The walk-off home run Houston Astros slugger Yordan Alvarez hit to cap a wild come-from-behind victory in Game 1 of the American League Division Series on Tuesday called to mind great blasts of Octobers past. It was the first game-ending shot by a team that was trailing at the time since Joe Carter’s homer that won Toronto the 1993 World Series. And though it won’t register in the all-time annals because the Astros’ 8-7 victory over the Seattle Mariners arrived so early in the postseason, the 41,125 in attendance and those in both clubhouses elated on one side, stunned silent on the other hand couldn’t help but marvel at Álvarez’s feat.
The Mariners, in the postseason for the first time in two decades, blew a lead similar to the one they’d overcome in their wild card-clinching win Saturday against Toronto. The Astros showing up in October is nothing new. They’ve been to five consecutive AL Championship Series and this season won an AL-best 106 games, nearly matching their franchise record. With a loaded pitching staff, deep bullpen, strong lineup and excellent fielding, they’re the presumptive favorites to win the pennant.