The Houston Astros continue to assert themselves as the dominant team in the American League as they won their fourth pennant in the last six years with a 6-5 victory over the New York Yankees in Game 4 of the 2022 American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium.
Yordan Alvarez and Alex Bregman had the big hits in the top of the seventh as Houston took advantage of a Gleyber Torres error to turn a one-run deficit into a one-run lead.
Jeremy Pena hit a three-run home run off of New York starter Nestor Cortes to erase an early 3-0 deficit and was named ALCS MVP.
"It's surreal. You dream about this stuff when you're a kid", he said. "We're a step away from the ultimate goal."
With Philadelphia closing out the NLCS today, it marked the first time both pennants were decided on the same day since 1992.
Houston will attempt to win the second championship in franchise history and put to rest once and for all the narrative that their 2017 title was tainted by a cheating scandal.
"A lot has been said but there's not a lot to say anymore, man. We keep coming here. We keep facing the best of the best and we keep winning", said starter Lance McCullers Jr.
"When everything happened a few years ago, we knew the one thing that we could do is we could win and we could win and win a lot. I understand people are still not going to like us. They're going to boo us, but at some point you have to respect what we're doing."
New York remains without a World Series appearance since 2009 and were swept in a best-of-seven series for just the fourth time in franchise history.
"I could sit here and make excuses about if a ball falls this way, a ball drops that way or a pitch is made here or there. But what it comes down to is they just played better than us", said Aaron Judge.
"They beat us in every facet", added Gerrit Cole.
The Astros continued their mastery over the Yankees, going 9-2 against them this year and have eliminated them from postseason play in four of the last eight years.
"This is as bad as it gets", said New York manager Aaron Boone.
Astros put finishing touches on fourth AL pennant
Following an 84-minute delay due to the threat of rain, New York got off to a quick start. Giancarlo Stanton ripped an RBI single and Torres blooped a single into center. With two outs, Anthony Rizzo doubled to make it 3-0.
After Houston took a 4-3 lead, Rizzo tied it with an RBI single in the bottom of the fourth.
Harrison Bader had three hits and three runs scored and he broke a the tie with his fifth home run of the playoffs off of winning pitcher Hector Neris.
Trailing 5-4, Pena what looked to be an inning-ending double play ball to Torres, but his flip to shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa was errant to put two men on.
Alvarez tied the game with a single off of losing pitcher Jonathan Loaisiga and Bregman followed with the pennant-winning single against Clay Holmes.
Bryan Abreu, Rafael Montero and Ryan Pressly provided perfect relief work out of the Astros' bullpen. Pressly retired Judge on a comebacker for his third save of the series.
"These are the greatest guys i've ever been around!" exclaimed manager Dusty Baker. "They come to play every day, all day. It's a very exciting time for me and the organization. These guys have come to expect winning. Winning breeds winning."