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HOUSTON – Capping a decade like no other in baseball history, the Houston Astros are returning to the World Series, aiming to win the club’s second championship, one that would shine a little bit brighter than the original.

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From shameless losers to industry innovators, from dominant champions to cheating chumps, the Astros took the next step in their unprecedented arc Friday night, getting a second dominant performance from an unheralded starter in as many games to defeat the Boston Red Sox, 5-0, and capture the American League Championship Series in six games.

Astros shortstop Carlos Correa celebrates with Jose Altuve after defeating the Red Sox to advance to the World Series. © Troy Taormina, USA TODAY Sports Astros shortstop Carlos Correa celebrates with Jose Altuve after defeating the Red Sox to advance to the World Series.

They advance to face either the Atlanta Braves – back here at Minute Maid Park – or the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series with Game 1 on Tuesday evening. 

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"We feel like we deserve this," says second baseman Jose Altuve, whose eighth-inning home run in Game 4 turned the series trajectory, "and we’re together in this."  

A date with the Dodgers would only intensify the grim feelings associated with the club’s electronic sign-stealing scandal, which boosted the 2017 champions all season and through a bitterly-contested seven-game slugfest with the Dodgers.

Since Houston’s organizational indiscretions – from top baseball executive Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch, both fired in January 2020, down to the players – were revealed in November 2019, the club’s lone championship has been rightfully sullied. Its protagonists have been scorned from coast to coast and in this season during which fans returned to ballparks, booed mercilessly from the Bronx to Chavez Ravine.

Another title won’t soothe all the deep-seated bitterness outside Houston. But it would certainly legitimize the baseball greatness of Astros old and new.

"It’s extra special, after everything we’ve been through as a team, as a family, we stuck together, we fought back and we’re here, man," says shortstop Carlos Correa. "We’re a great team and we’re just proud, once again, to be in the World Series."

In Game 6, it was the leaders of the new school who carried them to the pennant.

ALCS MVP Yordan Alvarez, acquired from those Dodgers in a fateful trade, drove in the game’s first run with a double and later tripled and scored another run, capping a startling final two games in which he mashed six hits, five for extra bases.

Right fielder Kyle Tucker, picking up the offensive slack once carried by former Astro George Springer, iced the game with an opposite-field, three-run homer, his fourth of this postseason.

KING TUCK!! @astros lead 5-0!

Houston can taste the World Series! pic.twitter.com/pLyJPQVrXj

— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) October 23, 2021

And rookie starter Luis Garcia, chased ignominiously from Game 2 by a then-unstoppable Red Sox offense, carried a no-hitter for 5⅔ innings as he and four relievers completed a thorough vexing of Boston’s bats.

When Ryan Pressly recorded the final out, the crowd of 42,718 at Minute Maid – one place the Astros can be sure they’re loved almost unconditionally – erupted in celebration of the pennant and anticipation of what comes next.

There it is!

The @astros win the pennant and are going to the World Series! #ForTheH pic.twitter.com/MM7TWG2uqD

— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) October 23, 2021

There was also a fair share of relief for a turnabout their club managed in an ALCS with wild momentum swings.

Garcia recorded just three outs and gave up five runs in Game 2 at Minute Maid Park Oct. 16 before exiting with a knee injury that the club said Garcia worked out in a bullpen session the following day.

In Game 6, he looked like an entirely different pitcher.

Running his fastball up to 97 mph, Garcia allowed just two baserunners through five innings – Kyle Schwarber striking out but reaching on a wild pitch to open the game, and Alex Verdugo drawing a second-inning walk. Still, Garcia was nursing just a 1-0 lead and the Astros had Phil Maton warming as he recorded the first two outs of the sixth, the massive stakes outweighing the potential milestone.

Good thing: Kiké Hernández nearly tied the game with a booming triple into the nook in left-center field. That gave manager Dusty Baker an easy call – he lifted Garcia, who received a thunderous standing ovation as he departed, and Maton induced a pop out to shortstop on one pitch.

