The five biggest moments from the Astros' 12-game winning streak
The Astros won the World Series last year, but it wasn't enough. They didn't say to themselves, "Hey, we already have the championship. Let's let some other team have their chance." Instead, they decided to look for absolute domination.
With the Mariners heating up and winning games in a variety of ever-more bizarre and stressful ways, Houston chose not to lose again. After defeating the Rays, 5-4, on Monday night, the Astros ran their winning streak to 12 games.
How did they get here? Here are the five biggest moments along the way:
1. The four-run seventh
The Astros have made a lot of comebacks during their streak, but it all started from the start of the streak in their 7-5 victory against the Mariners on June 6.
Trailing, 4-3, in the bottom of the seventh, Houston rapped four straight hits to the start the inning and took the lead on a Jose Altuve single. After Carlos Correa struck out, Yuli Gurriel tallied another hit to finish off the scoring and give Houston a lead they wouldn't surrender.
These were all by-the-skin-of-their-teeth hits too -- bleeders and bloopers that just dropped in. Getting to 12 wins in a row involves a little luck.
2. The Winning Balk
Tied, 7-7, against the Rangers on June 10, the Astros were threatening with runners on second and third and two outs when Evan Gattis stepped to the plate. With the count at 1-2, Keone Kela tried to rush his toss to fool El Oso Blanco and escape the inning. But the best-made plans led to the winning run coming home via the balk.
3. The seven-run inning
You thought a four-run inning wasn't enough? En route to a 13-5 dismantling of the A's on June 13, the Astros exploded with a seven-run second inning to put the game to bed very early.
That included back-to-back homers from Gattis and Marwin Gonzalez, who seemingly tried to launch their dingers to the same exact spot:
4. The grand slam
Feels like we're writing a lot about Gattis, huh? And we haven't even mentioned how his beard has reached the point that his helmet can't contain it.
Well, there's good reason to mention him all the time. The AL Player of the Week, who has hit .378/.396/.822 during the stretch, saved his biggest hit for the Astros' 7-3 win over the Royals on June 15.
Just look at this meaty two-fisted grand slam breakfast:
5. The lone walk-off
It may surprise you that the Astros only have one walk-off win, but that's what happens when 1) they have tended to decimate their opponents early and 2) all but two of the wins have been on the road. (The 10-straight road wins is tied for the second-most in Astros history. They won 11-straight road games last season).
So, entering the bottom of the ninth on Monday night, Houston trailed Tampa Bay, 4-3. The team put runners at second and third before George Springer reached first base on catcher's interference -- a rare call that seemed to indicate something magical was in the air.
Sure enough, one batter later, Alex Bregman laced a game-winning double to the gap that brought two runs home and ran the Astros' streak to a dozen.
Will they stretch it to a baker's dozen? They'll try at 8:10 p.m. ET on Tuesday against the Rays. Don't expect a lot of runs, though. Rays breakout star Blake Snell (2.58 ERA) is set to face Justin Verlander (1.61).