Good morning to everyone but especially to...
There are moments every postseason that are remembered for a very, very long time. If the Houston Astros end up winning the World Series, they'll look back at the very first game of their postseason run fondly.
Yordan Alvarez launched a walk-off, three-run home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning to cap a stirring 8-7 comeback win over the Mariners in Game 1. The home run had plenty of historic significance:
- First ever postseason walk-off home run when trailing by multiple runs
- Second ever postseason walk-off home run by a team down to its final out, joining Kirk Gibson's iconic 1988 World Series blast
- Fourth ever postseason walk-off home run when trailing and first since Joe Carter's 1993 World Series winner
- First time in Astros postseason history they've won after trailing by multiple runs through eight innings (had been 0-48)
The fact that Alvarez even had a chance to walk it off speaks volumes to the Astros' depth.
AL Cy Young lock Justin Verlander gave up six runs in just four innings, but four relievers combined to allow just one run over five innings. Jose Altuve went 0 for 4 in the leadoff spot, but Yuli Gurriel had three hits, including a home run, and Alex Bregman's eighth-inning homer halved the deficit from 7-3 to 7-5. Jeremy Pena's clutch ninth-inning single kept the rally alive and, crucially, chased closer Paul Sewald from the game (more on that in a bit).
This was a massive win for the Astros. Instead of needing to beat Luis Castillo tomorrow to avoid an 0-2 deficit, they're in the driver's seat thanks to a comeback for the ages.
- The Warriors fined Draymond Green for punching Jordan Poole
- The Dodgers jumped out to a quick 5-0 win and then held on for a 5-3 Game 1 win over the Padres.
- Gerrit Cole pitched 6 1/3 strong innings and Anthony Rizzo and Harrison Bader homered in the Yankees' 4-1 Game 1 win over the Guardians.
- Nick Castellanos had three hits, three RBI and a crucial sliding catch in the ninth inning as the Phillies held on for a 7-6 win over the Braves in Game 1.
And not such a good morning for...
SCOTT SERVAIS, ROBBIE RAY AND THE SEATTLE MARINERS
The Mariners truly could not have asked for much more: an early lead, a hot top of the lineup, the opposing starter -- the likely Cy Young winner, no less -- chased early and your own starter pitching well against a loaded lineup. They still lost, and there are two major questions to answer. How and why?
- How could Andrés Muñoz -- who hadn't given up a home run since June 10 -- give one up in a key juncture in the eighth inning?
- How could Paul Sewald hit rarely used rookie pinch-hitter David Hensley with a pitch in a two-strike count?
- Why did Scott Servais pull Sewald in favor of Robbie Ray, who gave up the walk-off to Alvarez on just his second pitch?
On that final bullet point, Servais said pitching Ray (normally a starter) in that situation was "the plan." But as our MLB expert Matt Snyder writes,, including...
- Snyder: "He gives up lots of home runs. Ray finished second in the AL in home runs allowed this season with 32. Even last year, when he won the Cy Young, he was fourth with 33 allowed. Alvarez is one of the best power hitters in baseball and exactly one play beats you: A home run."
Seattle was meant to win this game, until it wasn't. Even for a bunch as resilient as these Mariners, the "how" and "why" will gnaw at them on their off day today.
Not so honorable mentions
- The man shoved by Davante Adams is .
- LaMelo Ball , and NBA writer Brad Botkin wonders if it might be time to tank in Charlotte.
- Marvin Bagley III .
- Reigning men's basketball National Player of the Year Oscar Tshiebwe .
NFL Power Rankings: Giants, Jets among biggest risers 🏈
The expectations for the Big Apple's NFL teams this season were not especially high. The Giants and new head coach Brian Daboll appeared to be much closer to rebuilder than contender, while the Jets' were set back with Zach Wilson injured in the preseason.
For now, our expectations were way off. The Giants (4-1) and Jets (3-2) are both above .500 through five weeks for the first time since 2015, and they're among the biggest climbers in.
- Prisco: "8. Giants (prev. 16) -- They face the Ravens this week in what should be a real challenge for their defense and coordinator Wink Martindale, who was with the Ravens before going to the Giants. ... 14. Jets (prev. 26) -- Rookie Breece Hall showed in beating the Dolphins that he might be ready to take off and roll up some big numbers. He was that impressive. They are a real shock to be this high."
Meanwhile, another team that was expected to be rebuilding and then surprised us has fallen back to Earth. The Jaguars were this week's biggest fallers, going from 14th to 26th. So, be warned, Giants and Jets fans: things can (and often do) turn quickly.
At the top of the rankings, things looked pretty similar to last week.
Champions League recap: Manchester City held scoreless, Chelsea get big win ⚽
Matchday 4 of UEFA Champions League group play kicked off with eight matches Tuesday. Here are all of the results:
- Maccabi Haifa 2, Juventus 0
- FC Copenhagen 0, Manchester City 0
- Paris Saint-Germain 1, Benfica 1
- Dinamo Zagreb 1, Red Bull Salzburg 1
- Borussia Dortmund 1, Sevilla 1
- AC Milan 0, Chelsea 2
- Shakhtar Donetsk 1, Real Madrid 1
- Celtic 0, RB Leipzig 2
There were more than a few outcomes that should catch your eye, with that first one arguably being the most surprising. Juventus' 2-0 loss to Maccabi Haifa will cause even more concern for the Italian giants, and club president Andrea Agnelli didn't hold back criticism of the players.
- Chelsea cruised past AC Milan, but it wasn't without controversy.
- Manchester City beat FC Copenhagen 5-0 last week. This week?
- Antonio Rudiger rescued a draw for Real Madrid but .
- PSG and Benfica both stayed undefeated but... well, more on that in a second.
Kylian Mbappe wants to leave PSG. Where could he land? 😳
I promised you more on PSG, and here it is: Superstar Kylian Mbappe-- the second time he's made this declaration in the last six months.
- PSG believes Mbappe will not leave in the January transfer window as the team chases its Champions League dreams.
- Mbappe reportedly feels "betrayed" that PSG has not kept promises made when he .
- A potential issue has been .
As a result, Mbappe, soccer reporter Jonathan Johnson writes.
- Johnson: "What will linger for some time, though, is the feeling that Mbappe is evolving into a potentially unmanageable character after this latest episode. His undoubted brilliance does make him indispensable for PSG, but his persona makes him very hard to relate to -- for supporters and teammates alike. Mbappe may well end up succeeding in his battle to occupy the same position that he plays with France, but the question is what the actual cost will be on this Parisien side."
Our soccer guru Chuck Booth has .
What we're watching Wednesday 📺
⚽ UEFA Champions League, 12:45 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Paramount+
⚾ Phillies at Braves, 4:35 p.m. on FOX
🏒 Bruins at Capitals, 7 p.m. on TNT
🏈 Louisiana at Marshall, 7:30 p.m. on ESPN2
⚾ Padres at Dodgers, 8:37 p.m. on FS1
🏒 Blackhawks at Avalanche, 9:30 p.m. on TNT