Houston Astros Rays Minute Maid Gattis Homer

Game 79 // Ninth Inning, Houston // The Back to Backers

BOTTOM OF THE NINTH: ASTROS 5 (3) – 4 RAYS

 

The quickest of the big innings, by far, this season.

Carlos Correa, with the first pitch of the Houston ninth, no outs.

An opposite field home run to left, surprising even himself, as if the swing were accidental, expected foul, then watching it watching it carry carry carry on and over the wall just fair enough and just far enough for a score. No build-up or rally, even within the at-bat itself, but for a quick defensive swing and its short low arc beyond the field of play.

Tie game, 4-4 . Fireworks above centerfield.

And Evan Gattis to follow. Resident lumberjack for the Houston Astros. Wielding the bat like it’s a toothpick, ready to snap at the handle.

He whiffs and the count goes to 1-2. On the mound, for the Rays, Alex Colome tilts his hat sideways in homage to the bygone Fernando Rodney. Takes a big breath, makes a shuffle-step wobble into his windup, and delivers home with the roar of an echoing crowd around him—“Let’s go, As-tros!!”

Gattis fouls the next two off, bouncing hard along the dirt down the line. The count still 1-2. He stares out at the mound, as if it’s a great redwood about to be felled, shouting timber! and sharpening his ax, a big blue ox snorting at his side.

The fans, half-filling the Minute Maid Park seats, all rise. Cheering. Whooping. Clapping.

And Gattis, on the next pitch, de-stroys the ball, a high fastball sent into the heavens, past the range of the camera crew, a NASAesque rocket soaring way high, way deep onto the left-field train tracks. He pimps it on a long slow walk to first, does a quick golf clap as he trots on to second. The train conductor high above the field, above even the highest upper decks, throws his arms up in glee, his blue overalls almost torn from the sudden leap.

It’s back to back home runs for the Astros, with no outs, a deficit turned into an instant win. Fireworks bombing around the outfield sky. Gattis mobbed at home. His shirt unbuttoned and chest puffed out for a flex.

“He swings the ax,” says one of the TV guys, “…and Paul Bunyan wins this one.”

Damn. He stole my line…

 

Previously: 

Inning 60: The Thin Yellow Line

Inning 50: Lift-Off, Astros

Inning 17: Colby Rasmus to the Rescue

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