October 23, 2010
But he'd only driven in one run, while leaving 18 runners on base — including a sky-high eight in Game 2 — which did nothing for his reputation as a poor performer in the playoffs.
With the Texas Rangers on the verge of making it to the World Series for the first time in franchise history, the team needed help from their clean-up hitter.
So Guerrero brought in help from a familiar source: His mother.
Or to be more specific, as reported by TBS' Craig Sager, his mother's home cooking.
And wouldn't you know it? It worked.
Altagracia Alvino has been visiting her son to cook for him at home since Guerrero became a full-time major leaguer in 1997. Guerrero hasn't kept the food to himself, either. Teammates and Latino major leaguers on visiting teams have been enjoying Alvino's home cooking at the ballpark for years.
Fueled by Mom's habichuelas (beans) and albondigas (meatballs), Guerrero finally came through for the Rangers with runners in scoring position in the Rangers' 6-1 victory that sent them to the Fall Classic for the first time in franchise history.
In the fifth, after the Yankees had tied the game at 1-1 on a wild pitch (that should've been a hit batsman), Phil Hughes(notes) and Joe Girardi decided to intentionally walk Josh Hamilton(notes) and face Guerrero with two outs.
They must not have known about his pregame meal because Hughes hung a curveball out over the plate for Guerrero to drive deep into the centerfield gap, driving in Mitch Moreland(notes) and Hamilton for a 3-1 Texas lead they would never look back from. That ended Hughes' night for the Yankees, and pretty much turned the ignition on the Rangers' World Series bus. (Nelson Cruz(notes) backed the bus out of the garage, following up with a dagger of a two-run homer.)
As mentioned before, Alvino cooks enough food for visiting Latino players to eat, as well. One of the beneficiaries of those meals over the years has been Yankees' second baseman Robinson Cano(notes) and he likely ate well again as Sager reported that some Yankee players were eating from Alvino's pregame spread.
"The best there is," said New York Yankees' second baseman Robinson Cano, who also is of Dominican descent. Cano gets a portion of Alvino's food every time the Yankees visit, with his name inscribed on the enclosed plate.
"Since I signed in 2005 I've been getting her meals. Delicioso," he said.
If Guerrero was powered by his mother's home cooking, perhaps all those habichuelas and albondigas put Robinson Cano in a food coma. After hitting .421 in the first five games of the ALCS, including four home runs, Cano went 0-for-4 in Game 6.
Maybe those habichuelas -- if there were any leftovers -- served as a post-game consolation for Cano.
But late-night seconds from Mom's home cooking must have tasted even better for Guerrero and his teammates after the Rangers' historic win.