Kyle Tucker hit one of Houston's four home runs in the regular-season finale against Oakland on Sunday. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images
With their ALDS positioning already locked up, the Astros had the opportunity to use the 162nd and final game of the regular season as a tune-up on Sunday. Their offense looked ready, powering their way to a final victory.
Final Score: Astros 7, A's 6
Astros Record: 95-67, winners of the AL West
Winning Pitcher: Blake Taylor (4-4)
Losing Pitcher: Lou Trivino (7-8)
Houston and Oakland go back-and-forth with solo homers
After a scoreless first inning, the runs started coming one after another in the second and third innings. Oakland started the scoring with a leadoff solo home run off of Jose Urquidy in the top of the second, then got another with one out in the third. However, Houston matched them both times, getting solo shots by Chas McCormick and Jake Meyers in the bottom half of the frames to make it a 2-2 tie going to the fourth.
The A's got back in front in the top of the fifth, getting back-to-back singles to get a runner to third to set up Tony Kemp for his second RBI of the game on a sac fly to put the Astros behind 3-2. Urquidy would finish that inning and continued with a scoreless sixth to end his day: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 2 HR, 84 P.
Tucker gets his 30th homer, Greinke comes in from the pen
Urquidy would get off the hook and end up in line for the win thanks to his offense in the bottom of the sixth. Jose Altuve led things off with a double; then, with two outs, Kyle Tucker would blast his 30th homer of the season, a two-run go-ahead shot to make it a 4-3 Houston lead. In what is shaping up to be his role on the post-season pitching staff, Zack Greinke entered from the bullpen in the top of the seventh to make a relief appearance.
Greinke made easy work of the 7-8-9 hitters of Oakland's lineup, retiring them in order to maintain the one-run lead. The lead became two runs in the bottom of the inning, with Jose Altuve getting his second double in as many innings to make it 5-3. In the top of the eighth, Greinke had another 1-2-3 inning, getting through the top of Oakland's order on just seven pitches.
Oakland ties it in the ninth, but Astros walk it off to end the regular season
At the beginning of the game, the Astros let Carlos Correa take the field by himself for a moment in what could potentially be his last regular-season game as a member of the team, if not re-signed this offseason. In the bottom of the eighth, he showed why he will garner such a large contract, hitting an opposite-field solo homer to make it a three-run game. He would take the field for the top of the ninth, but the Astros would give him another memorable moment, making defensive adjustments to take him out of the game and walk back to the dugout and get a standing ovation from the Minute Maid Park crowd.
After retiring the first six batters he faced, Greinke had a rough start to the ninth, allowing a single then a two-run homer to make it a one-run game at 6-5. He would get one more out before Dusty Baker brought in Blake Taylor, who, after getting an out, would allow a game-tying solo homer with two outs.
Houston wasted little time in the bottom of the ninth, getting a leadoff single by Jason Castro, who moved to third on a one-out double by Yordan Alvarez. That brought Yuli Gurriel, soon-to-be batting title winner, to the plate with a chance to win the game. He did just that, getting one more hit in the regular season, this one the walk-off single to give Houston a victory to cap off their successful regular season.
Perfect ending to La Piña's regular season. 🤘#ForTheH pic.twitter.com/V13AnIQeA8
— Houston Astros (@astros) October 3, 2021
Up Next: While we know what day ALDS Game 1 will take place (Thursday, October 7th) and where it will take place (Minute Maid Park), the start time and pitching matchup will be determined in the coming days as the rest of the playoff bracket shakes out.
Rockets' Alperen Sengun recently was a guest on Paul George's podcast and spoke about a conversation he had with James Harden.
He said Harden told him he was proud of him. This led George to saying he thinks this means the torch has been passed from Harden to Sengun.
Which made us wonder, is this now Sengun's team? Or is that a little premature and the true leader of the team is head coach Ime Udoka or Fred VanVleet?
Plus, Jalen Green has responded positively from being benched. Is this proof that Ime Udoka has the team taking more accountability and heading in the right direction?
Be sure to watch the video above as we break it all down!
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