Late night ends just how young fan knew it would
At the bottom of the ninth inning, 9-year-old Max Fitzpatrick confidently predicted the game would end at 11:47 pm. He's usually right on the nose with his predictions, so he was surprised when the Astros blew right past the deadline.
But as the game entered the bottom of the 11th inning, shortly after 11:50 pm, he had a revised prophecy.
"It'll be over by 12:07," he said.
Who would win?
And who would hit that winning run in?
Max turned around to show off the stitching on the top of his jersey back: Correa.
He has a Bregman jersey at home, the fourth graders from Friendswood noted. But he put on the Correa shirt today because he felt like the player was due to hit big, and he wanted to rep his number when he did.
Prediction revised, Max turned back to the game, chewing his way through a green box of Skittles. Correa was up. And then, suddenly, the ball pitched to him was flying out of the park. His friend three seats over, 10-year-old Aiden Burkett leapt into his dad's arms. And Max began jumping on his chair, waving his orange giveaway rally flag over his head and screaming.
The Astros won. Thanks to a hit by Correa.
"Maybe I'm just lucky," Max said after he'd gotten a chance to calm down.11:07 p.m. Update:
As Springer struck out at the bottom of the ninth, ending the standard nine-inning game, a groan erupted from audience. And then the upstream Exodus of fans, trudging up stairs from their seats, as they decided to call it a night.
"We've got work tomorrow," one woman shrugged as she grabbed her purse and headed for the exit.
But some fans are thrilled with the chance to stay up late. Ten-year-old Aiden Burkett is usually in bed by 8:30 p.m., but as the 10th inning started, he happily predicted the game would run until midnight. And that would be fine with him, thanks to his candy- and ice-cream infused dinner.
"I don't have school tomorrow," said Burkett, of Friendswood, who will be celebrating Columbus Day on Monday.
And staying up late will be worth it for one simple reason, he predicted: "The Astros will win."10:35 p.m. Update
"C'mon, swing the bat!" An usher yelled as Alvarez stood at home plate in the bottom of the eighth, stoic.
As the game pushed into the final innings, fans grew restless with the lack of offense from the Astros. Alvarez too expressed his frustration, slamming his bat into the ground when he struck out a moment later. The bat broke in two.
And just in front of the usher, Craig Aldridge, of Midland, sat rubbing his face. Eyebrows. Cheeks. Chin. He used his thumbs as though he was an expert masseuse. Like maybe they could ease the tension.
Asked "How are you feeling?" he responded with a sarcastic "Great," and hightailed it to the bar to buy a Michelob Ultra.
"It's a hard fought game," he said a couple minutes later when he returned for the ninth inning.
"Lots of good pitching," he said. "But we need a little more offense."10:25 p.m. Update
Kimberly Cataldo-Gutierrez hadn't booed once all season, while sitting in her permanent seat in section 215. Not until she joined a stadium-sized boo when Aaron Judge was walked after four balls that many Stros fans contend were strikes.
"That was absolutely horrific," she said of the call. "Worst I've seen tonight."
Pitcher Will Harris was replaced with Roberto Osuna just a moment later.9:40 p.m. Update
For a moment it looked like the Yankees would add to the scoreboard at the top of the sixth, after a ball wizzed by the Astros defense, sending a pall through the crowd. But a quick play enabled the Stros to tag a runner out just before he slid into home, closing out the top of the sixth.
"That was awesome," said Irene Weingarten, who sat in Section 116 with her son Adam, who is 32. It's the duo's first time attending a postseason game together, and they reveled in the experience.
"We got nervous, but we kept our composure," Adam Weingarten said of the play. "It's a good reminder: Don't give up when you fail."
As for the team as a whole, the Weingartens agreed that a 2-2 score at the bottom of the sixth is far from a failure.
"We're in control," Adam Weingarten said. "They're not coming here and getting two."9:06 Update
While Justin Verlander's No. 35 is the top jersey of the night, there's one other trend that's catching people's eye in game two of the ALCS: the Kate Upton sweater.
