Astros 10, Cubs 1
W: Harrell (10-8)
L: Volstad (0-9)
Contributed by Reuben
In a stunning reversal of momentum, the Houston Astros last night won Game 5 against the Milwaukee Brewcubs in a blowout, 10 to 1, clinching the win in the final game of this best-of-five playoff series against their bitter, hated rivals.
Heading into the game, the Astros were on the brink of losing the series despite grabbing an early 2 games to none advantage, winning Game 1, 4-3, and Game 2, 6-5, both in dramatic walk-off fashion. The Brewcubs, however, fought back hard in Games 3 and 4. Led by slugging third baseman Aramis Ramirez, steroid-riddled MVP outfielder Braunny Sosa, baby-faced young shortstop sensation Segura Castro, and notorious Astro-killer Yovani Zambrano, the Brewcubs held on to win the third game, 5-3, and then proceeded to humiliate the Astros 7-1 in Game 4. Following Game 4, Brewcubs owner H. Caray “Bud” Selig could be seen grinning devilishly and sticking pins into a voodoo doll wearing an Astros uniform.
The Astros, though, refused to be deflated by their two-game losing streak. “We’ve lost two in a row before”, declared Wesley Wright, the team’s elder statesman. “In fact, just this season, I can think of a few times where we’ve lost two in a row, but it seems like we almost always come back and win the next one. That is, our wins have a habit of ending a losing streak.”
Clearly inspired by the words and example of their long-tenured leader, the Astros came out swinging in the first inning. Jose Altuve doubled and then, after a smash line drive off the bat of Brett Wallace was snared by leaping second baseman Barney Weeks, Scott Moore roped another double to score Altuve. Wallace made sure his next hit could not be robbed by any Brewcub fielder, launching a moonshot 3-run home run to dead centerfield in the 3rd inning. Fernando Martinez swatted his own 3-run homer to nearly the same spot in the 6th inning, by which point the Astros had a fairly comfortable 8-0 lead.
After Scott Moore belted the third Astros homer of the night in the 7th, Brewcub manager Don Svreunoeickme’s frustration was clearly evident in the dugout. “Our bullpen made me want to vomit, again,” Svreunoeickme said in the post-series news conference, “but the blame for us losing the series has to start with me. I should’ve known not to start an 0-8 pitcher in Game 5. Damn, that was stupid of me.”
In the other conference room, meanwhile, Astros manager Brad Mills was heaping praise on his Game 5 starter, Lucas Harrell, who dominated Brewcub batters from start to finish with his 94-95 mph fastball. “He was huge, as usual. I know it’s silly, but it seems like he’s won 25% of our games this year,” Mills beamed. Harrell went 8 innings, allowing 1 earned run on 6 hits, striking out 7. He even chipped in with a base hit of his own, scoring all the way from first on a Jose Altuve double – eliciting some comparisons to former Astro Brandon Backe’s enthusiastic, all-around style of play and his penchant for dominant, clutch pitching performances in the postseason.
“Who?” Harrell said when asked about the similarities between he and Backe. “He used to pitch for us? Must’ve been a long time ago. I don’t think even Wesley played with that guy.”
For more coverage of the Astros’ dramatic playoff series victory, read the GameZone thread.