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Houston’s deep lineup can create all sorts of problems for its opponents.
Like deciding whether to pitch to Jose Altuve or Carlos Correa.
Correa hit a game-ending RBI single in the 12th inning after Altuve was walked intentionally [url=http://www.officialbluejackets.com/authentic-adidas-sonny-milano-jersey]Sonny Milano Jersey[/url] , sending the Houston Astros to a 4-3 win over the Kansas City Royals on Saturday night.
”He’s been a very clutch hitter,” Houston manager A.J. Hinch said. ”I’ve seen that base hit to right-center a handful of times during his short career. It does not surprise me that he put a good swing on a fastball away.”
George Springer led off the 12th with a walk, and Alex Bregman followed with a bloop single into shallow right field that fell between three players. An error by Ryan Goins allowed Springer to advance to third.
”We had the shift on,” Royals first baseman Hunter Dozier said of the bloop single. ”Just perfect placement. We all tried, but we just couldn’t get there.”
After Altuve was awarded first, Correa singled into the gap in right-center against Justin Grimm (1-3).
”You get in that situation you have to intentionally walk one,” Grimm said. ”Bases loaded and no outs, just battling with that guy. He put a good swing on a fastball in the outfield. It happened how it happened.”
Correa said he was trying to drive the ball to get a sacrifice fly or something to the outfield. It was his sixth career game-ending hit and first since August 1, 2016, against Toronto.
”I don’t know how many career walk-offs I have,” Correa said. ”Every single time they walk Altuve. They walk him because the best hitter in the game is hitting in front of me, but at the same time, it’s not an easy task to walk him and get me out.”
Collin McHugh (3-0) pitched a perfect inning for the win. Houston’s bullpen combined for six shutout innings.
”Everybody up and down the staff, we know that our job is to get outs no matter what time of the game it is called upon us to do it,” McHugh said.
Kansas City carried a 3-2 lead into the ninth, but Houston rallied against Brandon Maurer. After Yuli Gurriel and Josh Reddick singled with one out, Evan Gattis hit a tying sacrifice fly to left. Marwin Gonzalez then walked [url=http://www.officialbluejackets.com/authentic-adidas-zach-werenski-jersey]Zach Werenski Jersey[/url] , but Brian McCann grounded out to end the inning.
The Royals wasted a solid start by Ian Kennedy in their 10th loss in 11 games. Kennedy allowed two runs and four hits in seven innings.
Kansas City jumped in front on Dozier’s three-run homer in the fourth, but Correa hit a sacrifice fly and Gurriel homered to trim the Royals’ lead to 3-2 in the bottom half of the inning.
”Hunter gave us a big lift with the three-run jack,” Kansas City manager Ned Yost said. ”We just couldn’t really muster anything outside of that. If we could just find a way to tack on a run here or there it would be beneficial for us.”
Houston right-hander Lance McCullers Jr. struck out nine in six innings. He permitted four hits and walked two.
ALTUVE MOVING UP THE CHARTS
Altuve tied Terry Puhl for seventh in Astros history with 1,357 hits with his double in the fourth. Altuve tied Bill Doran for ninth place in franchise history with 611 runs when he scored in the fourth.
HE SAID IT
”He’s going to do that 99 times out of 100. He did exactly what I thought he would.” – McHugh on Correa’s game-ending hit.
Royals: 1B Lucas Duda (right foot) was recalled from his rehab assignment with Triple-A Omaha and started at designated hitter. He went 1 for 4 with a ninth-inning single. OF Paulo Orlando was optioned to Omaha to make room on the roster for Duda.
Royals: RHP Jason Hammel (2-8) will make his 16th start of the season Sunday in the series finale. Hammel has a 2.85 ERA in nine appearances – eight starts – against the Astros.
Astros: RHP Gerrit Cole (8-1) will make his 16th start of the season looking for his seventh straight win. Cole walked a career-high five and allowed four runs for a second straight outing in earning a no-decision Monday against the Rays.
Seventy-two-year-old Susan Collesidis was never a football fan until she heard Carson Wentz talk about his faith.
Then she was hooked on the Philadelphia Eagles.
When Wentz found out his newest fan was fighting an advanced stage of cancer, he sent her an encouraging message with inspirational Bible verses.
”How much joy I get from watching him and his team play supernatural football every week,” she said after reading it.
Two weeks later, Collesidis lost her battle with cancer the night before Thanksgiving.
