HOUSTON – Rookie Luis Garcia looked like a seasoned ace in October. Yordan Alvarez remained hot with the bat, and the Astros earned another trip to the World Series.
Houston shut out the Boston Red Sox 5-0 on Friday night in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series.
The Astros advanced to the Fall Classic for the fourth time in their history and for the second time in the past three seasons. They won the title in 2017, a crown smashed by the signal theft scandal.
In 2019, they lost in seven games to the Washington Nationals.
The team coached by Dusty Baker will open the World Series on Tuesday night, either at Dodger Stadium or hosting Atlanta. The Braves have a 3-2 lead over Los Angeles in the National League Championship Series heading into Game 6 on Saturday.
“There are four more wins to go,” Baker said. “We have four more wins to get.”
Garcia didn’t allow a hit until the sixth inning. The Venezuelan left with an ovation when there were two outs, after allowing a triplet by Puerto Rican Kiké Hernández.
It was a notable upturn for the 24-year-old, who started the second game and allowed a grand slam in the first inning, before walking away with no outs in the second with a sore right knee.
Álvarez continued his torrid performance, a year after staring at matches at home after undergoing surgery on both knees. Back then, the Astros were one win away from advancing to the World Series.
The Cuban slugger had four hits, including a triple, and two doubles. He was key in the fifth game, totaling three hits and three RBIs.
He set an AL Championship Series record, hitting .522 (23-12), with one home run, three doubles, a triple and six RBIs. Got nine hits in his last 13 at-bats
Puerto Rican catcher Martín Maldonado made the defensive play of the game, striking out and hitting the pads to complete a double play that ended in the seventh inning, when Houston led 2-0.
It will be the second trip to the Fall Classic as manager by the 72-year-old Baker. He arrived in 2002, leading the San Francisco Giants.
As a player, he played three times in the World Series with the Dodgers and was crowned in 1981.
“Hey, I’m going back to a World Series!” Baker told a delirious crowd at Minute Maid Park.
For the Red Sox, Puerto Ricans Hernández 4-1, Christian Vázquez 1-0. The Dominicans Rafael Devers 4-0, Danny Santana 1-0. Mexican Alex Verdugo 2-1.
For the Astros, Venezuelan José Altuve 4-0. The Cubans Álvarez 4-4 with two runs scored and one RBI, Yuli Gurriel 3-1. Puerto Ricans Carlos Correa 3-0 with a run scored, Maldonado 3-1 ..
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Astros reach third SM in five years