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It was a command performance, Garcia’s fastball regularly hitting 95-96 mph, 3 mph over his regular season average, and his pitch mix only deepened an ignominious Red Sox funk. Garcia leaned heavily on his fastball early but struck out Christian Arroyo and Hunter Renfroe almost entirely on cutters in the fifth. He opened the sixth punching out pinch-hitter Danny Santana on a changeup before Schwarber’s deep fly to left preceded Hernández’s triple. 

Hernández staged an MVP-worthy performance throughout the postseason – 20 hits in 49 at-bats (.408) and five home runs, three in this ALCS. Yet a Boston offense that scored 21 runs in Games 2 and 3 to briefly seize command of the series went AWOL: From the second inning of Game 4 until Hernandez’s triple, the Red Sox recorded seven hits in 73 at-bats (.096 average) and were outscored 20-1.

The series pivoted, pitching coach Brent Strom said, when young pitchers such as Garcia and Game 5 winner Framber Valdez determined if they would go down, it'd be with their nastiest stuff.

"They were spitting on so many non-competitive breaking balls the first couple games," Strom said of the Red Sox, "I basically told the group, ‘If you’re going to get beat, throw your best stuff over the plate, and then you can sleep at night, rather than dance around the strike zone.' Young pitchers start dancing a bit, and you can’t do that."

And the Astros played nearly flawless baseball when they had to the most.

Game 6 started with Schwarber reaching on the strikeout-wild pitch, and Hernández followed with a smash up the middle. But Altuve – positioned like a shortstop in the shift – made a sparkling diving grab and one-hopped a perfect throw to first for the out.

What a play by Jose Altuve 👏 pic.twitter.com/HE54AkmbCi

— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) October 23, 2021

The Red Sox nearly caught Baker slipping in the seventh, when Graveman – who pitched two innings in Game 4 – wobbled by issuing a leadoff walk and single to Alex Verdugo. With nobody warming in the bullpen and runners at the corners, it would be Graveman’s game to lose.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora countered with lefty bat Travis Shaw, who worked a full count. Verdugo took off on the pitch, but Graveman struck out Shaw and catcher Martin Maldonado, as is his wont, unloaded a bazooka of a throw, shortstop Carlos Correa letting it travel long enough to nab Verdugo for the 2-6 double play.

STRIKE 'EM OUT, THROW 'EM OUT pic.twitter.com/FjZO69tg7m

— MLB (@MLB) October 23, 2021

"That was huge," says Baker. "There are people who were wondering why Maldi was playing, hitting .075."

By then, it was party time once again in Houston. For sign-stealing protagonists Correa and Altuve, Alex Bregman and Yuli Gurriel, the coming days will bring more criticism from fans and pundits alike, certainly thunderous boos in L.A. and probably some why-not catcalls in Atlanta, too.

Yet if the boos never abate, the criticism may ring hollower if the Astros keep winning. With four more wins, a cast of characters old and new will have plenty to celebrate.

"These guys felt that we were going to get to this point, and it's a matter of belief," says Baker. "Before it happens, you have to believe it.

"These guys believe it." 

