ASTROS WIN

Big crowd at Minute Maid goes crazy as Astros win World Series and Correa gets engaged

Carlos Correa got engaged. Getty Images

Oh, what a night! An intense World Series battle between the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers that made fans on both sides an emotional wreck turned out to be pure bliss for Houstonians Wednesday night as the Astros made history, winning the franchise's first World Series in the winner-take-all game.

As they did Tuesday night in Game 6, fans in orange and navy Astros gear turned out in force at Minute Maid Park for the World Series Game 7 Watch Party to cheer or cry together, depending on the outcome.

While lines were long when the doors opened at 5 pm, more than 17,000 fans quickly filed into the stadium to snag a prime seat on three levels from first base to third and catch the game on the ballpark's large projector screen that hangs above the outfield— and on every flatscreen TV around. 

"It's game 7 and I want to be here to feel the energy when we win this game. The city needs this coming off of Hurricane Harvey," Astros fan Hilary Stalarow told CultureMap. 

The crowd, a mix of ages with many families and children in the stands, started getting rowdy early on. Just before the first pitch, a group seated in a section of seats booed two L.A. fans in Dodgers jerseys as they arrived. The roar became louder as many in the ball park chimed in, and everyone turned to stare down the culprits. The boos were immediately followed by a loud chant that was constant throughout the night, "Beat L.A.!" 

The excitement level surged in the first inning as the Astros jumped to a 2-0 lead and climbed in the second inning as pitcher Lance McCullers showed off his batting prowess with a fielder's choice ground out to extend the lead to 3-0. The crowd stood to cheer and remained standing when center fielder George Springer hit a two-run homer in the same inning to push the score to 5-0 Astros. Cheers of "Dilly, Dilly!" and "Let's go Astros" erupted as hope and emotions kicked into high gear. 

Fortunately for emotionally worn-out fans, Wednesday's game didn't have the drastic ups and downs of Game 2 and Game 5 (or the complete downer of Game 6). Things calmed down as the Dodgers could only manage one run throughout the game, but more boos ensued when images from Dodger Stadium on the screen showed celebs in the crowd, including Mary Hart and Larry King. Every celebrity that is, but swimsuit model and pitcher Justin Verlander's fiance, Kate Upton, who received rousing cheers of support. 

But nothing compared to the overwhelming feeling of exhilaration as the Astros won game 7, beating the Dodgers 5-1. Hugs, high-fives, and a few tears followed as confetti streamed from the rafters. It was a stirring moment of pure joy in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. The crowd stood united, grateful to and proud of the Astros, and all the havoc disappeared for one night. Houston deserves it. And the Astros earned it. 

Just when fans thought it couldn't get any better, those who were filing out looked up at the screen and watched as Astros shortstop Carlos Correa got down on one knee after the game in Los Angeles and proposed to his fiancé, Miss Texas USA Daniella Rodriguez, on national TV. She said yes.

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Houston goes up 1-0 in the series

Altuve, Correa help lift Astros to ALCS Game 1 win over Red Sox

Carlos Correa's go-ahead homer in the seventh inning of ALCS Game 1 helped lift the Astros to a 1-0 series lead. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Despite one rough loss to the White Sox in the ALDS, the Astros looked like the dominant team they are capable of being, taking that series 3-1 to advance and taking ownership of home-field advantage in the ALCS against the Red Sox, who upset the Rays. In Game 1, despite trailing for the middle portions of the game, Houston would get more highlight moments from the faces of the franchise to start the series with a win.

Final Score: Astros 5, Red Sox 4

ALCS Series (Best of Seven): Houston leads 1-0

Winning Pitcher: Ryne Stanek

Losing Pitcher: Hansel Robles

Houston strikes first, but Boston sends Valdez to an early exit

Both starting pitchers worked in and out of trouble in the early goings of ALCS Game 1, starting with Framber Valdez in the top of the first. After erasing a leadoff single by inducing a double play, he went on to load the bases on a single and two walks but would strand all three runners to keep Boston off the board. The Astros jumped in front in the bottom half, with Jose Altuve working a leadoff walk, moving to second on a one-out single by Alex Bregman, advancing to third on a wild pitch, then ultimately scoring on a sac fly by Yordan Alvarez to put Houston ahead 1-0 after one frame.

They had a chance to extend their lead in the bottom of the second, taking advantage of a shaky inning by Chris Sale, who loaded the bases with one out as Houston would get two singles and a hit-by-pitch. That flipped the order over to the top, but a great diving catch by former Astro Kiké Hernández would end the inning. Hernández led off the top of the third against Valdez, and he would tie things up with a solo homer.

Things went downhill from there for Valdez and the Astros, as a one-out walk followed by a single gave the Red Sox the go-ahead run in scoring position. On a groundball that likely should have been a double play to end the inning, it would get through Altuve's legs, scoring a run and keeping the inning alive for Boston. They took advantage, getting an RBI double to extend their new lead to 3-1. Valdez would get one more out before Dusty Baker would give him the early hook, bringing in Yimi Garcia, who finished the frame.

A battle of the bullpens, Altuve ties it up

Like Valdez, Sale would also not make it through three innings, getting two outs while putting two on base before Boston would start their bullpen's night as well. Both sets of relievers settled the game down, with the Red Sox stranding two of Houston's runners in the third as well as the fifth, maintaining their two-run lead. After Garcia finished the third, Cristian Javier entered to eat up a couple of innings, and he would do just that by getting through two frames with just one hit, four strikeouts, and no runs.

Next, Phil Maton took over in the top of the sixth and erased a leadoff walk to keep things in striking distance for the home team. In the bottom of the sixth, Houston put another runner on base, getting a one-out single by Chas McCormick. Two batters later, with two outs, Jose Altuve provided yet another career postseason highlight, tying the game 3-3 with a two-run home to re-energize the Minute Maid Park crowd.

Astros take ALCS Game 1

Now a brand new ballgame in the top of the seventh, Brooks Raley came in to face three batters, getting two strikeouts while allowing a single before Dusty Baker would move on to Ryne Stanek, who would get the third out. With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Carlos Correa continued his march to a monster off-season contract, putting Houston back on top with a solo homer, making it 4-3.

Houston kept the script after Stanek with the new lead in hand, going to Kendall Graveman as the setup man in the top of the eighth. Despite a two-out single, he would get out of the inning with the lead intact, putting Houston three outs away from the victory. After a walk, single, and hit by pitch to start the bottom of the eighth with the bases loaded, Altuve would drive in his third run of the game, getting a sac fly to extend the lead to two runs at 5-3.

That insurance run proved pivotal, as closer Ryan Pressly was met with a leadoff solo home run by Hernandez, his second of the night for Boston, to make it 5-4. Pressly refocused and was able to get the next three batters in order, though, wrapping up the win to start Houston off with a 1-0 series lead and putting them three wins away from advancing to the World Series.

Up Next: The two teams will have a moderately quick turnaround, with ALCS Game 2 scheduled to start at 3:20 PM Central on Saturday ahead of NLCS Game 1 between the Dodgers and Braves getting the night slot. The pitching matchup is expected to be Nathan Eovaldi for Boston, who is 1-0 with a 2.61 ERA in his two starts this postseason, going opposite Luis Garcia, who had a rough outing in the ALDS for Houston, giving up five runs without completing three innings in Chicago.

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