HOUSTON (SportsRadio 610)- Normally when a ball is launched 397 feet at 106.4 MPH with a 27-degree launch angle it leaves the yard with room to spare, but that didn’t happen on the ball Yordan Alvarez hit to left-center field to start the bottom of the ninth inning Thursday night at Minute Maid Park.
“We all thought it was gone,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “But the ball’s not gone until it disappears over the fence.”
Instead of disappearing over the fence, Alvarez’s ball hit off it, and because he watched it fly, the Astros slugger, who represented the game's winning run, wasn’t able to advance past first base.
"I think I froze a little bit after I hit the ball,” Alvarez said through an interpreter. “I thought the ball was gone. Obviously, that doesn't justify me not running."
Alvarez was lifted for pinch runner Chas McCormick, who would come around to score the game’s winning run two batters later, so his mistake didn’t end up costing the Astros, but 45 minutes after his teammates celebrated a walk-off win, Alvarez remained disappointed in himself even after apologizing to Baker and his teammates.
"I’m still a little bit upset I disrespected my teammates and the game a little bit there, but obviously we won, so I’m super happy about that.”
Baker says he believes Alvarez learned a valuable lesson on Thursday and is confident he won’t make the same mistake twice.
“He came to me immediately and said he messed up and I just said ‘Yeah, I know’. Baseball’s a game, like life, it teaches you lessons sometimes, so that probably won’t happen again and I’m glad that we won the game.”
The Astros beat the Detroit Tigers 3-2 on Thursday night for their fourth straight win. Alvarez finished with two hits.