The Game 3 loss to the White Sox put the Astros in an 0-3 hole in the best-of-seven World Series. One more defeat and the Astros' dream season is over.
The concept was not lost on the Astros following the five-hour, 41-minute marathon. Clearly, they will have to hope for a miracle in the form of four straight wins. They said the right things after this loss, but most were keenly aware that the odds are not in their favor.
In Major League history, 21 teams have jumped to a 3-0 lead in the World Series. Not one has lost the title.
"It certainly is emotionally a little draining, and to come out on the losing end drains you even more," Brad Ausmus said. "You've got to put it behind you. There's nothing we can do about it. We lost, we're down 3-0, and the only thing we can focus on is Game 4."
Which would be better than looking back on Game 3, one they should probably just try to forget.
Blum, who was traded from the Astros to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2003 for Brandon Backe, did not play in Game 3 until the 13th inning, when he entered as a defensive substitute. The White Sox lineup isn't exactly considered murderer's row, but among the hitters in their lineup, Blum was probably one of the least likely to be the hero.
The Astros were using their seventh pitcher, Astacio, who threw one inning all month until this game.
Blum had exactly one postseason at-bat prior to Tuesday.
"It's the stuff dreams are made of," Blum said. "I've had about 100 of these at-bats in my backyard with my younger brother. But to do it on this stage, and in this situation, makes this year incredibly worthwhile."
The blame for this loss should not fall only on Astacio, who also issued a bases-loaded walk that brought in the White Sox seventh run. The Astros overcame a one-run deficit in the eighth when Jason Lane doubled home Morgan Ensberg to tie the game at 5, but they couldn't log a hit over the next six frames. Incredibly, the Astros drew seven walks after Lane's hit, but not even Chicago's wildness could help this offensive display.
Clearly, manager Phil Garner wasn't thinking about Blum's homer as much as he was his own team's lack of offensive punch following this game.
"That's some pretty poor hitting -- absolutely rotten hitting," Garner said. "We had our chances. It's amazing. I don't know how you win a ballgame when you can't hit the ball. We didn't even hit the ball good, except for Jason."
"This is kind of what our offense has been all year," Ausmus said. "We don't drive in a bunch of runs. We don't have a lot of home run hitters. We rely on singles with men in scoring postion. Tonight, we got some runs early. But really, other than a few walks after the fourth or fifth inning, we didn't do anything offensively."
The Astros' bullpen caused the same fits in the White Sox dugout. Both teams stranded 15 baserunners.
"We managed to stay in the ballgame, but we might have played 40 innings and it didn't look like we were going to get a runner across the bag," Garner said. "Very frustrating."
The players, and Garner, echoed the same sentiment after this loss. They have to "find a way" to win Game 4. So far, nothing has worked.
"We had our opportunities, we just didn't get the big hit," Jeff Bagwell said. "We couldn't find one. They couldn't find one either, until the 14th. Our bullpen did a tremendous job holding them scoreless for a long time.
"It's the way it is. You can't look ahead, just look to tomorrow. Everybody's got to be focused on just tomorrow and finding a way to win tomorrow's game."
"There's a reason it's a best of seven," Ausmus said. "In order to win a best-of-seven series, you need to win four games. To my knowledge, no one's done that yet."
The White Sox will be ready to change that on Wednesday.