2022-10-16 · 3 min read · MLB/Baseball
Houston Astros and Cleveland Guardians

Rob Carr/Getty Images | David Dermer/AP

Around the same time as Astros’ shortstop Jeremy Pena launched a Penn Murfee slider over the wall in deep left-center field, Yankees’ outfielder Harrison Bader took a middle-middle fastball from Guardians’ reliever Sam Hentges and ripped it over the left field wall. A crushing feeling for both Murfee and Hentges - Houston now led 1-0, and New York went up 5-3.
Cleveland had three innings left. Seattle, well, they only had three outs.
More than six hours after George Kirby had tossed the first pitch of the ballgame, the Mariners now trailed as they went to the bottom of the 18th inning. A grueling, never-ending affair that entered the history books as only the fourth ever playoff game to go eighteen innings following a Julio Rodriguez flyout to end the game. A pitching domination by both sides, with one pitch ending a remarkable Mariners season.
Seattle, after sweeping Toronto, got swept themselves in what might go down as the narrowest margin of “sweeping” in playoff history - the three games were decided by a combined four runs, with the Mariners having opportunities to win every game. An unfortunate ending to an otherwise noteworthy season, although Seattle’s young core should have no issues playing more baseball at T-Mobile Park in the years to come.
While the Astros celebrated, the Yankees were in the midst of trying to hold onto their 5-3 lead and take a 2-1 series lead - a possibly fatal blow to Cleveland, with Gerrit Cole already lined up to pitch Game 4. After a Luke Maile flyout to lead off the bottom of the ninth though, things went downhill for Yanks’ reliever Wandy Peralta. Singles by Myles Straw and Steven Kwan were enough to replace Peralta with righty Clarke Schmidt - notably, NOT Clay Holmes.
Runners on first and third, Amed Rosario ripped a Schmidt sinker into left to make it 5-4. The tying run, Kwan, now stood at second base with none other than Jose Ramirez coming up. Two curveballs and a misplay by Yankees’ shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa later, Ramirez reached - and the bases were loaded. With New Yorkers everywhere on the verge of losing their minds, Schmidt struck out Josh Naylor on three pitches - two outs, bases still loaded. Then, with the winning run on second, music that will forever scar the minds of New Yorkers blared throughout the stadium. That’s right, the Spongebob theme song played throughout Progressive Field as Oscar Gonzalez stepped up to the plate.
Three straight sliders by Schmidt put him ahead in the count 1-2, with the fourth pitch upcoming - another slider that, this time, didn’t slide far enough. Gonzalez ripped it back up the middle for a walk-off, two-run single, as fireworks erupted and chaos ensued on the field in Cleveland. An astounding three-run bottom of the ninth, with no extra base hits that culminated in Oscar Gonzalez’s folk-hero storyline growing. And for New York, a must-win Game 4 that is ever-so-slightly more stressful for one Gerrit Cole.
Opposing the Yankees’ ace is Canadian native Cal Quantrill, who’s been dynamite all season long. Houston, of course, awaits the winner of this series to begin the ALCS on October 19th. It’s Houston’s sixth straight appearance in the ALCS, an American League record.
Game 4 goes tonight at 7:07pm on TBS, with the city of Cleveland on the verge of having a mass call-in to work on Monday should the Guardians knock out the evil empire.
Sports Tree Profile

By: Gus Cousins


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