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MLB

Jeremy Peña walks it off against Toronto

A ten-inning slug-fest in Minute Maid Park is brought to a close by a booming two-run shot to center field by Astros rookie shortstop Jeremy Peña.

Jeffrey May
Update:
A ten-inning slug-fest in Minute Maid Park is brought to a close by a booming two-run shot to center field by Astros rookie shortstop Jeremy Peña
Tim WarnerAFP

The Houston Astros are looking every bit as hot as they seemed coming into the season. This writer picked the Astros as the eventual World Series champs, and so far, nothing they have done has swayed that opinion.

Coming so close in the Fall Classic just five months ago, many wrote them off after losing their star short stop Carlos Correa to the Twins in free agency. With the dazzling lineups in Los Angeles and New York, it is understandable that the Astros can be lost in the media scramble for big stories. But they have fielded substantially the same team as 2021 and it looks like they are picking up where they left off.

The hole in their lineup left by Correa has been filled by rookie Jeremy Peña and the questions around his quality look to be answered emphatically. His fielding has been outstanding and he has shown that big-league pitching scares him not a jot.

In Sunday’s game three of their series against the Blue Jays, the Astros took the lead and kept it until the seventh, when Toronto went one up on a Santiago Espinal double which scored Raimel Tapia from first. The Astros levelled it up in the bottom with an Aledmys Diaz blooper to left which scored Yuli Gurriel from third.

After blowing a golden chance in the eighth when Michael Brantley tried to stretch a double and was gunned down at third by a perfect throw from Lourdes Gurriel Jr., the game went into extra innings. Toronto took the lead in the top of the tenth with Gurriel proving that his bat is as good as his arm, roping one into the left field corner to score Bo Bichette from second.

Then in the bottom of the tenth, in a do-or-die situation, the bottom of the Astros order came to bat. Kyle Tucker gets on and Diaz goes down swinging to bring up the rookie. Aledmys saw nothing but sliders from Romano and questions over whether or not Peña could handle big-time sliders in the Majors were answered emphatically with a rocket over straightaway center. The two-run homer saw the young Dominican make solid his place on this World Series contender’s roster.

The Dodgers are still the hottest team in baseball, but the Astros have weapons that they can rely on. Jeremy Peña is definitely one of them.

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