KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Colby Rasmus was once again a prime supplier of the Houston Astros’ playoff offense.
Rasmus hit his third home run in three postseason games and also drove in a run with a double in the first inning in the Astros’ 5-4 loss to the Kansas City Royals in Game 2 of the American League Division Series.
The double, which drove in George Springer to give the Astros a 1-0 lead, meant Rasmus became the first player in MLB history to have extra-base hits in each of his first six postseason games. Rasmus played in three games with the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2009 National League Division Series. He doubled in each of those games.
“I feel pretty good at the plate,” Rasmus, still the leader in the postseason party hero running, said. “What I’ve got going is working right now and I’m making adjustments to the pitches I’m throwing and it’s going in my favor.”
The home run, a solo shot in the third inning, gave the Astros a 4-1 lead. Rasmus is now just the second Astros player — along with Carlos Beltran, who hit home runs in five straight in 2004 — to hit home runs in three-straight playoff games after hitting one against the New York Yankees in the wild-card game on Tuesday and in Game 1 Thursday night.
Rasmus hit a career-high 25 home runs in 2015, and credits his postseason power surge to his Little League days. No, really.
“I think my youth may have something to help with that,” Rasmus said. “I played in front of 40,000 when I was 12 years old, Little League World Series, and that was what it was all about. Being ready for the big moment and just getting out there and getting after it. Not being scared to make a mistake. And I think that’s helped me. My dad, growing up, working with us and putting us in those situations, in stressful situations. I think I somewhat feed off of that.”
Rasmus, a native of Phoenix City, Ala., starred in the 1999 Little League World Series. His Phoenix City team made it all the way to the finals. Rasmus, who pitched and played the outfield, was 5-for-10 in Williamsport and yes, one of those hits was a home run.
His efforts ultimately came up short Friday. After walking in his third plate appearance, Rasmus made his final one in the seventh inning. The game was tied 4-4 and Rasmus, who hit his home run in Game 1 and his double in the first inning on the first pitch, got a first pitch fastball over the plate from Kelvin Herrera. He missed this time and fouled the pitch back.
Five pitches later, he popped out to Eric Hosmer to end the seventh. The Royals took the lead in the bottom of the inning and evened the series.
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But the Astros clubhouse was not a morose sight after Game 2. Many players espoused the virtues of getting a split in Kansas City and heading back to Houston for Sunday’s Game 3, started by pitcher Dallas Keuchel, who is 15-0 at Minute Maid Park with a 1.46 ERA.
It will be the first home game for the Astros since playing the Texas Rangers on Sept. 27 and with two straight wins, the Astros can clinch a berth in the American League Championship Series at home.
“It’s going to feel great going back home, being able to feel good at home and enjoy that crowd that’s going to be there for us,” Game 2 starter Scott Kazmir said. “And we have Keuchel on the mound so we’re feeling very confident.”
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