The Houston Astros defeated the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 5 of the ALDS to reach the American League Championship Series for a third straight year, and they did so in fashion.
Starting picher Gerrit Cole pitched eight innings, allowing just one run and two hits while racking up 10 strikeouts. In the meantime, All-Star slugger Jose Altuve set an impressive postseason record when he went yard in the bottom of the eighth.
That marked the 11th postseason home run of his career. And with that, Altuve set the record for most career playoff home runs by a second baseman, surpassing Chase Utley's previous record of 10.
Jose Altuve just set the record for the most home runs by a second baseman in the postseason with 11. 🔥 pic.twitter.com/MxVZNCYCTc— Baseball Lifestyle™ (@BsbLifestyle__) October 11, 2019
This was also Altuve's third home run of the series, and it gave the Astros the much-needed insurance as they held off the Rays for a 6-1 victory. Houston will now face the New York Yankees in the ALCS for the second time in three years.
For the series, Altuve notched five RBI, one walk and four runs while batting .350, with a .900 slugging percentage and impressive 1.281 OPS. He led the Astros in most offensive categories during the five-game series.
Altuve is only adding more to what's already been a Hall of Fame-caliber career. The six-time All-Star is only two years removed from being named the AL MVP, after leading Houston to their first World Series championship in franchise history. The 29-year-old has also won three AL batting titles.
Now, the Astros will face their biggest challenge yet when they meet the Yankees, who won 103 games int he regular season. Houston defeated New York in a thrilling seven-game ALCS two years ago, with the home team winning every single contest. We'll find out soon enough if history will repeat itself, or if the Pinstripes will put Houston's looming dynasty on hiatus.
Altuve Is Already A Hall of Famer
If he retired today, Altuve would still have a strong enough to get into the Baseball Hall of Fame. He's arguably the best hitter in baseball after Mike Trout, and few players can match his overall defensive skills. Anything else Altuve does at this point is just gravy. Now, we just wait and see if the Astros can secure their second championship in three years.