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On Baseball: Astros and Yankees Take Some Shaky Memories Into Game 7

In Game 5, at the Astrodome, the Astros led by three runs in the eighth inning with Nolan Ryan on the mound. Yet the Phillies came back and went on to win the World Series.

In 1986, also at the Astrodome, the Astros held another three-run lead, this time over the Mets in the ninth inning. A victory would have set up Game 7 and shifted the edge to the Astros, who could use their ace, Mike Scott, whose suspiciously moving splitters had burrowed into the Mets’ psyche.

Yet the Mets, like the Phillies before them, stormed back to win the game and, eventually, the World Series.

Fast forward past a few swift exits in the division series, a seven-game loss to St. Louis in the 2004 N.L.C.S. and a sweep by the Chicago White Sox in the 2005 World Series. After beating the Yankees in the 2015 A.L. wild-card game, the Astros took a 6-2 lead into the eighth inning of Game 4 of their division series with the Kansas City Royals.

By now, you know the pattern. The Royals, who were facing elimination, came back to win the game. They, too, were soon World Series champions.

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Johnny Damon, playing for the Red Sox, circled the bases in front of Alex Rodriguez,…

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