Sports

Astros Stay Alive and Win Game Five: Four Unexpected Heroes

Martin Maldonado is normally known for his defense, but his bat showed up in game tive.
Martin Maldonado is normally known for his defense, but his bat showed up in game tive. Photo by Eric Sauseda
The Astros kept their hopes alive beating the Braves 9-5 in game five of the World Series on Sunday night. The Braves now lead the series 3-2 as it shifts back to Houston for Game 6 on Tuesday.

The bats came alive for the first time since Game 2 and despite giving up a grand slam in the first inning, Astros pitching shut down the Braves beyond that to help them get their first win in Atlanta. There are always players who step up in elimination games, but for the Astros, a few of them were rather unexpected.

Zack Grenike, professional hitter.

Greinke was unavailable to pitch on Sunday, but that didn't mean he wasn't able to make an impact. The pitcher, who is actually pretty good with a bat, got in the game as a pinch hitter for reliever Yimi Garcia in the fourth inning and promptly smacked a line drive base hit into right field. Greinke is now 2-3 in the World Series.

Martin Maldonado at the plate.

The defensive-minded catcher's struggles hitting have been well documented this postseason. But on Sunday night, he was the old Maldonado going 1-3 but knocking in three RBIs including a bases-loaded walk that tied the game at five. Maldy's resurgence came at a critical time when the Astros needed it most.

Phil Maton

The relief pitcher the Astros traded for at the deadline —  a guy with the face of a kid with the stare of a serial killer — was spectacular going two scoreless innings with no hits allowed and three strikeouts. A somewhat under-the-radar addition, Maton has given up just one run in 10 appearances this postseason, throwing 11 innings and striking out 13.

Alex Bregman, he lives.

The talented third baseman was practically missing in action for much of the postseason, but particularly in the World Series where he was just 1-14 coming into game five. After that first inning grand slam, Bregman helped the Astros to respond with an RBI double and a run scored. It was his only hit of the night, but it was huge for the team and for Bregman's confidence going forward.
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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke