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Did we think it was gone? The fans behind home plate were mostly relaxed.


There were a few scared faces, and one young man looks as if a wasp is in his tent, but nobody starts packing up to go home. The batter runs out of the box quickly. The announcer is skeptical. Justin Verlander, the pitcher, is the most worried: He levitates for a moment and then does a sort of sashay and closes his eyes at the two-second mark.

I think it’s hard to imagine a city having the sports day Houston had Sunday (and into this morning). From the opening kickoff of Seattle 41, Houston 38 in Seattle Sunday afternoon to Alex Bregman singling home the winning run in Astros 13, Dodgers 12, 9 hours and 34 minutes elapsed … with only 58 minutes between games. That means greater Houston was pulsating with two of the most scintillating sports events in the history of the city. Amazing.

“Every play is like the last play of the Super Bowl to him,” Altenberg says. According to him, UCLA, USC and Texas A&M all came in hard late to try and pry Tate away from Arizona, but Rodriguez’s offense appeared to be the perfect fit.

“I learned I wasn’t very sharp,” he said after Game 6. “I knew that early, though. So I knew it was going to be a grind for me pretty much the whole outing, which it was. This is a very good hitting team. They’re patient, but they’ll make you pay for mistakes. So I have to go out there and just execute my game plan. And I need to execute a little better in certain spots.”

Perhaps no one’s talking about them yet because they haven’t actualized as a solid contender, thanks to that horrible power play, some middling starts for key players and the Lightning sucking all the air out of the Eastern Conference. But they’re banking points now and will only get better, despite their coach. Oh no, the pills are wearing off!
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