Oct 16, 2022, 3:00:35 AMyebscore

Jeremy Pena's HR lifts Astros to 18-inning win, sweep of Mariners

Jeremy Pena, hitless in his first seven at-bats, homered leading off the 18th inning as the Houston Astros eliminated the host Seattle Mariners in the American League Division Series with a 1-0 victory Saturday. The Astros swept the best-of-five series 3-0, advancing to the ALCS for the sixth straight year and spoiling Seattle's first postseason appearance since 2001. Houston will face either the New York Yankees or the Cleveland Guardians for a berth in the World Series. Pena's homer, which just cleared the wall in left-center field on a 3-2 pitch from Mariners right-hander Penn Murfee, decided the longest scoreless game in postseason history. It surpassed the 14 innings Cleveland and Tampa Bay played without a run earlier this month in the AL wild-card round. Astros right-hander Luis Garcia pitched five innings of two-hit ball for the victory. He didn't walk a batter and struck out six. The teams combined to strike out 42 times, strand 24 runners on base and went 0 for 19 with runners in scoring position. The game lasted 6 hours and 22 minutes. The Astros didn't have a hit in extra innings until Alex Bregman's one-out single in the 16th off Matthew Boyd. Kyle Tucker walked, sending Bregman to second, and the Mariners brought in Murfee. Yuli Gurriel hit a liner into the gap, but center fielder Julio Rodriguez made a diving catch to prevent the run from scoring. Murfee then got Aledmys Diaz to foul out to end the threat. Seattle got a one-out single from Carlos Santana in the 12th, but he was erased on a double play. Rodriguez walked with two outs in the 13th and stole second before Ty France grounded out to third to end the inning. Mitch Haniger singled with two outs in the 14th, but Santana was caught looking at a third strike to end that inning. Seattle's only other baserunner in extras came on Santana's two-out single in the 17th. He advanced on a wild pitch, but Adam Frazier popped out. The game featured sterling efforts from starting pitchers Lance McCullers Jr. of Houston and Seattle rookie George Kirby. McCullers allowed two hits through six innings with two walks and seven strikeouts. Kirby, making his first postseason start, went seven innings and gave up six hits, didn't walk a batter and struck out five. --Field Level Media