”The message meant so much to Susan because she admired Carson as a person and believer more than a football player,” son-in-law Doug Horton said. ”He’s the reason she started caring about sports and she couldn’t wait to watch the Eagles every week.”
Wentz isn’t playing in the Super Bowl against the New England Patriots because he tore his ACL in Week 14. But backup quarterback Nick Foles also is a ”brother in Christ” and one of the leaders in a locker room filled with guys who have formed a strong bond because of their faith.
”It truly is a brotherhood,” Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz said. ”Those guys are holding me accountable. Off the field, I’m holding them accountable. We truly care about each other, we truly care about the growth that each individual has in the word, as believers, as well as friends and family. There are a lot of guys who are truly trying to boost me up and keep me focused on the main thing, which is obviously the word. …”
Christian players openly expressing their faith is nothing new in the NFL: Reggie White, Kurt Warner, Tim Tebow, Ray Lewis and Russell Wilson among many others. But these Eagles are an unusually close-knit group.
”There is a stronger connection here [url=http://www.officialstarsproonline.com/authentic-adidas-alexander-radulov-jersey]Authentic Alexander Radulov Jersey[/url] ,” said defensive end Steven Means, who played for three other teams. ”It’s another level because we push each other in certain areas that we are flawed at and open ourselves up to each other. We text each other throughout the day making sure that everybody is on the right path and doing the right thing.”
Torrey Smith played with Lewis on the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens in 2012. They had a solid core of Christian players who used their faith for inspiration during their journey. Smith also spent two years in San Francisco before the wide receiver came to Philadelphia this season. He said it’s different here.
”I’ve been lucky to be part of three organizations that do have a very strong Christian presence,” Smith said. ”The difference here is a lot of younger guys lead.”
It starts with Wentz, the face of the franchise.
Wentz went on a mission trip to Haiti last May with former teammate Jordan Matthews and a group led by Kyle Horner, lead pastor of The Connect Church. He delivered a sermon a month later at a church back home in North Dakota and launched his Audience of One Foundation in July. Wentz and several teammates even created a devotional video series for the Bible app.
Four days before the season opener, Wentz and teammates Trey Burton and Stefen Wisniewski spoke at a faith event in front of a crowd of 2,000 people who sat in the rain for a couple hours to hear their favorite players share their testimony.
But before he had an MVP-caliber season and led the Eagles from worst to first, Wentz received plenty of criticism from some media and fans because he openly talked about his faith on social media .
He wasn’t deterred.
”Jesus was persecuted everywhere he went,” Wentz said. ”So if Jesus, who is our ultimate example, endured that, then I can endure a couple tweets. I can endure a little riff-raff here and there.”
A large group of players meet for Bible study on Thursdays and hold a study for couples on Mondays. They get together for prayer and devotionals the night before games. They’ve even gathered for baptisms in some unusual places.
In October 2016, Burton and pastor Ted Winsley baptized six players in a cold tub at the team’s practice facility.
”It was crazy,” said Winsley, the team’s longtime chaplain. ”The guys were just hungry, wanting their lives changed.”
Before a Thursday night game at Carolina last October, second-year pro Marcus Johnson was baptized in a hotel pool.
”Since I’ve come to Philly [url=http://www.authenticsnewyorkjets.com/cheap-trenton-cannon-jersey]Trenton Cannon Color Rush Jersey[/url] , I’ve grown in my faith so much,” Johnson said. ”As a rookie last year coming in, you always hear about the locker room and how dysfunctional it can be and people playing for money and this and that, but when I got here, everyone was so supportive and I knew it was something special.”
Having strong faith doesn’t make players immune to adversity, but it helps them deal with it. The Eagles (15-3) have overcome numerous injuries to important players on their way to winning the NFC championship.
Nine-time Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters, running back/return specialist Darren Sproles, special-teams captain Chris Maragos and kicker Caleb Sturgis suffered season-ending injuries along with Wentz and Jordan Hicks, the playmaking linebacker and quarterback on defense.
Instead of anger and resentment, they’ve leaned on their faith to maintain a positive attitude.
”Character is always revealed in times of testing,” said Horner, who pastors several players. ”For these men, Christ is not a crutch to lean upon, he is the foundation which their life is built upon. For them, faith is not an intellectual acknowledgement of truth, but a day-by-day expression of their love for God. This is where it all starts.”
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