• Brian L. Barefield

Astros Yordan Alvarez Throws A Welcome Back Party In Home Opener

All it took was a good night’s rest in their beds for the Houston Astros to get back on track. After a brutal nine-game road trip to begin the 2022 season, the Astros finally played in front of their home crowd at Minute Maid Park, and the energy from the sell-out crowd of 42,646 fans in attendance was just what they needed.

Houston (6-4) defeated the Los Angeles Angels (6-5) by a score of 8-3 to regain the lead in the A.L. West. After scoring 11 combined runs in their last five games, the Astros nearly reached that feat in one game as they scored the most runs in a game since they defeated the Angels 13-6 in the second game of the season.

The Astros have now won 10 consecutive home openers dating back to the 2013 season.

Designated hitter Yordan Alvarez made his presence felt after missing five games due to being placed in MLB COVID-19 health and safety protocols. He returned with two monstrous home runs and went 3-for-5 at the plate to lead the nine-hit attack by the Astros.

It was Alverez’s ninth career multi-homer game of his career, and he tied outfielder Kyle Tucker as the only other Astros player to hit multiple home runs this season, with Tucker also doing it against the Angels on April 8.

“He really makes a difference,” said Astros manager Dusty Baker about Alvarez. “He’s right in the middle. He usually has somebody on base and when he hits them (home runs), usually there’s a no-doubter. We didn’t know if he got the second one or not because he hit that ball a little bit behind him, versus out in front. It just shows you how strong he is.”

Baker almost sat Alvarez in the home opener to give him time to recover fully, but the 24-year-old was ready to go and let the Astros trainers and coaching staff know he was not missing the home opener.

“They spoke with me, and I told them how I was feeling, and I told them I was ready,” said Alvarez after the game via a translator. “They made the decision to let me play and here we are. Ultimately, I am the player. I am the one that’s playing, and I was being honest with them (about his health).”

Not only were Astros fans happy to have Alvarez back in the lineup, but they were also elated that his three-hits might jump-start his offense in the future. He went hitless in his last eight plate appearances in the opening series against the Angels. Nevertheless, those same fans gave Alvarez a loud ovation as he rounded the bases after both home runs.

“It felt great,” Alvarez said about his home runs. “When I hit the ball, the stadium got super loud, got excited. And yeah, great welcome back.”

Houston will take on the Angels in the second game of the three-game series at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday.

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