It’s a smashing night for Yordan Alvarez …
The 25-year-old Cuban professional baseball designated hitter and left fielder hit three monster home runs to help the Houston Astros past the Oakland Athletics 5-0.
Alvarez homered in his first three at-bats, to help the Astros clinch a postseason berth on Friday night.
The Astros (95-50) won their sixth straight game to join the Los Angeles Dodgers as the first two teams to secure playoff spots, reaching their sixth straight postseason.
There was no big celebration for this team with much bigger goals, but the Astros did share a quiet toast in the clubhouse postgame.
“You’ve got to keep in perspective … how hard it is to get to the playoffs and to stay on top like this for a while,” Verlander said. “It’s not easy. So I’m glad we were able to take a moment.”
Alvarez, tied for second in the AL with a career-high 36 home runs, had solo shots off Adrian Martinez in the first, third and fifth innings. He capped his big night with a single in the seventh to tie his career high with four hits.
“Hitting one home run feels great, imagine hitting three,” Alvarez said in Spanish through an interpreter. “Just a very special night.”
It is his second three-homer game and first since August 10, 2019, a season when he won American League Rookie of the Year. There have been only 15 three-homer games in Houston history and Alvarez joined Glenn Davis and Jeff Bagwell as the only Astros to have more than one.
Alvarez’s homers totaled 1,329 feet — 434, 431 and 464. He joined Nelson Cruz on July 25, 2019, as the only players with three 400-plus foot homers in a game since Statcast started tracking in 2015.
“Yordan was unbelievable,” manager Dusty Baker said. “Those balls he hit, I don’t know what the combined feet were, but boy that’s a lot of mileage.”
There were two outs in the first when Alvarez connected on a shot to straightaway center field to make it 1-0.
Alvarez’s second homer came with two outs in the third to extend the lead to 2-0.
Jeremy Pena hit his 18th homer to left field with one out in the fifth. The Astros went back-to-back when Alvarez sent the next pitch from Martinez into center field to extend the lead to 4-0 and send Houston’s dugout and the crowd into a frenzy.
“You take Alvarez out of the lineup and the line’s a lot different,” Oakland manager Mark Kotsay said. “Yordan is a guy that I referred to before the season started as a possible MVP candidate. And he showed why tonight.”