Perfect storm of Astros luck involving Bregman, Hader, Loperfido leads to wild win

Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good.
Houston Astros catcher Victor Caratini
Houston Astros catcher Victor Caratini / Logan Riely/GettyImages

The Houston Astros have seen the very worst this season, but after Tuesday's win over the best team in the American League, perhaps things are starting to take a turn for the better in H-Town.

The Astros, trailing the Cleveland Guardians 9-8 with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning, got a walk-off home run off the bat of backup catcher Victor Caratini to take their third straight victory of the season.

But Caratini's blast, while exciting, was not what defined Houston's win. The Astros exorcised a number of demons on Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park, and manager Joe Espada has to hope that his team is about to go on a run and get back into the chase for the AL West Division crown.

Astros 3B Alex Bregman finally got his first HR of the season

It was almost a month before Astros' third baseman Alex Bregman recorded his first home run of the year. The 2024 season couldn't have started much worse for the free agent to-be. With so much conversation surrounding Bregman's contract status, Astros fans were beginning to wonder if it was affecting his performance.

On Tuesday, Bregman silenced all the doubters, and sent a no-doubter over the wall in left field for his first round-tripper of the season. Bregman's three-run bomb knotted the score at three runs apiece. Astros fans are hoping that it doesn't Bregman another 99 at-bats in order to log his second home run of 2024.

Joey Loperfido was clutch in his MLB debut for the Astros

The two biggest stories coming into Tuesday's game were Joey Loperfido's big league debut and Houston's decision to option Jose Abreu. Loperfido, however, was not in Abreu's spot at first base, but rather occupying left field in place of Chas McCormick.

Loperfido was aggressive in his first at-bat and sent a line drive into center field. Unfortunately, it found the mitt of Tyler Freeman. But Loperfido would not be denied in the bottom of the fourth inning. With the bases juiced, Loperfido's first hit was a two-RBI knock that put the Astros up 5-3. Loperfido went 1-for-5 with two strikeouts on the night.

Astros closer Josh Hader wanted the ball (again)

The constant knock on Josh Hader has been that he only throws one inning, and only does so when his team has the lead. Well, Hader showed why the Astros signed him to that mega-deal during the offseason with a two-inning performance on Tuesday night that helped keep the game within reach.

Hader was lights out in the ninth. After walking Steven Kwan, Hader disposed of the next three batters in a row, including strikeouts of both Jose Ramirez and Josh Naylor. Hader then went back out for the 10th inning, and after back-to-back Ks, it looked as if Hader was going to lock down the Guardians' bats once again.

Unfortunately, a two-out RBI double from Cleveland's pinch-hitter David Fry gave the Guardians a one-run advantage. But Hader was able to get the next batter out and kept his team within striking distance. Thankfully, Caratini answered the bell.

Astros finally won a one-run game in extra innings

Heading into Tuesday's game against the Guardians, the Astros were 0-7 in one-run games this season and had yet to win an extra-innings affair in three previous tries. Thanks to Caratini's walk-off winner, that's no longer hanging over Espada's head.

This isn't necessarily new territory for the Astros. Houston was below .500 (20-21) in one-run games last season and had just one victory in nine extra-inning games during the 2023 season. Hopefully things are beginning to swing the Astros way with that monkey off their back.

The Astros did everything in their power to lose Tuesday's affair, including another poor first-inning performance from the pitching staff. But Houston hung around and eventually took home the W. The Astros fanbase is hopeful that there are more wins to come during the 'Stros current homestand.

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