Gerrit Cole and Jose Altuve lifted Houston to big road win

Astros playoff report presented by APG&E: Astros take ALCS Game 3 for 2-1 series lead

Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

The Astros come out on top in ALCS Game 3 with a 4-1 win in New York against the Yankees. Houston received seven shutout innings from Gerrit Cole and a big offensive day from Jose Altuve, who was 2-for-5 with a solo home run. They now lead the series 2-1 and need two more wins to advance to the World Series.

After falling behind 0-1 in the ALCS, Houston worked a home split against New York with a walk-off win in ALCS Game 2. The series shifted to New York for the next three games, giving the Yankees a chance to benefit from playing in front of their home crowd. Here is a recap of Game 3 from Yankee Stadium:

Final Score: Astros 4, Yankees 1.

Series: Astros lead 2-1.

Winning Pitcher: Gerrit Cole.

Losing Pitcher: Luis Severino.

Altuve and Reddick give Astros an early lead

In the top of the first inning against Luis Severino, the Astros received a big hit to try and keep the crowd out of the game. It came off the bat of Jose Altuve, who launched a one-out solo home run to left-center field to give Houston the quick 1-0 lead. They would continue to pester Luis Severino in the first, loading the bases before all three runners would be stranded to end the half-inning.

In the top of the second, Josh Reddick doubled Houston's lead with a solo home run to right field to make it 2-0. While after the first inning, it looked as though the Astros would be able to push Severino to an early exit, New York's pitcher would settle in well and make it through four and one-third innings before the Yankees went to their bullpen.

Cole goes seven scoreless innings

Meanwhile, Gerrit Cole was not able to put together his typically dominant pitching against the powerful Yankees lineup. New York, like the Astros, would load the bases in the first inning, but Cole would end the threat to strand all three. That would be one of several frames that Cole would have to deal with traffic, as he would allow five walks and four hits over the first five innings.

He would follow those five stressful innings with two terrific ones, though, retiring the last seven batters he faced in order including 1-2-3 innings in the sixth and seventh. While he didn't reach double-digit strikeouts as he had over his last eleven starts, it was still as, if not more, impressive of a start when it hit the scoreboard: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 5 BB, 7 K, 0 HR.

Houston extends their lead and pulls out Game 3 win 

Houston was able to add on to their lead by playing "small ball" in the top of the seventh. George Springer started the inning with a leadoff walk, then moved to third on a well-executed hit and run with Jose Altuve. Michael Brantley would hit a groundball next to cause a force out of Springer at home, but not before Springer could stall long enough to let Altuve advance to third and Brantley to second. An intentional walk to Alex Bregman loaded the bases, then a wild pitch scored one run before a sacrifice fly by Yuli Gurriel scored another, doubling Houston's advantage to 4-0.

After Cole's seven innings, Joe Smith would be the first reliever on the mound for Houston at the bottom of the eighth. He would allow a one-out solo home run to Gleyber Torres, resulting in another call to the bullpen to bring in Will Harris, who would finish the inning. The Astros then turned to their closer, Roberto Osuna, to preserve the three-run lead and get a save. He would come through, getting a scoreless inning to finish off the win.

Up Next: Currently, ALCS Game 4 is slated for Wednesday at 7:08 PM Central. However, rain threatens that time with a possible postponement in the works to move the game to Thursday and move Game 5 to Friday. With the game day and time up in the air, so is the expected pitching matchup. Should the game be played tomorrow, both teams are expected to have a bullpen day, with the Astros looking to Jose Urquidy for at least part of that. If the MLB postpones the game until Thursday, that opens the opportunity for a rematch of Game 1 between Zack Greinke and Masahiro Tanaka, should the two managers go that route.

The Astros playoff report is presented by APG&E.

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Houston has lost back-to-back games

Astros drop series to Giants with finale loss

Houston's offense came up short again in San Francisco on Sunday. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

After splitting the first two games against the Giants, the Astros tried to grab the finale to win his high-difficulty series. They came up short, though, with San Francisco once again one-upping them on offense against Luis Garcia, giving Houston back-to-back losses.

Final Score: Giants 5, Astros 3

Astros' Record: 64-42, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Logan Webb (5-3)

Losing Pitcher: Luis Garcia (7-6)

Gurriel strikes first, but Giants get the better of Garcia

The Astros were able to grab an early lead against Logan Webb in the top of the first, getting a runner on base to set up Yuli Gurriel for a two-run homer to start the scoring. Luis Garcia, who erased a walk in the first and a double in the second to maintain the 2-0 advantage, ran into trouble in the third. After two quick outs, Kris Bryant, recently acquired by the Giants at the trade deadline, changed the momentum with a solo homer in the first game for his new team.

They scored two more runs during the two-out rally on three hits and a walk, grabbing a 3-2 lead before Garcia would get the final out. He managed a scoreless fourth, but San Francisco got to him again in the fifth, chasing him out of the game with a two-out, two-run homer to extend their lead to 5-2. His final line in the loss: 4.2 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 2 HR, 89 P.

Giants take series as Astros drop the finale

First out of Houston's bullpen was Rafael Montero, making his debut for his new team. He did well, getting the third out of the fifth then tossing a scoreless sixth. Phil Maton was next, coming in for the bottom of the seventh and erasing a single to keep it a three-run game. After wasting a chance with two runners on in the seventh, the Astros started a new rally in the top of the eighth, getting back-to-back hits to lead it off with runners on first and third with no outs.

They would get just one run from it, though, making it 5-3, which would go final after a scoreless bottom of the eighth by Ryne Stanek and a 1-2-3 inning at the plate by Houston in the top of the ninth. That gave the Giants the series and left the Astros reeling from back-to-back losses as they turn the page to another high-caliber opponent to finish this road trip.

Up Next: Houston will travel to the last leg of this road trip, Los Angeles, before a day off on Monday. Tuesday, they'll pick up a quick two-game series with the Dodgers, with Lance McCullers Jr. (8-2, 3.23 ERA) for the Astros going up against Walker Buehler (11-1, 2.19 ERA) for LA in the opener at 9:10 PM Central.

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