The Houston Astros have reached their third World Series in five years after beating the Boston Red Sox 4-2 in the American League Championship Series.
Having trailed 2-1 in the best-of-seven ALCS, the Astros bounced back by winning the next three games, and blanked the Red Sox 5-0 in Friday’s game six at Minute Maid Park, Houston.
The Atlanta Braves lead the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 in the National League Championship Series, with game six on Saturday – the winners meet Houston in the Fall Classic, starting on Tuesday.
Houston, whose maiden title in 2017 was tainted by an electronic sign-stealing scandal, lost to the Washington Nationals in the 2019 World Series.
Redemption was also on the agenda for the Red Sox, who were themselves twice punished by Major League Baseball (MLB) for electronic sign-stealing in 2017 and again in 2018, the year in which they won their most recent World Series title.
MLB rules prohibit the use of electronic equipment to steal signs – hand signals used by catchers to tell pitchers what delivery to throw – but otherwise the practice, while frowned upon, is not against the rules.
Boston had crushed the Astros with 9-5 and 12-3 wins in games two and three of the ALCS, but then lost the last three games by a combined total of 23-3.
Rookie Astros pitcher Luis Garcia, who limped out of game two in the second inning with a knee problem, was on the mound for game six and did not allow a hit until deep into the sixth inning.
Designated hitter Yordan Alvarez managed two doubles and a triple on the way to collecting the ALCS most valuable player trophy, while right fielder Kyle Tucker hit a three-run homer in the eighth to give the hosts some breathing space.