Morton gets win in seventh game

Joel Barlow High graduate Charlie Morton pitched five scoreless innings for the Houston Astros in a 4-0 victory over the New York Yankees in the seventh game of the American League Championship Series on Saturday, Oct. 21. — Houston Astros photo

In what was the biggest game of his Major League Baseball career to date, Charlie Morton did not disappoint.

The 2002 graduate of Joel Barlow High answered the call for the Houston Astros on Saturday, Oct. 21. Throwing five scoreless innings, the 33-year-old right-hander got the win as Houston defeated the New York Yankees 4-0 in the seventh game of the American League Championship Series.

The win earned Houston its second pennant in franchise history and first since joining the American League in 2013.

“Everything’s on the line, and you can either ease your way into it, try to feel out the situation, or you can just go after guys.” said Morton in an interview with Major League Baseball. “And I felt like my four-seam (fastball) was working tonight and my curve was working tonight. “Usually I’m a sinker guy, but tonight, my four-seam, I let a couple rip, and everything worked out.”

Morton was chosen by the Atlanta Braves in the 2002 MLB draft and spent several seasons in their farm system before being called up in 2008. He was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates the following year and played one injury-shortened season with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2016 before signing with the Astros in November of that year.

“I’ve played for a while and I’ve been part of some pretty special groups but to do this with this group of guys, no one can take this away from us,” said Morton. “We’re going to the world series.”

During the 2017 regular season, Morton compiled a 14-7 record, appearing in 25 games with a 3.62 earned run average.

Morton, who started in Houston’s 8-1 loss to the Yankees in the third game of the series on Oct. 16, allowed only two hits and struck out five in game seven. His only trouble came in the fifth inning.

With the Astros clinging to a 1-0 lead, New York’s Greg Bird started the inning with a double to right. Morton issued a one-out walk to Aaron Hicks that included a wild pitch, allowing Bird to advance to third. Morton got Todd Frazier to hit a chopper to third baseman Alex Bregman, who threw to catcher Brian McCann in time to nail Bird at home.

Following three runs by the Astros in the bottom of the frame to make it 4-0, Lance McCullers Jr. relieved Morton in the sixth, allowing one hit over four scoreless innings for the save as the Astros punched their ticket to the World Series.

“I’m just happy for the guys, happy for the city,” said Morton. “It’s surreal.”

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