MLB.com Columnist

Alyson Footer

Astros fans revel in ALDS win at Fenway

Houston well-represented as ALCS berth clinched in Boston

Astros fans revel in ALDS win at Fenway

BOSTON -- The Astros' team colors are bright orange and blue, so it's not hard to pick fans out when they're in enemy territory, as they were Monday at Fenway Park.

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But when the Astros recorded the final out of Game 4 of the America League Division Series presented by Doosan, a 5-4 victory over the Red Sox, Houston fans weren't just seen, but they were also heard -- loudly and clearly, standing out among a sea of rain-soaked, disappointed Boston fans who watched as the Astros celebrated their first trip to a League Championship Series since 2005, when they were in the National League.

"Praying and hoping and wishing," Corpus Christi, Texas, native Christy Lockard said of waiting for that final out. "We are so excited."

It was mostly quiet during the final moments toward the end of Monday's game, as is the case when the visiting team ends up as the victor. This time, it was easy to spot the small population of brightly dressed fans that traveled to watch the clincher.

Houston, in typical fashion, was well-represented.

In addition to the usual orange T-shirts and bright Astros caps, also spotted in the stands were signs containing the now-familiar phrase "Houston Strong" -- a poignant reminder that Hurricane Harvey, and the aftereffects of the storm, are never far from the thoughts of Houston natives.

For Astros fans at Fenway, the city's ongoing challenges amid the Harvey recovery process made this win that much more joyful.

"With Harvey just being in Houston, we're just so happy that Houston has something to cheer," said longtime season-ticket holder Jan Wheeler. "We want to take it all the way past ... the Yankees and move on to the pennant."

There was a lot happening during Game 4 on Monday, given the Astros were attempting to clinch amid dreary forecast conditions that made it uncertain the game was even going to be played.

The rain held off long enough for all nine innings to be completed. That left Astros fans with nothing to stress out about -- except the game, which was plenty angst-ridden.

"I almost threw up for 3 1/2 hours," Houston native Sarah Welbes said. "It was incredibly stressful. There was no relaxation whatsoever."

When it was over, there was finally time to breathe.

"We were with them when they were a 100-loss team year after year," Houstonian Barbara Moon said. "This is just a special year. We're just so happy."

Moon and her husband, Jimmy, often travel to where the Astros are playing. They were in Boston for the final regular-season series between the Astros and Red Sox, and they were thrilled to make a return visit for the ALDS.

"We couldn't wait to get here," Jimmy Moon said. "We were here last weekend as a test run, and we knew we had to get back up here."

Where the Astros go for the ALCS is still to be determined: That series will begin on Friday, and the Astros will host Game 1 against the Yankees in the ALCS. There is one guarantee -- wherever they play, there will be a loyal group of orange-and-blue-clad fans supporting them.

"This is incredible," said season-ticket holder Shelley Fuller. "And we're bringing it home for Houston."

Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.