>Full screen 1/168 SLIDES © Thomas Shea, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 6: Astros designated hitter Yordan Alvarez celebrates with teammates after winning ALCS MVP.
2/168 SLIDES © Troy Taormina, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 6: Astros shortstop Carlos Correa celebrates with Jose Altuve after defeating the Red Sox.
3/168 SLIDES © Troy Taormina, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 6: Astros relief pitcher Ryan Pressly celebrates after defeating the Red Sox.
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ALCS Game 6: Astros second baseman Jose Altuve celebrates with shortstop Carlos Correa after defeating the Red Sox to advance to the World Series.
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ALCS Game 6: Astros fans go crazy after Kyle Tucker hits a three-run homer off Red Sox relief pitcher Adam Ottavino in the eighth inning.
6/168 SLIDES © Troy Taormina, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 6: Astros right fielder Kyle Tucker hits a three-run home run in the eighth inning.
7/168 SLIDES © Troy Taormina, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 6: Astros shortstop Carlos Correa celebrates after Red Sox outfielder Alex Verdugo is thrown out at second base by Astros catcher Martin Maldonado to end the seventh inning.
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ALCS Game 6: Astros designated hitter Yordan Alvarez scores a run in the sixth inning.
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ALCS Game 6: Astros shortstop Carlos Correa is hit by a pitch in the sixth inning.
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ALCS Game 6: Fans go crazy after Astros designated hitter Yordan Alvarez leads off the sixth inning with a triple.
11/168 SLIDES © Troy Taormina, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 6: Astros starting pitcher Luis Garcia leaves the field after a pitching change in the sixth inning.
12/168 SLIDES © Thomas Shea, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 6: Red Sox center fielder Kike' Hernandez breaks up the no-hitter with a triple in the sixth inning.
13/168 SLIDES © Troy Taormina, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 6: Red Sox starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi reacts after giving up a double to Astros designated hitter Yordan Alvarez in the fourth inning.
14/168 SLIDES © Thomas Shea, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 6: Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers watches a fly ball for an out in the fourth inning.
Slideshow continues on the next slide 15/168 SLIDES © Thomas Shea, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 6: Red Sox center fielder Enrique Hernandez flies out to center field in the second inning.
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ALCS Game 6: Astros fans cheer from the stands as Red Sox first baseman Bobby Dalbec strikes out.
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ALCS Game 6: Astros designated hitter Yordan Alvarez hits an RBO double in the first inning.
18/168 SLIDES © Thomas Shea, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 6: A nun throws out the first pitch at Minute Maid Park.
19/168 SLIDES © Jayne Kamin-Oncea, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 5: Dodgers second baseman Trea Turner and Chris Taylor celebrate after defeating the Braves.
20/168 SLIDES © Gary A. Vasquez, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 5: Dodgers relief pitcher Kenley Jansen closes out the game.
21/168 SLIDES © Gary A. Vasquez, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 5: Dodgers' Chris Taylor celebrates his third home run of the game in the seventh inning.
22/168 SLIDES © Gary A. Vasquez, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 5: Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman watches A.J. Pollock's second homer of the game in the eighth inning.
23/168 SLIDES © Gary A. Vasquez, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 5: Dodgers' Cody Bellinger doesn't realize his hit falls in for a single in the fifth inning.
24/168 SLIDES © Jayne Kamin-Oncea, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 5: Dodgers first baseman Albert Pujols celebrates after scoring on a two run home run from left fielder Chris Taylor in the fifth inning.
25/168 SLIDES © Jayne Kamin-Oncea, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 5: Dodgers relief pitcher Brusdar Graterol with the fist pump to end the fourth inning.
26/168 SLIDES © Jayne Kamin-Oncea, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 5: Dodgers relief pitcher Brusdar Graterol with the fist pump to end the fourth inning.
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NLCS Game 5: Dodgers relief pitcher Brusdar Graterol with the fist pump to end the fourth inning.
28/168 SLIDES © Jayne Kamin-Oncea, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 5: Dodgers relief pitcher Brusdar Graterol with the fist pump to end the fourth inning.
