The Houston Astros are one win away from making it to the World Series for the fifth time in seven years. Jose Altuve once again proved that he was "inevitable" after a clutch three-run homer in the ninth inning to clinch the 5-4 victory over the Texas Rangers. But before that, there was some heated drama between the Astros and Rangers.
Rangers outfielder Adolis Garcia was hit by a pitch by Astros reliever Bryan Abreu in the bottom of the eighth inning, and he was not pleased. Garcia immediately got in the face of Houston catcher Martin Maldonado before both benches cleared. After nearly 25 minutes of a delay, Garcia, Abreu, and Astros manager Dusty Baker were all ejected.
After the game, FOX Sports' Kevin Burkhardt asked Maldonado what Garcia told him when the benches cleared. Maldonado said Garcia asked him, "Why like that?" Maldonado ended his comments with a shot toward Garcia -- "The worst thing he did was wake up the Houston Astros."
Martin Maldonado throws shade to Adolis Garcia, Rangers after ALCS Game 5 win
Did the Astros ever wake up after this incident.
The Rangers had two runners on base with no outs at the time Garcia was plunked and ultimately ejected from the game. Yet, Texas could not extend their lead further, as Houston closer Ryan Pressly forced out Leody Taveras and struck out both Josh Jung and Nathaniel Howe.
In the top of the ninth inning, Rangers reliever Jose Leclerc surrendered a single to Yainer Diaz and a walk to Jon Singleton. Altuve stepped up to the plate and showed why he would go down as one of the best postseason hitters in baseball history, as he crushed a three-run homer to left field to give the Astros the lead and eventually the victory.
There was debate as to whether Abreu had hit Garcia intentionally, given his celebration in the sixth inning after his three-run homer off Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander. The Astros insisted that there was no intent to plunk Garcia in the next at-bat.
“My plan was to get the ball up and in, then slider down and away,” said Abreu, h/t MLB.com's Bryan Hoch. “I just missed the pitch.”
Garcia said of potentially getting hit by a pitch by Abreu after celebrating a postseason home run, via USA Today's Bob Nightengale, "If they're trying to react to that, I don't think that's the correct way."
The ALCS now heads back to Houston for the final two games. This series has been dominated by the road team. Can the Rangers use that to their advantage and earn their first trip to the World Series since 2011? Or will the Astros make it back to the Fall Classic once again?