"Yeah, we couldn't really script it any better," Astros left-hander Dallas Keuchel said.
At the moment, these Astros are scary good. Actually, they've been that for a few weeks. They won 14 of 17 to finish the regular season, and they kept the momentum going Friday with a second straight 8-2 victory over the Red Sox in Game 2 of the American League Division Series presented by Doosan.
Now they're one victory away from the ALCS, and they can get it as early as Sunday in Game 3 at Fenway Park.
First things first.
"It hasn't gotten us anywhere yet, other than in a good position moving into Game 3," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "We won't take anything for granted."
Friday began with Houston mayor Sylvester Turner throwing out the ceremonial first pitch, and there's some important symbolism in his presence. When Houston was battered by Hurricane Harvey in late August, it was Turner who encouraged the Astros to return home from a relocated series in St. Petersburg and play baseball in their own ballpark.
The Astros had been reluctant to do this at a time when Houston was just beginning recovery efforts from historic flooding and massive damage, but Turner said the games would symbolize Houston's resilience. They could be seen as the beginning of the city's reconstruction.
"That's what we do here," Turner said. "We play ball. That was what we needed at that time."
Turner meant that for a couple of hours each day, the Astros would give people something to rally around.
It's tricky connecting these dots, but the emotion of that weekend -- being back home for a brief time, diving into relief efforts -- seemed to push a reset button for a team that had lost 19 of 30.
"This has been a team that's gotten some energy and played very, very well since that return," Hinch said. "Some of that is due to getting healthy and seeing what's possible at the end of the season."
The Astros have not trailed in this series, and they have gotten solid starts from Verlander and Keuchel. Their bullpen has allowed one run in 6 1/3 innings, and their offense has scored eight runs twice.
"Just to be at home, everybody is so comfortable here, and we played so well," Keuchel said. "I know we played better, record-wise, on the road this year, but just being back at home at Minute Maid, where everybody's gone through a lot, including ourselves and everybody else, it just means a lot to us to be here and for the fans to be out there."
Correa got his team going in Game 2 with a two-run home run in the first inning and drove in four runs in all. George Springer homered, doubled and walked. The pair had been hitless in Game 1, but the Astros got 12 hits in both games anyway.