29/168 SLIDES © Jayne Kamin-Oncea, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 5: Dodgers relief pitcher Brusdar Graterol with the fist pump to end the fourth inning.
30/168 SLIDES © Jayne Kamin-Oncea, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 5: Dodgers relief pitcher Brusdar Graterol with the fist pump to end the fourth inning.
31/168 SLIDES © Gary A. Vasquez, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 5: Dodgers relief pitcher Brusdar Graterol makes the out at first base in the fourth inning.
32/168 SLIDES © Jayne Kamin-Oncea, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 5: Dodgers left fielder Chris Taylor celebrates with first baseman Albert Pujols after scoring on a two-run home run in the second inning.
33/168 SLIDES © Gary A. Vasquez, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 5: Braves left fielder Eddie Rosario makes a catch.
34/168 SLIDES © Gary A. Vasquez, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 5: Dodgers left fielder Chris Taylor hits a two run home run in the second inning.
35/168 SLIDES © Gary A. Vasquez, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 5: Dodgers left fielder AJ Pollock celebrates with first baseman Albert Pujols after hitting a solo home run in the second inning.
36/168 SLIDES © Gary A. Vasquez, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 5: Dodgers relief pitcher Joe Kelly walks to the dugout after being pulled in the first inning.
37/168 SLIDES © Gary A. Vasquez, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 5: Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman is all smiles after a two-run homer in the first inning.
38/168 SLIDES © Gary A. Vasquez, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 5: Braves second baseman Ozzie Albies singles in the first inning.
39/168 SLIDES © Jayne Kamin-Oncea, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 4: Braves relief pitcher Will Smith celebrates with catcher Travis d'Arnaud after the final out.
40/168 SLIDES © Kirby Lee, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 4: Braves left fielder Eddie Rosario muscles up after his second homer of the game.
41/168 SLIDES © Kirby Lee, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 4: Braves left fielder Eddie Rosario hits a three run home run in the ninth inning.
42/168 SLIDES © Kirby Lee, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 4: Braves relief pitcher Tyler Matzek gets out of the eighth inning.
43/168 SLIDES © Jayne Kamin-Oncea, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 4: Braves right fielder Joc Pederson reacts after hitting a foul ball in the fifth inning.
44/168 SLIDES © Kirby Lee, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 4: Braves left fielder Eddie Rosario hits a single in the fifth inning.
45/168 SLIDES © Jayne Kamin-Oncea, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 4: Dodgers starting pitcher Julio Urias returns to the dugout after the second inning.
46/168 SLIDES © Jayne Kamin-Oncea, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 4: Braves center fielder Adam Duvall makes a catch against the wall to rob Dodgers' Gavin Lux in the second inning.
47/168 SLIDES © Kirby Lee, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 4: Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman connects for Atlanta's third a solo home run of the game in the third inning.
48/168 SLIDES © Kirby Lee, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 4: Braves center fielder Adam Duvall hits a solo home run in the second inning.
49/168 SLIDES © Kirby Lee, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 4: Braves left fielder Eddie Rosario touches home plate after a solo homer in the second inning.
50/168 SLIDES © Jayne Kamin-Oncea, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 4: Dodgers starting pitcher Julio Urias delivers a pitch in the first inning.
51/168 SLIDES © Jayne Kamin-Oncea, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 4: Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts is all smiles before the game.
52/168 SLIDES © Paul Rutherford, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 5: Astros designated hitter Yordan Alvarez and second baseman Jose Altuve high-five after defeating the Red Sox.
53/168 SLIDES © Paul Rutherford, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 5: The Red Sox watch from the dugout in the ninth inning.
54/168 SLIDES © Bob DeChiara, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 5: Red Sox left fielder Alex Verdugo stands in front of the Green Monster scoreboard in the ninth inning.
55/168 SLIDES © Bob DeChiara, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 5: Red Sox center fielder Enrique Hernandez kneels during the ninth inning.
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ALCS Game 5: Astros left fielder Michael Brantley, second baseman Jose Altuve celebrate with shortstop Carlos Correa after scoring in the sixth inning.
57/168 SLIDES © Bob DeChiara, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 5: Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers hits a solo home run in the seventh inning.
