Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Rafael Devers becomes sixth player since 1903 to hit postseason home run before turning 21

4 Comments

Through the first two games of the ALDS, the Red Sox never held a lead against the Astros. No surprise, then, they entered Sunday’s Game 3 down two games to none. The universe seemed to be bending towards a series sweep when the Red Sox fell behind 3-0 after the third inning.

Rafael Devers had other ideas. The Sox scored once in the second and plated another run in the third. Hanley Ramirez then tied the game with an RBI single, plating Mitch Moreland. That brought up Devers, who was hitless in five at-bats entering the action Sunday. Facing lefty reliever Francisco Liriano, Devers fouled off a fastball before slugging an 87 MPH slider out to right-center field for a lead-changing two-run home run.

Devers turns 21 years old on October 24, so he’s 20 years and 349 days old. The only players to hit a postseason home run at a younger age, dating back to 1903, according to Baseball Reference:

  • Miguel Cabrera: four home runs in 2003 playoffs, age 20 and 172 days to 20 and 187 days
  • Manny Machado: Game 3 of 2012 ALDS, 20 years and 96 days
  • Bryce Harper: Game 5 of 2012 NLDS, 19 years and 362 days
  • Andruw Jones: two home runs in 1996 playoffs, 19 years and 177 days; 19 years, 180 days

Mickey Mantle was slightly older than Devers when he homered in Games 6 and 7 of the 1952 World Series, age 20 and 352-353 days. These six are the only players to hit a postseason homer before turning 21.

Devers lived up to the hype as a highly touted prospect, batting .284/.338/.482 with 10 home runs, 30 RBI, and 34 runs scored in 240 plate appearances in the regular season after making his major league debut on July 25. The Red Sox are hoping he has plenty of postseason homers left in his bat.

Astros push ALCS to Game 7 with 7-1 stunner against Yankees

Getty Images
6 Comments

There’s just something about playing in your home ballpark. The Astros decimated the Yankees at Minute Maid Park on Friday, riding seven scoreless innings from Justin Verlander and a pair of big runs from Jose Altuve to win 7-1 and force a Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

Through the first four innings, however, the teams looked equally matched. Luis Severino no-hit the Astros through 3 2/3 innings, losing his bid on Carlos Correa‘s line drive single in the fourth. The Astros returned in the fifth to do some real damage, drawing two walks and plating the first run of the night with Brian McCann‘s ground-rule double off of the right field wall. Things didn’t get any easier for Severino. Jose Altuve lined a two-RBI base hit into left field, upping Houston’s advantage to three runs.

Verlander, meanwhile, muted the Yankees’ offense with seven innings of five-hit, eight-strikeout ball. While he didn’t come close to matching his complete game effort in Game 2, he was still plenty dominant against a struggling New York lineup. No player reached past first base until the sixth inning, when a pair of base hits from Chase Headley and Didi Gregorius gave the Yankees their first runner in scoring position. That didn’t last long, though, as Gary Sanchez grounded out on a 3-0 slider to end the inning.

In the seventh, Houston’s ace got into another spot of trouble. He walked Greg Bird on six pitches to start the inning, then plunked Starlin Castro on the wrist. Aaron Hicks struck out, in part thanks to a questionable call by home plate umpire Jim Reynolds, but it was Todd Frazier who presented the biggest threat after returning an 0-1 fastball for a 403-foot fly out to left field. Luckily for Verlander, George Springer was there to bail him out with a leaping catch at the wall.

The Yankees kept things exciting in the eighth, too. Aaron Judge ripped his third postseason home run off of Brad Peacock, taking a 425-footer out to the train in left field to spoil the Astros’ shutout. That was the only real break the Yankees got, however, as Altuve, Alex Bregman and Evan Gattis returned in the bottom of the inning to tack on another four runs, including Altuve’s solo shot off of David Robertson:

Ken Giles handled the ninth, expending 23 pitches and giving up a base hit and a walk before retiring Frazier and Headley to end the game. Thanks to Houston’s winning efforts, the two teams will compete in their first seven-game Championship Series since 2004 — and this time, at least one of them is guaranteed to come away with a win.

Game 7 of the ALCS is set for Saturday at 8:00 PM ET. Houston right-hander Charlie Morton (14-7, 3.62 ERA) is scheduled to face southpaw CC Sabathia (14-5, 3.69 ERA).