Out of this World! Astros finish off Phils for Series title

HOUSTON — The sound had been brewing and building in the throats of orange-clad Astros fans for years. Five years ago, they had watched their beloved ballclub win a World Series from afar. Then they had seen that title turn from outright triumph to contentious talking point, and they had watched two other teams claim and celebrate Series crowns of their own right here in Minute Maid Park.

But when Yordan Alvarez connected on José Alvarado’s sinker in the bottom of the sixth inning Saturday night, the sound was finally unleashed. It was a mighty roar of celebration, unencumbered by the weight of what has been and in anticipation of what those fans now knew was coming — a 4-1 Game 6 victory over the Phillies, and a World Series clincher under their own roof.

• Shop for Astros World Series champs gear

“I think every single time I went up there a little bit anxious,” Alvarez said through an interpreter. “Obviously, we know he has a really great sinker. This time, I just tried to stay a little bit calm, select a good pitch to swing at, so that’s what I did.”

Yordan Alvarez’s three-run homer
The Astros are World Series champions for the second time in six seasons. And given the attention and condemnation the 2017 club brought upon itself, the sting of having to host the ‘19 Nationals’ and ‘21 Braves’ bottle-popping parties and the famous frustrations Dusty Baker had endured in a 25-season pursuit of a ring as a skipper, there was cleansing catharsis as the champagne flowed freely.

“He means everything,” Jose Altuve said of Baker. “I said many, many times, he came at the right time, with the right team, and won his first World Series.”

Jose Altuve reacts to WS win
It was a surprisingly rare World Series sight, as Houston became the first team to clinch the title in its home park since the 2013 Red Sox.

Also of note, the Astros were outhomered by the Phillies in the Fall Classic, 8-5. The last team to be outhomered in a World Series and win it was the 2015 Royals, who hit just two homers compared to the Mets’ six.

This marks the second straight postseason with no Game 7s. Since League Championship Series expanded to a best-of-seven format in 1985, there have been just four Game 7 droughts of two-plus consecutive postseasons.

Shortstop Jeremy Peña became the first rookie position player named World Series Most Valuable Player. That came on the heels of Peña winning MVP honors in the ALCS. The only other rookie to win both a World Series and LCS MVP in the same season was Marlins pitcher Livan Hernandez in 1997.