Walk-off ending turns frustration into celebration

Astros strand 17 runners before Gonzalez's 16th-inning HR

May 12th, 2016

HOUSTON -- To win a game in which you left 17 runners on base, including eight through the first three innings, went 2-for-15 with runners in scoring position and then later went eight consecutive innings without getting a base hit is as unlikely as it gets for the Astros.

And, oh, what fun they had.

A game of missed chances and offensive frustration turned into a party when Marwin Gonzalez lined the first pitch he saw from Cody Anderson into the right-field seats in the 16th inning for a two-run walk-off homer and a 5-3 win over the Indians at Minute Maid Park.

"Now that it's over and we won, it would have been deflating just given the opportunities we created for ourselves [if we had lost]," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "As much as we didn't come through early against [Indians starter Danny] Salazar, who has good stuff and is one of the better evolving pitchers in the American League, we kept giving ourselves more and more opportunities. We got through their whole bullpen to where they had to bring a starter in who was going to pitch later this weekend. In that regard, I felt like our guys hung in there."

It was the first time since April 25, 2007 at Pittsburgh -- a 4-3 loss in 16 innings -- that the Astros stranded as many as 17 runners on base. The 12 walks drawn by the Astros are their most since having 14 on April 29, 2000 vs. Milwaukee.

"They have really good pitching," outfielder Preston Tucker said. "It's always tough to string hits together when every one of their pitchers is throwing 95, 96 with really good offspeed. Obviously, we threatened early and it was mostly just from walks.

"What it really came down to is Salazar pitched himself out of it. Every one of the relievers seemed to always get ahead of guys and had real good breaking stuff and we couldn't put anything together. It took us 16 innings today but fortunately we came out on top, and that's all that really matters."

Jose Altuve singled against Salazar to start the first, and George Springer and Carlos Correa followed with walks to load the bases. Salazar came back with three consecutive strikeouts. The Astros loaded the bases after two outs in the second and didn't score, and they had runners and first and second and one out in the third and couldn't capitalize.

"There was plenty of game left," Correa said. "It's about making adjustments throughout the game to help your team win, and we did that."

Tucker's RBI single in the seventh gave the Astros a 3-2 lead, but the Indians tied the game in the ninth, setting the stage for a long day. The Astros didn't get another hit following Tucker's go-ahead single until Correa led off the 16th with an infield hit, meaning they were hitless for eight innings.

"Everybody was trying to hit a homer at some point," Correa said. "It was the 10th inning, everybody was trying to hit a homer to finish the game. Obviously, Marwin was able to come through for the team. We played good defense, the pitching did a great job, [relief pitcher Michael] Feliz was outstanding - lights out - and we were able to pull this one out."