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Old 10-05-2015, 02:27 AM   #1
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Astros are playoff bound

The culmination of the Houston Astros 162-game season came with a loss they had seen far too often over the final month and and change.

A game that swung in the favor of the opponent on an ill-fated pitch from one of their bullpen mainstays.

Arizona's Paul Goldschmidt took a Chad Qualls offering in the 7th inning and deposited it over the left field fence for the deciding two-run homer that sent the Astros to a 5-3 loss in their regular season finale.

Yet, minutes later the wildest celebration that most in the Astros clubhouse had ever been a part was underway.

With the Texas Rangers closing out the afternoon game with a win over the Los Angeles Angels just moments after the Qualls home run ball was thrown, the Astros became the other wild card team.

The Angels loss ensured the Astros would not be caught and would be playing playoff baseball for the first time since 2005.

"It feels great, total circle in my career," Qualls said during the celebration. 

"To be here in (20)04 and (20)05 as a young guy and kind of bring this organization back to the playoffs from where they were a couple years ago is a testament to our farm system. Correa, McCullers, all those guys are just absolutely ridiculous. Springer did a great job since last year, it's just fun watching them play."

"It's just good to be throwing champagne again." Qualls added.

For a team that spent the majority of the season in first place, this celebration was a long time coming.

"Since I got called up and we were in first place, and we were hoping would could clinch a playoff spot at the end of the season and we did," rookie shortstop Carlos Correa said 

"We came through and we're now in the playoffs."

For an organization that not only had been out of the playoffs for a decade, but had posted well over 400 losses over the past four seasons, this was truly time to let loose and celebrate.

"It's unbelievable, being around in 1986, and getting to see my dad (Nolan Ryan) experience this and now being a part of the Astros and seeing how hard these guys worked, it's just unbelievable," Astros president Reid Ryan said. 

"I hope this is just the start and not the finish," Ryan added. "I'd love to do this three or four more times this year."

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