Ask most Astros fans what their most memorable Alex Bregman moment is and they are likely to say Game 5 of the World Series. It was a five-hour classic that was won on Bregman's walk-off single that finished the home schedule in style.
Bregman: 7 XBHs in 24 HRs
(c) Elizabeth Conley/Houston Chronicle
Turns out Bregman has a knack for this. The converted shortstop won yet another in walk-off fashion Wednesday when his two-run bomb off Ryan Tepera struck off the limestone wall behind the Crawfords for a shocking 7-6 finish. The Toronto players are going to have a long flight back to Oh! Canada! to think about this one.
The LSU product added a pair of doubles to go with four extra-base hits the previous night. We're talking seven extra-base hits within a 24-hour period and I'm not sure that's ever happened in the majors before. Opposing mangers are used to walking Jose Altuve. Now they may have to think about intentionally walking Bregman to get to Altuve. Pick your poison.
The poison was all in the Canadian dugout during the first half hour. In the opening frame, the Bluebirds scored five times off Dallas Keuchel who was coming off his best start of the year. Give The Beard some credit - he toughed out 5-1/3rd innings before leaving and his teammates had chipped the lead down to two before his exit.
Brad Peacock, Ken Giles and Will Harris gave the Astros some chances to make it all the way back.
Evan Gattis spanked a two-run double in the bottom of the first to put Houston on the board and Josh Reddick chased him home with a base hit off Marco Estrada. Gattis doubled again in the fifth to make it a 5-4 score. Gattis now has 30 RBIs for the month of June, setting a franchise record.
An error by Altuve in the sixth gave Toronto another run but the Astros got it back in the eighth when Marwin Gonzalez homered to right-center off former Astro Tyler Clippard.
That set up the dramatic ninth when Tony Kemp singled off Tepera and advanced to second on a wild pitch. For those who haven't noticed, Kemp has now played 34 games for the parent club this season and sports an OPS above .800, carrying a nifty .319 batting average. That's why he's still up here instead of Derek Fisher.
Bregman swung and missed at the first two fastballs but he didn't miss the third, stunning what remained of the 39,191 in the stands into a state of joy.
Seattle nipped the Orioles in extra innings so Houston's lead in the West remains at 3-1/2 games. The Champs move east to take on the Rays on Thursday night at 6:10 pm Central. Jim Crane will be on hand to pass out World Series rings to the fans who showed up for last year's Hurricane Harvey games (just kidding).
Tampa native Lance McCullers (8-3) will be on hand to pitch the opener for the Astros. The slated starter for the Rays is Ryan Stanek (1-1) but, if you'll recall, he departed quickly from his start in Houston and then reappeared in relief the next night. Give the front office credit for coming up with something more original than calling up a lefty from AAA.
- Bob Hulsey