After K-less streak ends, Gurriel exits with knee discomfort

First baseman hopeful he'll be in Astros' lineup for Game 6 of World Series

November 5th, 2022

PHILADELPHIA -- Yuli Gurriel exited early from the Astros’ 3-2 win over the Phillies in Thursday’s Game 5 of the World Series, having experienced right knee discomfort following a seventh-inning rundown play. But the veteran first baseman hopes to return to the lineup for Game 6 on Saturday, when Houston seeks the second championship in franchise history.

“That’s the goal right now,” Gurriel said through an interpreter. “Right now, I feel some pain, but I have hope that Saturday, I’ll be able to play.”

Gurriel’s night ended prematurely after he was tagged awkwardly by Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins on a fielder’s choice. Gurriel was replaced at first base by Trey Mancini, who made a terrific defensive play to rob Kyle Schwarber of an eighth-inning hit.

The injury followed the end of Gurriel’s impressive string of 48 consecutive plate appearances without a strikeout this postseason, which ended in the fourth inning when he fanned against Connor Brogdon.

“I think the adrenaline of October gives you some extra oomph,” Gurriel said. “I’m just trying to take advantage of it.”

Gurriel’s K-less stretch tied Tim Foli (1979 Pirates) and Gurriel’s previous performance with the ’19 Astros for the fourth-longest such streak. Joey Cora had 51 postseason plate appearances without a strikeout for the 1995 Mariners, David Eckstein had 50 with the 2006 Cardinals and Juan Pierre had 49 for the 2003 Marlins.

“Contact is huge in the World Series,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said after Game 4. “I have faith in Yuli because Yuli's been on the world stage even before he got here. You're on the world stage in Cuba; anybody that's ever been to Cuba, you’ve got to play to eat.”

Houston’s skipper was on that select list, too. Gurriel passed Baker’s string of 46 plate appearances without a strikeout for the 1981 Dodgers in Game 4.

This fall, Gurriel has also set a record for most career World Series hits by a Cuban-born player (27). Gurriel surpassed Hall of Famer Tony Pérez (23) with a second-inning single in Houston’s Game 3 loss.

Pérez played in four World Series (1970, ’72, ’75 and ’76) with the Reds and one with the Phillies (‘83), collecting 23 hits in 27 games. Gurriel is playing in his fourth World Series (2017, ’19, ’21 and ’22) and has played 25 Fall Classic games.