58/168 SLIDES © Bob DeChiara, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 5: Red Sox designated hitter J.D. Martinez is hit by a pitch in the fifth inning.
59/168 SLIDES © Bob DeChiara, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 5: Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers throws to first base in the fifth inning.
60/168 SLIDES © Bob DeChiara, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 5: Red Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale ends the fourth inning with a strikeout. \
61/168 SLIDES © Bob DeChiara, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 5: Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers shatters his bat in the second inning.
62/168 SLIDES © Bob DeChiara, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 5: Astros designated hitter Yordan Alvarez hits a solo home run in the second inning.
63/168 SLIDES © Paul Rutherford, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 5: Former Red Sox players Jim Rice (right) and Luis Tiant come out for the ceremonial first pitch.
64/168 SLIDES © Paul Rutherford, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 4: Astros relief pitcher Ryan Pressly reacts after defeating the Red Sox 9-2.
65/168 SLIDES © Paul Rutherford, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 4: Boston Red Sox left fielder Alex Verdugo stands in disbelief in the ninth inning.
66/168 SLIDES © Paul Rutherford, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 4: Astros left fielder Michael Brantley slides past Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez in the ninth inning.
67/168 SLIDES © Paul Rutherford, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 4: Red Sox's Nathan Eovaldi walks off of the field in the ninth inning.
68/168 SLIDES © Paul Rutherford, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 4: Astros second baseman Jose Altuve rounds the bases after a solo home run in the eighth inning.
69/168 SLIDES © Bob DeChiara, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 4: Astros relief pitcher Cristian Javier walks off of the field in the sixth inning.
70/168 SLIDES © Paul Rutherford, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 4: Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts doubles in the fifth inning.
71/168 SLIDES © Bob DeChiara, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 4: Red Sox second baseman Christian Arroyo slides safely into third base in the fourth inning.
72/168 SLIDES © Paul Rutherford, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 4: Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez and third base coach Carlos Febles separate manger Alex Cora from home plate umpire Laz Diaz in the third inning.
73/168 SLIDES © Paul Rutherford, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 4: Red Sox starting pitcher Nick Pivetta reacts after getting out of the second inning.
74/168 SLIDES © Paul Rutherford, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 4: Astros starting pitcher Zack Greinke walks off of the field after the first inning.
75/168 SLIDES © Paul Rutherford, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 4: Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts flips the bat after hitting a two-run home run in the bottom of the first inning.
76/168 SLIDES © Paul Rutherford, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 4: Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts watches the ball after hitting a two-run home run.
77/168 SLIDES © Bob DeChiara, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 4: Astros third baseman Alex Bregman rounds the bases after a solo homer in the first inning.
78/168 SLIDES © Jayne Kamin-Oncea, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 3: Dodgers' Kenley Jansen closes out the game in the ninth inning.
79/168 SLIDES © Jayne Kamin-Oncea, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 3: The Dodgers dugout reacts to right fielder Mookie Betts' RBI double in the eighth inning.
80/168 SLIDES © Jayne Kamin-Oncea, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 3: Dodgers first baseman Cody Bellinger celebrates with catcher Will Smith after hitting a three-run home run.
81/168 SLIDES © Jae Hong, AP
NLCS Game 3: Dodgers' Cody Bellinger reacts after hitting a three-run home run in the eighth inning.
82/168 SLIDES © Jayne Kamin-Oncea, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 3: Dodgers first baseman Cody Bellinger hits a three-run home run in the eighth inning.
83/168 SLIDES © Kirby Lee, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 3: Dodgers' Chris Taylor steals second base in the eighth inning.
84/168 SLIDES © Kirby Lee, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 3: Braves right fielder Joc Pederson singles in the seventh inning.
85/168 SLIDES © Kirby Lee, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 3: Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson singles in the sixth inning.
