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Astros-Reds: The Magic Number Goes Down to One

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It doesn’t matter what the Houston Astros do if the teams in front of them win. And as the Astros were jumping off to a 6-1 lead in the seventh inning over the Cincinnati Reds, the drama was unfolding elsewhere.

The Pittsburgh Pirates and Milwaukee Brewers were tied 1-1 in the ninth inning in Milwaukee, and the Chicago Cubs and New York Mets were tied 6-6 in the bottom of the ninth inning in New York. And while the Brewers were struggling to get the Pirates to three outs so that the Brewers could try for the win, the Mets were in the midst of finishing a comeback from 6-3. A comeback which gave them the 7-6 victory when Carlos Beltran singled to right field with two outs to score Jose Reyes from second base.

And to keep up with the dramatic walk-off wins, Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun blasted a two out, tenth inning grand slam to deep left field to the give the Brewers the 5-1 win over the Pirates. The win kept the Brewers tied with the Mets for the wild card lead.

The Astros meanwhile, did everything that they could to stay in the mix, an 8-1 lead into the ninth inning. And just like the games in New York and Milwaukee, the Astros felt like they had to make the game close and dramatic. Especially after Jerry Hairston, Jr.’s three-run homer for the Reds with one out made the score 8-6 Houston. Jose Valverde came in and quickly got the second out of the inning, but gave up a hit to put everyone back on edge before getting a strikeout to end the game.

Though it appears that none of you Astros fans actually cared, as the stadium was half-empty last night. This was a stark contrast to the packed Shea Stadium crowd who remained for the entire game despite a constant downpour, cold temperatures, and brisk winds. Miller Park in Milwaukee was also packed. But the Astros fans, those fans so pissed off about the Astros having to play Chicago in Milwaukee, apparently felt they didn’t have to actually show up and watch the Astros play.

The last weekend of the regular season is now upon us. And the magic number is one. That means that a win by the Mets or Brewers tonight, and the Astros are sent packing. A loss by the Astros tonight and the season is over. A win by the Mets or Brewers at any point this weekend, and the season is over. A loss by the Astros at any point this weekend, and the thing season is over.

For those interested, the Mets will be hosting the Florida Marlins this weekend, while the Brewers will be hosting the Chicago Cubs. The Astros meanwhile will play host to the Atlanta Braves. If the Mets or Brewers win one of their games, or the Astros lose one of the games, then the season is over. If the Mets or Brewers are swept while the Astros in turn sweep the Braves, then the Astros will play the Cubs in Houston on Monday. And from there, it’s just too complicated to get into. – John Royal

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