Result Mariners vs. Astros: Jeremy Peña breaks goalless tie in 18th place, Houston defeats ALDS

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The Houston Astros are returning to the ALCS. On Saturday night, the Astros outlived the Seattle Mariners to finish the win in the best-of-three ALDS (HOU 1, SEA 0 in 18 innings). The game was scoreless until Jeremy Peña hit the game-winning and series-defining solo home run in the 18th inning.

At 18 innings, Game 3 is the longest postseason game in history and it is the first postseason game to go scoreless for at least 15 innings. Houston advances to its sixth straight ALCS and the Mariners head home for the offseason.

Here are five takeaways from Game 3.

1. King Félix throwing the ceremonial first throw

Saturday marked Seattle’s first postseason game since 2001, and there was no better Mariners legend to throw the ceremonial first pitch than Félix Hernández, the franchise’s biggest pitcher. Here is King Félix’s first pitch:

“It felt good to be home” Hernández told that Seattle Times about throwing out the first throw, adding that he told the Mariners they would not commit to it until they secured a postseason berth. You can’t jinx something like that. In related King Félix news, a rare good tweet was made during Game 3:

Hernández, who is still only 36, played 13 seasons for the Mariners from 2005-19, participated in six All-Star games and won the 2010 AL Cy Young Award. He is the franchise leader in all major pitching stats including wins, ERA, innings, strikeouts, WAR, etc. You name it, King Félix leads in it.

2. Kirby threw the game of his life

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Already in 2017 Alex Speier from the Boston globe did some research and found that nearly every team that came back from a 2-0 deficit in a best-of-five series did so thanks to a dominant pitching performance in Game 3. Rookie righty George Kirby gave the Mariners that dominant pitching performance on Saturday. although the offense failed to pick him up.

Kirby shut out the Astros for seven innings, including a show of confidence from skipper Scott Servais when he went on with two ons, two outs with Kirby against Jose Altuve in the seventh inning of a scoreless game with two ons, two outs, leaving his youngster behind to to face one of the two best hitters in baseball for the fourth time in the game, with his team’s season at stake. Kirby fanned Altuve high and out of the zone with a fastball.

Kirby, the 2019 draft pick, had a 3.02 ERA in 13 starts after being recalled from Triple-A in June, and he also ended Seattle’s Game 2 win in the Wild Card Series. The young man started the season in Double-A. Saturday wasn’t just Seattle’s biggest game of 2022. It was their biggest game since 2001, and Kirby delivered.

Unfortunately for Kirby and the Mariners, Lance McCullers Jr. was just as good, hitting seven out of six shutout innings. He only allowed two hits. The game remained scoreless through the 18th inning when…

3. Peña has the big hit

Rookie shortstop Jeremy Peña, who hit 12 home runs in 163 career games at the University of Rhode Island and was set to replace Carlos Correa this season, finally broke through and hit the series-winning home run against rookie righty Penn Murfee. Murfee’s slider immediately slid across the record again:

To this point, the two teams were combined 16 for 115 (.139) with 41 strikeouts at the plate. Including a 0-on-8 for Jose Altuve, a 0-on-7 for Jordan Alvarez and a 0-on-7 for Cal Raleigh. Altuve had never gone worse than 0-6 in a game in his career, regular season, or postseason. Kirby and McCullers were excellent. So were the bullpens:

Astro’s bullpen

12

5

0

0

1

fifteen

0

7

Sailors’ bullpen

11

5

1

1

1

fifteen

1

9

The two teams went a combined 0 for 19 with runners in goal position (0 for 11 for Astros and 0 for 8 for Mariners) because the bullpens were so evil. Nineteen runner-position plate appearances in an 18-inning game tells you everything you need to know. Goal chances remained rare. It would take a homer to win Game 3.

4. Rodríguez briefly saved Seattle’s season

Salute to Julio Rodríguez. The Mariners prodigy temporarily saved his team’s season with a massive two-on, one-out jump catch in the 16th inning when Yuli Gurriel threw a ball into the right midfield gap and Rodríguez knocked it down. Listen:

According to Statcast, given the exit velocity and trajectory, this game had a 10 percent chance of catching. Rodríguez was knocked out of the game and Seattle’s season, but I’m not sure what else he could have done for his team this season. He was incredible on both sides of the ball. The Mariners have a real superstar to build around.

5. It was the longest game in history

As previously mentioned, this was the longest postseason game in baseball history. It was also the first postseason game to go scoreless for at least 15 innings. Here are the longest postseason games of all time:

  1. 2022 ALDS, Game 3: Astros 1, Mariners in 18 innings
  2. World Series 2018 Game 3: Dodgers 3, Red Sox 2 in 18 innings
  3. 2014 NLDS, Game 2: Giants 2, Nationals 1 in 18 innings
  4. 2005 NLDS, Game 4: Astros 7, Braves 6 in 18 innings
  5. 1986 NLCS, Game 6: Mets 7, Astros 6 in 16 innings

Eight days ago, the Guardians and Rays were scoreless in 14 innings, and at the time it was the longest scoreless game in postseason history. So in MLB’s first 121 season, never before had two teams failed to score in 14 innings in a postseason game. Now it has happened twice this month. Imagine that.

Next

The Mariners go home and the Astros go back to the ALCS. It is their sixth consecutive appearance in the Championship Series, the second longest such streak in baseball history behind the Braves from 1991 to 1988 (eight years, excluding the 1994 strike season). Houston meets the winner of the Guardians vs. Yankees ALDS. This series ends on Saturday at the earliest.

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