86/168 SLIDES © Jayne Kamin-Oncea, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 3: Braves center fielder Adam Duvall celebrates after hitting a RBI single in the fifth inning.
87/168 SLIDES © Kirby Lee, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 3: Dodgers starting pitcher Walker Buehler is relieved by manager Dave Roberts in the fourth inning.
88/168 SLIDES © Jayne Kamin-Oncea, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 3: Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman celebrates with team mates after scoring in the fourth inning.
89/168 SLIDES © Jayne Kamin-Oncea, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 3: Dodgers center fielder Gavin Lux can't make the catch in the fourth inning.
90/168 SLIDES © Jayne Kamin-Oncea, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 3: Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager hits a two-run home run in the first inning.
91/168 SLIDES © Kirby Lee, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 3: Mookie Betts steals second base.
92/168 SLIDES © Kirby Lee, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 3: Dodgers co-owner Magic Johnson attends the game.
93/168 SLIDES © Jayne Kamin-Oncea, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 3: The Dodgers Blue Crew holds a flag up before the game.
94/168 SLIDES © Kirby Lee, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 3: Dodgers and Braves players line up before the contest.
95/168 SLIDES © Paul Rutherford, USA TODAY Sports
Game 3: The Houston Astros' Kyle Tucker hits a three-run home run against the Boston Red Sox during the fourth inning.
96/168 SLIDES © Bob DeChiara, USA TODAY Sports
Game 3: Boston Red Sox left fielder Alex Verdugo plays a ball off of the Green Monster during the fourth inning.
97/168 SLIDES © Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports
Game 3: The Boston Red Sox's Christian Arroyo (right) celebrates with teammate Kyle Schwarber after hitting a two-run home run against the Houston Astros during the third inning.
98/168 SLIDES © Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports
Game 3: The Boston Red Sox's Kyle Schwarber flips the bat after hitting a grand slam.
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Game 3: Fans watch from Fenway Park.
100/168 SLIDES © Brett Davis, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 2: Eddie Rosario celebrates his walk-off single.
101/168 SLIDES © Brett Davis, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 2: Eddie Rosario celebrates his walk-off single.
102/168 SLIDES © Dale Zanine, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 2: Ozzie Albies slides to score a run in the eighth inning.
103/168 SLIDES © Brett Davis, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 2: Julio Urias pitches in the eighth inning.
104/168 SLIDES © Brett Davis, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 2: Austin Riley reacts after a double in the eighth inning.
105/168 SLIDES © Brett Davis, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 2: Braves center fielder Guillermo Heredia misplays a ball in the seventh inning.
106/168 SLIDES © Brett Davis, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 2: Dodgers relief pitcher Alex Vesia reacts after a strikeout in the fifth.
107/168 SLIDES © Dale Zanine, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 3: Corey Seager breaks his bat during the fifth inning.
108/168 SLIDES © Dale Zanine, Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 2: Joc Pederson celebrates his two-run homer in the fourth.
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NLCS Game 2: Joc Pederson celebrates his two-run homer in the fourth.
110/168 SLIDES © Brett Davis, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 2: Joc Pederson celebrates his two-run homer in the fourth.
111/168 SLIDES © Dale Zanine, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 2: Braves left fielder Eddie Rosario makes a running catch.
112/168 SLIDES © Dale Zanine, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 2: Max Scherzer in the first inning against the Braves.
113/168 SLIDES © Brett Davis, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 2: Mookie Betts rounds the bases on Corey Seager's two-run homer in the first inning.
114/168 SLIDES © Dale Zanine, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 2: Gavin Lux steals second base under Ozzie Albies' tag in the first inning.
115/168 SLIDES © Brett Davis, USA TODAY Sports
NLDS Game 1: The Braves celebrate their walk-off win over the Dodgers.
116/168 SLIDES © Brett Davis, USA TODAY Sports
NLDS Game 1: Braves third baseman Austin Riley is mobbed by his teammates after his walk off RBI in the ninth inning.
117/168 SLIDES © Brett Davis, USA TODAY Sports
NLDS Game 1: Braves second baseman Ozzie Albies scores the winning run in the ninth inning.
118/168 SLIDES © Brett Davis, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 1: Braves second baseman Ozzie Albies steals second base in the bottom of the ninth inning.
119/168 SLIDES © Brett Davis, USA TODAY Sports
