HOUSTON — Note to future playoff pitchers: If it’s Oct. 5, don’t pitch to Alex Bregman. Especially if you’re an All-Star.
The Houston Astros‘ third baseman and MVP candidate hit a go-ahead home run against the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday night, marking the third consecutive Oct. 5 on which he has given the Astros the lead with a home run in a postseason game.
Bregman’s fourth-inning home run to left field off Rays starter Blake Snell staked the Astros a 1-0 lead in an American League Division Series they lead one game to none. The 25-year-old Bregman worked his way back from down two strikes to force a full count before depositing a Snell fastball in Minute Maid Park’s Crawford Boxes and sending the crowd of 43,378 into a tizzy.
It also continued another incredible streak: All seven of Bregman’s postseason home runs have come off former All-Stars. His first, on Oct. 5, 2017, broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the first in ALDS Game 1 against Boston’s Chris Sale. His next came off Sale four days later — it tied the game — and his third that postseason tied Game 1 of the World Series against Los Angeles’ Clayton Kershaw. Bregman also homered in Game 4 of the World Series against Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen.
Bregman emerged as a strong threat to MVP favorite Mike Trout following his season-ending injury in September. Bregman closed out the year with a flourish, batting .333/.486/.753 in September to cap a season in which he slashed .296/.423/.592 with 41 home runs, 112 RBIs, 122 runs and a league-leading 119 walks against only 83 strikeouts.