Astros advance to World Series by winning four games in Houston
By Manny Randhawa
When George Springer caught the final out of the 2017 American League Championship Series presented by Camping World to send the Astros to their second World Series in franchise history, it also marked the end of a series that saw the home team win every game. Houston took Games 1 and 2 at Minute Maid Park, the Yankees won Games 3-5 in the Bronx and the Astros returned home to capture Games 6 and 7.
In MLB history, there have been 172 seven-game series. Of those 172, there have now been just five in which the home team won each game, which represents just 2.9 percent. There have also been four five-game series where the home team won every game.
"We couldn't have asked for a better crowd the last two nights to step up and provide some energy on a team that thrives on energy," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "They were loud from pitch one. This city and this fanbase fell in love with this team a while ago. … We're going to need them in Game 3, 4 and 5 against [the Dodgers]."
Here's a look at the other four seven-game series in postseason history in which the home team won every game, as well as a nod to the aforementioned five-game series below:
2004 National League Championship Series: Cardinals over Astros Albert Pujols went 5-for-7 with two homers to lead the Cardinals to victories in Games 1 and 2 at Busch Stadium. But as part of Carlos Beltran's huge postseason that saw him hit .435 with eight home runs, he went 5-for-10 with a double and two homers to lift Houston to victories in Games 3-5.
Back in St. Louis for Game 6, Jim Edmonds hit a two-run walk-off homer in the 12th inning to tie the series at 3-3. Trailing, 2-1, in the sixth inning of Game 7, Pujols hit an RBI double off Astros starter Roger Clemens and Scott Rolen followed with a two-run homer off the seven-time Cy Young Award winner to break the tie in the Cards' eventual 5-2 victory.
2001 World Series: D-backs over Yankees
With the Yankees looking to win a fourth consecutive World Series title, the D-backs took Games 1 and 2 at home behind outstanding starting pitching. World Series co-Most Valuable Players Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson combined to give up only one run over 16 innings (0.56 ERA), with 19 strikeouts and two walks.
But once the scene shifted to the Bronx, the Yankees got late-inning heroics to win three straight one-run games and take a 3-2 series lead. In Game 4, New York was down to its final out, trailing 2-0, in the ninth inning. Tino Martinez hit a two-run homer off Arizona closer Byung-Hyun Kim to tie the game, and the Yanks would win it on a Derek Jeter homer off Kim in the 10th.
The next night in Game 5, the Yankees found themselves in the same situation, down 2-0 in the ninth with two outs against Kim. This time, Scott Brosius hit a two-run homer to tie it, and Alfonso Soriano hit a walk-off single in the 12th.
Despite the setback in New York, the D-backs came back to win Game 6 in a 15-2 rout at home. That set up an epic Game 7 moment in the ninth inning between Yanks closer Mariano Rivera and D-backs All-Star Luis Gonzalez. With the game tied at 2 and the bases loaded with one out, Gonzalez hit a single into shallow center field to win the World Series for Arizona.
1991 World Series: Twins over Braves
The Twins jumped out to a 2-0 series lead by taking Games 1 and 2 at the Metrodome, but the Braves won consecutive one-run games in the next two contests at Atlanta, including a 5-4 victory in 12 innings in Game 3. David Justice homered and had five RBIs for Atlanta in a 14-5 victory in Game 5 to take a 3-2 series lead back to Minnesota.
Game 6 was a thriller, with the Twins prevailing, 4-3, on a walk-off home run by Kirby Puckett in the 11th inning. Game 7 was a pitchers' duel between right-handers Jack Morris and John Smoltz, with the two combining for 17 1/3 scoreless frames, 10 of which came from World Series MVP Morris. Gene Larkin hit a walk-off single in the 10th inning to lift Minnesota to its second World Series championship in four years.
1987 World Series: Twins over Cardinals
Minnesota dominated the first two games at the Metrodome, outscoring St. Louis 18-5. But the Cardinals were undeterred and got great pitching in Games 3-5 to capture a 3-2 series lead. St. Louis pitchers posted a 1.67 ERA (five earned runs in 27 innings) over those three home games.
With the scene shifting back to Minnesota, Kent Hrbek hit a grand slam and Don Baylor added a two-run homer as the Twins evened the series with an 11-5 victory in Game 6. Then in Game 7, World Series MVP Frank Viola tossed eight strong innings in a 4-2 victory to clinch the franchise's first World Series title since moving to Minnesota in 1961.
In addition to the four seven-game series in which the home team won each game, here are the four five-game series in which that happened:
2011 NL Division Series: Brewers over D-backs
Prince Fielder homered in Game 1 and Ryan Braun in Game 2, both Milwaukee victories. But the D-backs scored 18 runs over two games in Arizona to even the series. Back at Miller Park for a decisive Game 5, the Brewers got a walk-off single from Nyjer Morgan that scored Carlos Gomez in a 3-2, 10-inning win.
1995 ALDS: Mariners over Yankees
The Mariners overcame the Yankees in five, famously advancing to the ALCS on Edgar Martinez's Game 5 walk-off double that scored Joey Cora and Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr.
1984 NLCS: Padres over Cubs
Despite the Cubs taking a 2-0 series lead in what was then a best-of-five NLCS, the Padres reeled off three straight victories in San Diego to advance to the World Series.
1982 ALCS: Brewers over Angels
Fred Lynn hit .611 with two doubles and a homer to win ALCS Most Valuable Player Award honors despite the Angels losing to the Brewers in five.
Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.