Yesterday, Red kept his streak of never having seen the Houston Astros win a post-season game alive. The Astros collapse yesterday came 35 years to the date after Red attended his first ever MLB playoff game when the Astros faced the Phillies in Game 5 of the 1980 NL Championship series. Remarkably, in both games the opposition scored 5 runs in the top of the 8th to wrest control from the Astros.
The 1980 game seemed in complete control entering the 8th inning. A three run lead with Nolan Ryan on the mound seemed insurmountable. But the Phillies were made of sterner stuff. They loaded the bases with nobody out on three cheap singles, including an infield hit by Bob Boone and bunt Greg Gross. Ryan walked in a run and then the floodgates opened. The Astros rallied to tie in the bottom of the 8th, but back to back doubles in the 10th secured the win for the Phillies.
Red was also there for Game 5 of the NLCS in 2005 when Albert Pujols hit a rocket off of Brad Lidge to win the game. The stink of that loss was erased when the Astros pummeled the Cards in Game 6 to advance to their first World Series.
Red also witnessed two other losses to the Braves in various series included the heart-breaking loss in the last game ever played at the Astrodome in 1999.
Yesterday’s game featured a seemingly interminable top of the 8th. It was reported to have lasted 41 minutes but it seemed like more than an hour watching the slow steady implosion. The Astros best chance to staunch the bleeding was lost when Kendrys Morales punched a ground ball that skipped off the mound, glanced off pitcher Tony Sipp’s glove and then was whiffed by shortstop Carlos Correa. Correa’s error allowed two runs to score and the game was tied. Alex Gordon pushed what proved to be the winning run across the plate on a ground-out fielder’s choice and the Astros were done.
The toll of the damage from the top of the 8th inning:
3 Astros pitchers
11 Royals batters
Red will not be allowed to attend any more games this season.