This is how you throw a dagger into the hearts of the Yankees
On Saturday, the Astros had a chance to eliminate the Yankees from the postseason and advance to the World Series. Sure, the Astros may have had the better record during the regular season, barreling into October as the top seed in the AL. And, yes, they just won it all two years prior. But, the Yankees are the only team with 27 rings. They're the giant, and they probably always will be.
The Astros clearly came out to ALCS Game 6 ready to send a message. They got out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning on a home run from Yuli Gurriel. But, like any giant worth its salt, the Yankees didn't go away. They kept the Astros in striking distance and put up some runs of their own.
The first sign that the Astros were ready and able to slay the Yankees came in the seventh inning. They had the Aaron Judge -- a giant in his own right -- on first base and they tying run at the plate with one out. Aaron Hicks hit a blooper into left field that looked like it could prove to be the sort of tricky play that would turn things around. Well, Michael Brantley made sure it didn't. Definitively.
Have a feeling we are going to be watching this for a while. 😱 pic.twitter.com/voWjyNaKfv— MLB (@MLB) October 20, 2019
Gurriel's homer in the first didn't finish them off and Brantley's heroics didn't either. That's the thing with giants -- they can take quite a few heavy blows and keep on going.
The very next inning, the Yankees were in the same position with a runner on first, one out and slugging catcher Gary Sanchez up at the plate with a chance to tie the game.
He hit a ground ball in the infield and Astros shortstop Carlos Correa reached all the way back and threw a dagger to first base and straight into the Yankees' heart.
Correa with a CANNON. 😱 pic.twitter.com/eDTF6AEu2b— MLB (@MLB) October 20, 2019
Your eyes aren't deceiving you. He threw it harder than a lot of pitchers.
Carlos Correa: 94.5 mph to first base to complete the double play 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥— Andrew Simon (@AndrewSimonMLB) October 20, 2019
He knew what he had done, or at least he had a pretty good idea about it. So, he let loose:
You'd think all-timer double plays in back-to-back innings would be enough to vanquish a foe. But, it wasn't. That two-run dinger finally came in the ninth inning, with DJ LeMahieu hitting a ball over the right-field wall that just missed being caught.
But the Astros, as mighty a club as they have been this season, were ready to volley back with a blow of their own. The Astros didn't run out of whatever they had. They had one more haymaker in them, and it came from the shortest player on the team.
The Yankees were never going to go down easy. Their reputation is what it is for good reason. The Astros proved that beating them doesn't just require luck and determination -- though those things never hurt. It requires throwing a dagger, and, when they get back up, another one. And maybe a couple more after that, too.
Eric Chesterton is a writer for MLB.com. He is an appreciator of the stolen base, the bunt against the shift and nearly every unconventional uniform design. He eagerly awaits Jamie Moyer's inevitable comeback.