HOUSTON (AP) — After every big hit, Jordan Alvarez takes over this October.
And the comeback of the Cuban powerhouse slugger, who was devastated when Houston lost to the Atlanta Braves in the last World Series, is all the more surprising.RELATED
Alvarez again flushed the bat in the sixth off of Luis Castillo and hit a two-run homer as the Astros beat the Seattle Mariners 4-2 on Thursday to extend their lead to two in the American League Division Series. Widened to -0.
“I call him ‘Big,'” said manager Dusty Baker, who pronounced the nickname in Spanish. “He reacts big. He loves to put things on the plate. He likes to arrive at big moments. His focus and discipline are amazing for his age.”
The Cuban was the hero of Game 1 with a three-run shot off AL Cy Young Trophy eventual winner Robbie Ray with two outs in the ninth inning.
The hit gave Houston an 8-7 victory in a game the Astros lost by four points.
100 (20 for 2) with no home runs and six strikeouts in the final Fall Classic, which Atlanta was crowned after six duels.
Now that everyone is talking about him, the 25-year-old was asked to describe his virtues in the batter’s box.
“I think I’m smart,” he replied. “When I go to the plate, I try to visualize the different results I get when I hit. If everything goes according to plan, the results are positive.”
Acquired from the Reds before the trade deadline, Castillo reached the game after going scoreless 7 1/3 innings against Toronto in the wild card round. This time, the Dominican allowed an early home run by Kyle Tucker, but he gave up little else going into the sixth inning with a 2–1 lead.
But with two outs, Jeremy Peña singled. The ball fell between second baseman Adam Frazier and Dominican center fielder Julio Rodriguez.
Castillo crouched down and slapped his foot, showing disappointment that the seemingly harmless ball had been hit.
Alvarez was next, finding a pitch at 98 mph and sending the ball through left field and into Gantry for the Astros to take a 3–2 lead.
Alvarez, who hit 37 home runs in the regular season, trotted around the bases as television cameras turned to his parents, who are in their first postseason series since arriving from Cuba in August. When the left-hander reached home plate, he pointed to that spot in the stands.
Then he mimicked a power swing to lead the Astros to their sixth straight American League Championship Series victory.
In the Mariners, Dominican Julio Rodriguez is 5 wins and 1 loss, and Carlos Santana is 3 wins and 1 loss. Venezuela’s Eugenio Suarez scored in his 3-0 lead.
For the Astros, Venezuela’s Jose Altuve won 4-0. Dominica’s Jeremy Peña scored his second in his 3-2. Cuba’s Jordan Alvarez went 3-1 with a run and two RBIs, Yuli Gurriel 3-0 and Aledomis Diaz 3-1. Puerto Rico’s Martin Maldonado 3-0.