New York City, New York– The New York Yankees wanted Houston, and they got Houston. The Houston Astros won their fourth American League Championship Sunday night, sweeping the Yankees to advance to the World Series for a second straight second year. The Astros will face off against the Philadelphia Phillies in the 118th World Series starting this Friday.
The Astros have been a juggernaut this postseason, as they still have yet to lose a game as they swept both the Seattle Mariners and the New York Yankees to advance to a perfect 7-0 record so far. The pitching has been dominant, and the offense has been a force to be reckoned with.
Game One: HOU wins 4-2
Justin Verlander bounced back in a big way from his horrific start in the ALDS with 11 strikeouts in six innings for Houston to kick off the ALCS. Adding to his already fantastic postseason resume, Verlander’s final line was six innings pitched, three hits, one walk, one earned run, and 11 strikeouts.
The offense came alive to give Verlander the win, thanks to a solo home run by Yuli Gurriel in the bottom of the sixth inning. That wouldn’t be the last homer of the night for the Astros either, as both Chas McCormick and rookie sensation Jeremy Peña went yard to give the Astros a 4-1 lead until Yankees first baseman Anthony Rizzo cut the lead in half with a longball of his own.
The Astros bullpen continued their ALDS dominance by throwing a combined three innings of one run and six strikeouts baseball to give the Astros a 1-0 series lead.
Game Two: HOU wins 3-2
Much like Verlander’s performance in Game one, Astros left-handed ace Framber Valdez shined in his second start of the postseason. Valdez pitched seven innings, giving up four hits, no earned runs (Yankees two runs came on fielding errors by Valdez), no walks, and an impressive nine strikeouts.
The bullpen once again shoved as they combined for two innings of two walks and four strikeouts to give the Astros a 2-0 series lead heading into the Bronx.
Game Three: HOU wins 5-0
Playing at Yankee Stadium isn’t always easy for opposing teams, especially during the postseason. However, the Astros were able to drown out the bleacher creatures of New York by shutting out the Yankees 5-0 and taking a commanding 3-0 series lead in the Bronx.
Pitching in his first game in Yankee stadium since throwing a combined no-hitter against the Yankees earlier this season, Cristian Javier once again carved up the Yankees as he only gave up one hit and struck out five batters in his five-and-one-third innings pitched. Javier once again proved why he’s worthy of a spot in the starting rotation for years to come.
The Yankees turned to their ace, Gerrit Cole, for game three, but the Astros were able to get to him early in the game thanks to a two-run homerun by Chas McCormick. The Astros would continue to pour it on later in the game with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly by Trey Mancini, followed by a huge two-run single from Christian Vazquez to grow the lead to 5-0.
Death, taxes, and the Astros bullpen shutting down their opponents. The bullpen made it impossible for the Yankees to build momentum late in the game. The Astros bullpen sent five pitchers to the mound over the course of the final four and two-thirds innings, and they took it from there and closed the door on any attempts to score by the Yankees.
Game Four: HOU wins 6-5
The Yankees entered game four with one goal: don’t get swept. The Yankees put up much more of a fight in game four, jumping out to an early 3-0 lead, but it didn’t last long as the Astros closed the book on the Yankees season.
Lance McCullers Jr.ran into some trouble early as the Yankees jumped out to a 3-0 lead, but three runs were all New York would get off of McCullers as he’d go on to pitch five innings and punchout six batters.
A 3-0 deficit was nothing to Astros rookie star Jeremy Peña, who launched a game-tying three-run homer to get the Astros right back into the game and quiet the crowd. Houston would tack on three more runs before the night was done, thanks to clutch hits from Yuli Gurriel, Alex Bregman, and Yordan Alvarez.
The bullpen only gave up one run in the effort, a massive solo homerun from red-hot Harrison Bader. Closer Ryan Pressly shut the door on the Yankees season as he earned the save to punch the Astros ticket to their second World Series appearance in a row and fourth in the past six seasons.
The Astros have been dominant all postseason, but can they continue the success against the Phillies and win their second championship? Game One begins Friday, October 28, at 8 pm Eastern.
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