Long lines snaking through the team store feature scores of women snapping up their own cardigan. But some others are saying no thanks, due to the $200 price tag.
"It's so cute," said Ashley Tomczak of New Waverly as she fingered the racks at a fiest-floor team store in the bottom of the fifth inning. "Why does it have to be $200?"
She turns away to look at something more reasonably priced. And even if she's bummed that the hot sweater won't be going home with her tonight, she and her 9-year-old son Max are excited about the game unfolding this evening.
"I think Verlander is really on it tonight," she said.
Max added that he'd like to see something big from his current favorite, Alvarez. Asked what exactly that something big might be, he simply pointed to the sky.8:32 p.m. Update
The crowd quiets after Aaron Judge homers, putting the Yankees on the op 2-1 in the top of the fourth inning.
Fans take to their seats, watching, rather than cheering.
Until Justin Verlander earns his fifth strike out of the night, winning back his fickle fans who call his name throughout the stadium.
As Verlander sends the next batter to the dugout with his sixth strike out of the night, Houston resident David Brown shouts the pitcher's name through cupped hands.
"I thought he did well that inning," said Brown, who wore his Verlander jersey to the game.
"He gave up a home run, but it happens. Aaron Judge is an outstanding player," he said.
"But," he continued. "He got a lucky pitch. Don't forget, Verlander struck him out the first time, and made him look foolish."7:49 pm Update
Jaime Gonzalez still hasn't gotten his voice back since challenging himself to drain it during his manic cheers Thursday night in game 5 of the ALDS.
But when Alex Bregman propelled himself to home base for the first point of the game on Sunday, he squeaked out a belly-deep "Yeah!" anyway.
His son, James, who is 11, had bragged on Thursday that he wouldn't lose his voice, thanks to his relative youth. Still, the older Gonzalez fed him a steady stream of cough drops all weekend to make sure he was ready for the ALCS.
"This is going exactly how we wanted it to," Jaime Gonzalez said as the second inning closed out with the Astros up by one.7:13 p.m. Update
From the moment Trae That Truth made the official first call of the game, Astros fans turned up the decibel level at Minute Maid Park.
When Carlos Correa caught a fly ball for the first out of the night? Loud cheers.
When Yankee Aaron Judge stepped up to the plate as the nights second batter? Deep, low and loud boos.
And when he struck out? Rally flag waving, and pandemonium.
Justin Verlander's first inning on the mound ended without a single runner making it to first base.
"Normally I'm the only one yelling in this section," said Donald Wade, who was sitting in section 323 with his wife Sandy. They bought tickets to celebrate their third wedding anniversary.
"Now that everyone else is yelling with me, I feel like I'm not alone," he said.5:46 p.m. Update
As fans pour into Minute Maid Park tonight, ahead of the ALCS Game 2, there's one jersey in particular that people seemed to favor while choosing their game day outfits: Justin Verlander's No. 35.
"I have a Springer, an Altuve and. Verlander," said Lawanda Tope of Pearland. "But I figured tonight I'd wear Verlander because he's starting."
And she has the utmost faith in the pitcher, who was a core part of the team's 2016 first-ever World Series championship.
"I think he'll do great," she said. But, she'd like to see the offense come out stronger than they did last night, when the Yankees shut out the Astros to take a 1-0 lead in the series.
"You can pitch a no-hitter all day," she said. "But you need your guys to score some runs."
Jeffrey Baker, also wearing an orange No. 35 shirt, feels similarly.
"Verlander has the age and experience to come out here and do his best," said Baker, of Pearland. "But their backs are against the wall and they need to win tonight. Somebody's bats gotta come alive tonight or we're going to end the season earlier than I wanted."
Eric Valdez, who drove up from his home in Corpus Christi to rep his Verlander jersey in the stands tonight thinks it'll be well worth the drive, that will see him getting home somewhere around 3:30 a.m.
"I think Verlander will do really well today," he said. "This is his house."
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