NLCS Game 1: Dodgers left fielder Chris Taylor is tagged out by Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson to end the top of the ninth inning.
120/168 SLIDES © Brett Davis, USA TODAY Sports
NLDS Game 1: Braves relief pitcher Luke Jackson point to catcher Travis d'Arnaud after getting the final out in the eighth inning.
121/168 SLIDES © Brett Davis, USA TODAY Sports
NLDS Game 1: Braves relief pitcher Luke Jackson prepares to pitch in the eighth inning.
122/168 SLIDES © Brett Davis, USA TODAY Sports
NLDS Game 1: Dodgers left fielder Chris Taylor is safe at second for a double in the seventh inning.
123/168 SLIDES © Brett Davis, USA TODAY Sports
NLDS Game 1: Braves third baseman Austin Riley hits a solo homer in the fourth inning.
124/168 SLIDES © Brett Davis, USA TODAY Sports
NLDS Game 1: Dodgers catcher Will Smith hits a solo home run in the fourth inning.
125/168 SLIDES © Brett Davis, USA TODAY Sports
NLDS Game 1: Dodgers pitcher Tony Gonsolin cycles through a pitch.
126/168 SLIDES © Brett Davis, USA TODAY Sports
NLDS Game 1: A look at Tony Gonsolin's unique cleats with cats on them.
127/168 SLIDES © Brett Davis, USA TODAY Sports
NLDS Game 1: Dodgers left fielder AJ Pollock hits a double in the second inning.
128/168 SLIDES © Brett Davis, USA TODAY Sports
NLDS Game 1: Dodgers right fielder Steven Souza Jr. strikes out in the second inning.
129/168 SLIDES © Brett Davis, USA TODAY Sports
NLDS Game 1: Dodgers relief pitcher Phil Bickford jogs back to the dugout.
130/168 SLIDES © Brett Davis, USA TODAY Sports
NLDS Game 1: Braves left fielder Eddie Rosario scores on a wild pitch in the first inning.
131/168 SLIDES © Brett Davis, USA TODAY Sports
NLDS Game 1: Braves fans enter Truist Park.
132/168 SLIDES © Troy Taormina, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 2: Red Sox center fielder Enrique Hernandez and third baseman Rafael Devers celebrate their 9-5 win.
133/168 SLIDES © Troy Taormina, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 2: Astros shortstop Carlos Correa reacts after hitting a single in the fourth inning.
134/168 SLIDES © Thomas Shea, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 2: Astros fans celebrate.
135/168 SLIDES © Troy Taormina, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 2: Astros second baseman Jose Altuve looks on during the eighth inning.
136/168 SLIDES © Thomas Shea, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 2: Red Sox center fielder Enrique Hernandez celebrates with third baseman Rafael Devers after hitting a solo home run in the fourth inning.
137/168 SLIDES © Troy Taormina, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 2: Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers celebrates his grand slam with his teammates.
138/168 SLIDES © Troy Taormina, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 2: Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers hits a grand slam against in the second inning.
139/168 SLIDES © Troy Taormina, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 2: Astros starting pitcher Luis Garcia is removed from the game with an injury in the second inning.
140/168 SLIDES © Troy Taormina, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 2: Red Sox designated hitter J.D. Martinez touches home plate after hitting a grand slam in the first inning.
141/168 SLIDES © Troy Taormina, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 2: Astros center fielder Chas McCormick makes a diving catch to rob Red Sox center fielder Kike Hernandez in the first inning.
142/168 SLIDES © Troy Taormina, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 2: An Astros fan holds up a sign for shortstop Carlos Correa.
143/168 SLIDES © Thomas Shea, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 1: Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa and second baseman Jose Altuve embrace after their win over the Boston Red Sox at Minute Maid Park.
144/168 SLIDES © Troy Taormina, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 1: Houston Astros relief pitcher Ryan Pressly reacts after closing out the ninth inning against the Boston Red Sox.
145/168 SLIDES © Thomas Shea, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 1: Houston Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel slides safely past Boston Red Sox catcher Kevin Plawecki during the eighth inning at Minute Maid Park.
146/168 SLIDES © Thomas Shea, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 1: Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa hits a go-ahead solo home run in the seventh inning against the Boston Red Sox.
147/168 SLIDES © Thomas Shea, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 1: Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa hits a go-ahead solo home run in the seventh inning against the Boston Red Sox.
148/168 SLIDES © Thomas Shea, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 1: Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa reacts after hitting a go-ahead solo home run in the seventh inning against the Boston Red Sox.
