Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch's favourite moment from his team's incredible game-five win over the Los Angeles Dodgers came after the victory.
The Astros, who trailed on three separate occasions, won 13-12 on a game five walk-off single from Alex Bregman in the bottom of the 10th inning, scoring Derek Fisher in front of their raucous home crowd. Houston's vaunted lineup, which led MLB in runs scored during the regular season, bounced Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw early while hitting five more home runs.
For Hinch, his favourite moment from Sunday was not even a play during the game. It came afterward in the postgame celebration.
"Obviously the play that ends the game is always my favourite one when it's in our favour," Hinch told reporters on Monday.
"But when you watch your team celebrate on the field and the crowd is going crazy, it's at your home stadium. When I first got to Bregman, the bear hug that a player gives you after coming up so big on the biggest stage is pretty special. And Alex Bregman and I are close, and he continues to exceed expectations and be a big-game, big-time player. That's a special moment for a manager when you see the maturity start for one of your own.
"As far as Fisher goes, you know, when you walk around the outfield before the series and you start to tell people 'you're on the roster', 'you're not on the roster', I told Derek Fisher he's on the roster for a reason. I told him I didn't know if it would be his bat or defense or speed, but he was going to find a way to contribute. I didn't know it was going to be a game-winning run in one of the most epic World Series games in history. But he was just fast enough and exactly what we needed to make that moment possible."
There have been 101 home runs hit in the 2017 MLB postseason and 22 home runs hit in the World Series.
Both are MLB records, but Hinch is not too surprised to see the ball flying out of the park of late.
"I think for both teams, I think we realise on the pitching side, both teams are at the very end of their rope when it comes to the season, when it comes to high-leverage situations, the intensity of their innings, and their mistakes are getting hit," he said. "But the volume is certainly record-setting and certainly the intensity of the moments that are ending in home runs is hard to fathom."
Hinch hopes game six starter Justin Verlander is not at the end of his rope as the Astros look to capture their World Series title on Tuesday in Los Angeles.
"We'll try to build off the momentum that Justin Verlander is going to create for us in game six, and then we going to try to get to 27 outs with the lead," Hinch said.
"Who that is or how we get there, it's going to be played out tomorrow night in LA. But we have confidence that we have enough left in the tank to finish this."
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