correa. I bet you thought that Yordan was the strongest living Astro. It turns out Carlos Correa might be just as strong. He hit the longest Astros home run in the Statcast era, 474 feet, exactly tied with Yordan’s longest home run, hit on July 19th. Here is Yordan’s 7-19 homer on Statcast.
Here’s Carlos’ homer tonight.
And here’s Carlos’ home run on video, his 17th of the season and, according to the broadcast crew, the longest on record hit in Camden Yard.
Lost in the bombast was another superior pitching performance by trade deadline pick up, Aaron Sanchez. Though his string of six no-hit innings with the Astros ended right away in the first inning, he pitched five innings of one-run ball. His command was shaky, especially at the beginning of the game, but he got stronger as the game continued, and had six strikeouts.
Continuing the trend from his first game as an Astro, Sanchez continued to stress throwing the four-seam fastball, with far fewer two-seamers than he threw while with Toronto.
His immediate relief, Hector Rondon gave up two hits in the sixth but escaped without allowing a run. The seventh inning man, Joe Smith, allowed a second Baltimore run on a Rio Ruiz home run (Ruiz is a former Astro product), his second homer allowed in two nights. Chris Devenski and Collin McHugh threw perfect eighth and ninth innings respectively.
This is a game that will be remembered and cherished by Astros fans for a long time. It is the most dominant victory in the history of the team.
Box score and videos HERE.
No rest for the poor Orioles. Tomorrow they send former Astro, Asher Wojciechowski, up against Justin Verlander. Game time 12:05 CDT.
Here’s Secretariat at the Belmont.