The only thing more exciting than this game...would be this game being played in the playoffs.
Up, down, up, down, sure to win, sure to lose, and finally, defensive heroics by rookie Chas McCormick, and the winning RBI single by rookie Jake Meyers, finally put the Astros on top.
The Astros got yet another early lead, this time on a 456 Yordan Alvarez home run in the first inning.
That 2-0 score held until the fifth inning when Jason Castro hit a solo homer to extend the Astros lead.
Besides the homer, Castro had a good night defensively, throwing out two Angels baserunners.
Meanwhile, Astros starter Luis Garcia held the Angels scoreless for his six innings of work. He allowed only three hits, but also three walks but only one strikeout. He was not sharp, throwing only 42 strikes out of 79 pitches, but he managed to maintain his six-inning shutout nonetheless.
But the Angels came back big in the seventh inning against one of the newer Astros relievers, Phil Maton. Maton allowed five of the six batters he faced to get on base, giving up a single, a double, a hit by pitch, an RBI single to Luis Rengifo, and a walk to load the bases with one out.
(It's a good thing we don’t need Myles Straw)
Kendall Graveman came in and got the second out on a grounder to Carlos Correa who threw home for the run-saving force out.
But Graveman would not save the Astros 3-2 lead. Former Astro Jack Mayfield hit a three-run RBI double to give the Angels a 5-3 lead.
Although all five runs were charged to Maton, Graveman allowed a walk and the big double to two of the four batters he faced.
And how former Astros come back to bite the Stros. Add Mayfield to the list including Abraham Toro and Ramon Laureano.
But the Astros came back to tie the game in the eighth on an RBI double off the very top of the centerfield wall by Yordan Alvarez, followed by a Yuli Gurriel RBI single.
Neither team scored in the ninth, as Ryan Pressly shut down the Angels, allowing only a lead-off single.
In the tenth, the Astros stranded extra-runner Jake Meyers at second. With two outs, manager Dusty Baker pinch hit for Jose Siri, who for reasons unknown to this writer replaced Yordan Alvarez in the ninth inning. The pinch hitter, Aledmys Diaz, struck out on three pitches. Siri saw no action in left field.
The Angels looked sure to walk off the game when they loaded the bases in the tenth inning with no outs after Astros reliever Blake Taylor intentionally walked Shohei Ohtani, followed by a single by Phil Gosselin.
All the Angels needed was one run to win and three chances to score the runner from third. You’d think. The next batter, Jared Walsh, hit a weak grounder to shortstop Carlos Correa, who slipped but threw a one-hopper home on his knees to get the first out.
The next batter, David Fletcher, facing Yimi Garcia, hit a medium-length fly ball near the right-field line. Chas McCormick made the running catch, turned, and quickly threw a rocket home that beat the speedy Ohtani, who ran around the tag of catcher Jason Castro but was tagged behind the plate.
This play by McCormick followed two others in the game where he had to leave his feet to make a superman catch.
But in the eleventh inning, the Astros failed to score with runners on third and one out.
Ditto the Angels. Another great inning for Yimi Garcia.
In the twelfth inning Chas McCormick, who was 3 - 5 hitting along with the defensive heroics, led off with a single that advanced extra-runner Marwin Gonzalez to third. Then the other super-rookie, Jake Meyer, hit an RBI single which advanced Chas McCormick to third, who barely slid in safe. This turned out to be the winning run.
And then Altuve. Jose’s first hit of the night was a two-run double into the left-field corner, scoring McCormick and Meyers, Altuve advancing to third on the throw.
Altuve scored on an Alex Bregman sac fly.
Josh James got a three up, three down ninth, finishing the game by striking out Ohtani, and cementing the 9-5 win and the series win with one more game against the Angels tomorrow.
The Astros go for the sweep at 8:38 CDT.