Altuve hits go-ahead homer in 9th, Astros take 3-2 lead over Rangers in ALCS after benches clear

Houston Astros catcher Martin Maldonado (15) talks with starting pitcher Justin Verlander during the fifth inning in Game 5 of the baseball American League Championship Series against the Texas Rangers Friday, Oct. 20, 2023, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Houston Astros' Jose Altuve, left, celebrates with Yainer Diaz (21) and Grae Kessinger (16) after all three scored on Altuve's home run during the ninth inning in Game 5 of the baseball American League Championship Series against the Texas Rangers Friday, Oct. 20, 2023, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)

Houston Astros' Jose Altuve (27) runs the bases after hitting a three-run home run as first base coach Omar Lopez (22) celebrates and Texas Rangers first baseman Nathaniel Lowe (30) watches during the ninth inning in Game 5 of the baseball American League Championship Series Friday, Oct. 20, 2023, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Houston Astros' Jose Altuve hits a three-run home run against the Texas Rangers during the ninth inning in Game 5 of the baseball American League Championship Series Friday, Oct. 20, 2023, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez)

Texas Rangers' Adolis Garcia, right, watches his three-run home run along with Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) and catcher Martin Maldonado during the sixth inning in Game 5 of the baseball American League Championship Series Friday, Oct. 20, 2023, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

ARLINGTON, Texas — Jose Altuve hit a three-run homer in the ninth inning and the Houston Astros, after getting into another bench-clearing scuffle with the Texas Rangers, rallied for a 5-4 victory Friday in a wild and testy Game 5 of the AL Championship Series.

After winning all three matchups at rival Texas, the defending World Series champions head back home to Houston needing one win to capture a third consecutive pennant. They lead 3-2 in the best-of-seven playoff going into Game 6 on Sunday night.

ADVERTISING


“We’ve done it so many times. We never give up until the last out,” Altuve said.

Adolis García punctuated his towering three-run homer in the sixth with a slow trot and an empathic spike of his bat after watching the ball clear the wall to give Texas a 4-2 lead.

When the slugger came to bat again with a runner on first in the eighth, Bryan Abreu hit García on the left arm with a pitch. An angry García immediately turned to get in the face of catcher Martín Maldonado — the two also jawed nose-to-nose when García touched home plate after his grand slam in Houston on July 26.

Both benches and bullpens cleared, although it didn’t appear any punches were thrown as the teams grabbed hold of each other near home plate. Once things settled down, García, Abreu and Astros manager Dusty Baker had been ejected during a delay that lasted almost 12 minutes.

After the game, umpire crew chief James Hoye told a pool reporter Abreu was ejected for throwing with intent, and García was tossed for being the aggressor in the situation.

“The guy hits a three-run homer; the next time up he gets smoked there,” Texas manager Bruce Bochy said. “I’d be upset, too, if I was Doli. But like I said, it just took too long to get things back in order, that’s what was frustrating me.”

Rangers closer José Leclerc gave up a leadoff single to pinch-hitter Yainer Diaz to begin the Houston ninth and walked pinch-hitter Jon Singleton at the bottom of the lineup. Altuve then pulled an 0-1 changeup over the left-field fence, just beyond the glove of a leaping Evan Carter.

It was the 26th career postseason homer for Altuve, second in major league history behind Manny Ramirez (29). The 5-foot-6 star second baseman was playing in his 101st postseason game — all with the Astros.

“Number one, he wants to be up there. Number two, he’s got a high concentration level — because that’s what it takes in big moments like that, is concentration, desire, and relaxation all encompassed into one,” Baker said. “This dude is one of the baddest dudes I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen some greats.”

García connected off three-time Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander, who took a 2-1 lead into the bottom of the sixth before Corey Seager doubled, Carter singled and García homered in a span of three pitches. Nathaniel Lowe also went deep for the wild-card Rangers, tying it 1-all in the fifth.

Ryan Pressly pitched two scoreless innings for the win after replacing Abreu following his ejection. Pressly gave up consecutive singles to start the bottom of the ninth before retiring the top three batters in Texas’ lineup. Marcus Semien lined out to shortstop, Seager flied out to deep center and Carter struck out to end it.

Alex Bregman homered early for Houston, which is in its seventh straight ALCS and is trying to get to its fifth World Series in that span.

Thomas’ tying homer, Moreno’s decisive hit send D-backs over Phillies 6-5

PHOENIX (AP) — The crack of the bat was a stunner, jolting the sellout crowd at Chase Field into a frenzy.

Light-hitting Alek Thomas, who had lost his spot in the starting lineup because of consistently weak at-bats, had just provided the most important swing of the Arizona Diamondbacks’ storybook season.

“I was just screaming as loud as I could,” D-backs outfielder Pavin Smith said. “I think everyone was in the whole stadium.”

Thomas hit a tying, two-run homer in a three-run eighth inning, Gabriel Moreno followed with a go-ahead single and the D-backs stunned the Philadelphia Phillies with a 6-5 victory on Friday night that tied the NL Championship Series at two games apiece.

Arizona trailed 5-2 before Orion Kerkering’s bases-loaded walk to Christian Walker with two outs in the seventh.

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. doubled leading off the eighth against Craig Kimbrel, who also gave up Ketel Marte’s game-ending single in Game 3. Thomas, pinch hitting for Emmanuel Rivera with one out, sent a full-count fastball splashing into the right-center field swimming pool to tie the score 5-5 as 47,806 fans roared.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Star-Advertiser's TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email hawaiiwarriorworld@staradvertiser.com.