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Marwin 'answer to everything' for Astros

Utility man cracks go-ahead double in 7th to send Houston to ALCS
MLB.com @brianmctaggart

CLEVELAND -- He hit the biggest home run in the Astros' playoff history with a game-tying ninth-inning blast off the Dodgers' Kenley Jansen in Game 2 of last year's World Series. Nearly a year later, Marwin Gonzalez is still coming through in the clutch in the playoffs for Houston.

Gonzalez hit a bases-loaded double to left field off Trevor Bauer in the seventh inning of an 11-3 romp over the Indians in Game 3 of the American League Division Series on Monday afternoon, driving in a pair to give the Astros a two-run lead and setting the stage for a late-game offensive explosion.

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CLEVELAND -- He hit the biggest home run in the Astros' playoff history with a game-tying ninth-inning blast off the Dodgers' Kenley Jansen in Game 2 of last year's World Series. Nearly a year later, Marwin Gonzalez is still coming through in the clutch in the playoffs for Houston.

Gonzalez hit a bases-loaded double to left field off Trevor Bauer in the seventh inning of an 11-3 romp over the Indians in Game 3 of the American League Division Series on Monday afternoon, driving in a pair to give the Astros a two-run lead and setting the stage for a late-game offensive explosion.

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Gonzalez went 7-for-13 with five RBIs in the sweep of the Indians.

"I'm happy to contribute to win games," Gonzalez said. "That's my goal every time. It can be on the offensive side or the defensive side. I just want to contribute to win games, and I was lucky and able to do it from the offensive side this series. I'm happy. We're celebrating, and that's all I care about."

The postseason resurgence at the plate comes on the heels of a subpar regular season for Gonzalez, who followed up his bang-up 90-RBI season of 2017 -- for which he earned a few stray AL MVP Award votes -- by hitting .247 with 16 homers and 68 RBIs this year.

Gonzalez knows those numbers mean nothing in October, and he showed in the ALDS why he's one of manager AJ Hinch's most valuable and versatile weapons with his ability to switch-hit and play any position.

"He's a unique player because I can put him anywhere," Hinch said. "I push him into left field because of the makeup of our team. At any given point on any team, this guy can literally play six positions every day. … As I've said before, he's the answer to everything. We have a problem, we insert Marwin, and no matter what, he steps up in a huge way."

Video: HOU@CLE Gm3: Hinch hypes Gonzalez, team showers him

After going 4-for-4 in Game 2, Gonzalez struck out in his first at-bat Monday and then nearly hit a grand slam -- the ball curled foul -- in the third, before flying out. He hit another ball on the nose in the sixth, but he was 0-for-3 when he stepped to the plate in the seventh with the game tied and the bases loaded.

Facing Bauer, Gonzalez laced a double into the left-field corner, driving in a pair to put the Astros ahead, 4-2. The hit was as improbable as it was timely. The pitch was 4.22 feet off the ground, which, according to Statcast™, was the second-highest pitch Houston has turned into a base hit in 2018.

"I don't know where the ball was as soon as I hit it," Gonzalez said. "I heard [Josh] Reddick behind me going, 'Go, go, go!' So I started running and I realized it was going to go by the line. I didn't know. I was surprised that I kept it fair."

The Astros need only four more wins to advance to the World Series for the second year in a row, with a chance to become the first team to repeat since the 1998-2000 Yankees won three titles in a row. The goal is growing nearer for Gonzalez, who grinned when asked if Houston can make history.

"Well, why not?" he said.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.

Houston Astros, Marwin Gonzalez