The Astros are in the World Series, and they are the heroes Houston needs

The hired gun, Justin Verlander, has been terrific. Elsa/Getty Images

The Astros are the sports heroes this city needs. And the heroes Houston wants. 

With Saturday's Game 7 win over the Yankees, the Astros are headed to the World Series for just the second time in the history of the franchise. The Astros are 55 years old. I am 52. I have more marriages (3) than they have World Series appearances. And I did not start until I was 19.

None of that matters. The Astros beat the mighty Red Sox. The more mighty Yankees. And now they face the toughest test of all -- the even mightier Dodgers. 

But in a city still recovering from Harvey, Houston needed this. Sports is the ultimate escape from reality. And the Astros are taking us on a magic carpet ride. 

And they are so unique. They have an MVP who is too small to be a success. And yet he is.

They have the hired gun, Justin Verlander, who has been nothing short of amazing.

They are the bearded one, Dallas Keuchel. The superstar young shortstop, Carlos Correa. The home-run bashing George Springer. 

They are talented. And they are likeable. Even with the annoying woos that Josh Reddick -- the heart and soul -- brought to the team, they are so much fun. Reddick. Carlos Beltran. Brian McCann. Despite the awful slump in New York, they came up big when they needed to do so.

And they did. 

And now they are on to the World Series. The Dodgers are the best team in baseball, but bet against this group at your own risk. 

The city of Houston is still recovering, and trash still sits out front of many houses. The storm displaced so many people. 

The Astros were affected, too. Not just here, but in Puerto Rico. And yet they stepped up. 

The next two weeks have a chance to be special. Would anyone doubt this team? 

They are the sports heroes Houston wanted.

And needed.






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Framber Valdez was dominant on Thursday. Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images.

The Astros came into this game against the Rangers looking to take the finale of the 3-game series, and they did exactly that.

Framber Valdez had another classic performance, pitching seven innings while allowing zero runs and four hits. Valdez also recorded 8Ks and 1BB.

On offense, it was a big day for Yuli Gurriel who bounced back with 3 hits after going 0-5 the previous night. Alex Bregman and Martin Maldonado both went yard, hitting 2 and 3-run bombs respectively.

Maldonado's came in the bottom of the second inning, giving the Astros a 3-0 lead.

Bregman's put the Astros on top 5-0 in the bottom of the 5th.

The Astros added two more runs in the 7th after Bregman singled to drive in a run, and a sac fly from Aledmys Diaz.

Heading into the 8th inning, Seth Martinez took over for Valdez protecting a 7-0 lead. That lead wouldn't last long after Martinez allowed a couple of base runners and gave up 2 runs off a pair of singles from Nathaniel Lowe and Leody Taveras.

The Astros headed to the bottom of the 8th up 7-2.

After a scoreless bottom of the 8th, Rafael Montero came in to close the game out in the 9th.

Montero gave up a solo homer to Marcus Semien with 2 outs in the 9th before shutting the door.

Final: Astros 7, Rangers 3

Next up: Oakland comes to Minute Maid to play the Astros Friday night at 7:10PM.

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