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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Texans fall to Browns. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images.

The Houston Texans kept it closer than the experts thought they would, but couldn't pull out a victory. Here are 11 observations from the loss in Cleveland to the Browns.

1. The game looks totally different if Texans quarterback Tyrod Taylor finishes the game. Taylor left at halftime with a hamstring injury. He was playing exceptionally well against his former team. Taylor is not expected to play Thursday according to NFL Network.

2. Davis Mills had a rocky NFL debut which was to be expected. Mills looked to have the wrong elements of a few plays. He also couldn't hit backup wideout Andre Roberts over the middle and threw an interception. It was a fine performance considering what Mills showed he could do in the preseason.

3. Mills didn't work with a full load of offensive weapons in the second half. Rookie wideout Nico Collins didn't return to the game after his lone catch and big run early in the game. Veteran slot receiver Danny Amendola left the game with an injury. Tight end Anthony Auclair left with an eye injury. The Texans entered the game without wide receiver Anthony Miller who was inactive.

4. Brandin Cooks is a monster through two games. He is the most dangerous skill position player on the team, and defenses still have trouble covering him and staying with him. Cooks turned in yet another impressive day for this team and hauled in a Davis Mills touchdown pass.

5. The Browns did a solid job against the ground game of the Texans. Mark Ingram averaged under three yards per carry and Tyrod Taylor was the only rusher to have a big play on the ground. This led to a fair number of third-and-long situations which the Texans usually had trouble converting.

6. Justin Reid was set to increase his payday on his next contract with his early play. Reid forced a fumble and had an interception in the first half. Unfortunately, Reid would leave the game multiple times with injuries. The knock on Reid has always been his health.

7. The Texans were worn down by the Browns rushing attack all day. Once Cleveland committed to the run they saw the success of their work culminating in a 26-yard scamper by Nick Chubb for a touchdown. The Browns didn't run as much as I excepted them to run early.

8. Tim Kelly had another nice day calling plays. Kelly remains creative in finding ways to get the ball out of Taylor's hands quickly as well as manufacturing matchups where the Texans can win and pick up yards. He even got creative to get Davis Mills a passing touchdown late in the game. Kelly has been very impressive through two games.

9. Andre Roberts was inexcusably bad today. The Texans defense held on the opening drive and his muffed punt eliminated the momentum from the defensive stand. He also had poor returns on kickoffs. His lone job is to be a solid returner, and he failed at that on Sunday.

10. David Culley had a head-scratching decision foregoing an offsides call on a third down. The head coach opted for the result of the third down, and a punt on fourth down, instead of another third down. He did not explain himself well postgame on the decision either.

11. The Texans hung tough and should feel solid about where they could have been without the injury to their quarterback. With no Taylor in the short week, it will not be easy to beat the Panthers who upset the Saints on Sunday.

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