Jose Altuve and the Astros had a cold-blooded response to Aaron Judge and the Yankees on Sunday.
Altuve tattooed a walk-off three-run home run to cap a six-run rally in the bottom of the ninth inning, giving Houston an 8-7 win at Minute Maid Park. And while the comeback was tremendous from a Houston point of view, the celebration was even better.
That’s because Altuve finally showed, without hesitation, the ink on his collarbone that was supposedly so bad two years ago that it needed to be kept hidden. He didn’t seem to mind at all as his teammates clawed his jersey off him.
One day earlier, Judge seemed to be mocking Altuve for not wanting to be stripped after winning the 2019 ALCS with a walk-off homer against Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman. After homering off Zack Greinke, Judge pulled his jersey toward his chest as he reached third base.
Judge said the air conditioning in Houston’s retractable-roof stadium was the reason.
“They keep the roof closed here, it’s pretty chilly, so I just let my team know to button up a little bit,” Judge deadpanned postgame Saturday. “Everyone’s welcome to their own opinion.”
Two years ago, Altuve and his allies searched for an explanation as to why he didn’t want his jersey taken off after the ALCS-winning homer. A bad tat was one of them. Another was his wife objecting to Altuve’s shirt being taken off at other times. A third was straight-up modesty.
They all sounded ridiculous to a lot of people, and they helped to fuel the conspiracy theory that Altuve wanted to hide a buzzer that was attached to his chest and alerted him to what pitch was coming.
The Astros’ TV crew was ready with its own jab after Altuve walked the Yankees off again.
“I don’t know, but that one kind of gave me a buzz, TK,” analyst Geoff Blum said to play-by-play announcer Todd Kalas.
This was the last Astros-Yankees game of the regular season. A playoff series between them would have everyone running hot.