149/168 SLIDES © Thomas Shea, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 1: Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa celebrates with first base coach Omar Lopez after hitting a go-ahead solo home run in the seventh inning against the Boston Red Sox.
150/168 SLIDES © Thomas Shea, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 1: Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa celebrates with first baseman Yuli Gurriel after hitting a go-ahead solo home run in the seventh inning against the Boston Red Sox.
151/168 SLIDES © Troy Taormina, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 1: Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa celebrates with Jose Siri after hitting a go-ahead solo home run in the seventh inning against the Boston Red Sox.
152/168 SLIDES © Troy Taormina, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 1: Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve hits a game-tying, two-run home run during the sixth inning against the Boston Red Sox.
153/168 SLIDES © Thomas Shea, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 1: Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve is congratulated by shortstop Carlos Correa after hitting a game-tying, two-run home run in the sixth inning against the Boston Red Sox.
154/168 SLIDES © Troy Taormina, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 1: Boston Red Sox center fielder Enrique Hernandez is congratulated by shortstop Xander Bogaerts after making a catch to end the fifth inning against the Houston Astros.
155/168 SLIDES © Troy Taormina, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 1: Boston Red Sox center fielder Enrique Hernandez catches a fly ball during the fifth inning against the Houston Astros.
156/168 SLIDES © Troy Taormina, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 1: Boston Red Sox right fielder Hunter Renfroe reacts after hitting a one-run double against the Houston Astros during the third inning at Minute Maid Park.
157/168 SLIDES © Troy Taormina, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 1: Boston Red Sox center fielder Enrique Hernandez is congratulated by third base coach Carlos Febles after hitting a solo home run in the third inning against the Houston Astros.
158/168 SLIDES © Troy Taormina, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 1: Boston Red Sox center fielder Enrique Hernandez reacts after making a diving catch with the bases loaded in the second inning against the Houston Astros.
159/168 SLIDES © Thomas Shea, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 1: Boston Red Sox center fielder Enrique Hernandez makes a diving catch with the bases loaded during the second inning against the Houston Astros.
160/168 SLIDES © Troy Taormina, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 1: Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve slides safely in at home during the first inning against the Boston Red Sox.
161/168 SLIDES © Thomas Shea, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 1: Houston Astros catcher Martin Maldonado talks with starting pitcher Framber Valdez during the first inning against the Boston Red Sox.
162/168 SLIDES © Thomas Shea, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 1: Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa greets left fielder Yordan Alvarez before the game against the Boston Red Sox at Minute Maid Park.
163/168 SLIDES © Thomas Shea, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 1: The Boston Red Sox's Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers and J.D. Martinez line up before the game against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.
164/168 SLIDES © Thomas Shea, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 1: Houston Astros fans pose for a photo before game one against the Boston Red Sox at Minute Maid Park.
165/168 SLIDES © Troy Taormina, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 1: Houston Astros fans pose for a photo before the game against the Boston Red Sox at Minute Maid Park.
166/168 SLIDES © Troy Taormina, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 1: Fans try to catch a fly ball during batting practice before the game between the Houston Astros and the Boston Red Sox at Minute Maid Park.
167/168 SLIDES © Thomas Shea, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 1: Young Houston Astros fans look on from the stands before the game against the Boston Red Sox at Minute Maid Park.
168/168 SLIDES © Thomas Shea, USA TODAY Sports
ALCS Game 1: Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora points towards the stands before the game against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Astros close out Red Sox in Game 6 of ALCS, return to World Series for third time in five seasons

Source : https://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/mlb/astros-close-out-red-sox-in-game-6-of-alcs-return-to-world-series-for-third-time-in-five-seasons/ar-AAPQPlT

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