The Astros are one win away from the AL pennant
Astros playoff report presented by APG&E: Houston takes commanding 3-1 ALCS lead with Game 4 win
The Astros are now one win away from advancing to the World Series. Houston took ALCS Game 4 against the Yankees in New York on Thursday, winning 8-3 with big home runs from George Springer and Carlos Correa. The win comes after taking the first of three games in the Bronx on Tuesday before inclement weather postponed Game 4 from Wednesday to Thursday. The victory is the third straight for the Astros after falling 0-1 in the series with a Game 1 loss. Here is a recap of the game:
Final Score: Astros 8, Yankees 3.
Series: Astros lead 3-1.
Winning Pitcher: Ryan Pressly.
Losing Pitcher: Masahiro Tanaka.
Springer connects for a huge home run early
Houston's offense would get out to a slow start in ALCS Game 4, going without a hit in the first two innings against Masahiro Tanaka before putting together a big third. Robinson Chirinos started the inning with a walk, and then Josh Reddick followed with a single to put two on base. That flipped the order over, back to George Springer, who would take advantage of the baserunners with a three-run home run to give Houston a 3-1 lead.
#SpringerDinger right on cue.#ALCS pic.twitter.com/d9fQCy684I
— MLB (@MLB) October 18, 2019
Greinke turns early trouble into a decent start
Zack Greinke was in trouble early in ALCS Game 4. After a four-pitch walk to start the bottom of the first, he would go on to allow a one-out single then two-out walk to load the bases. His struggles with the strike zone continued, issuing a bases-loaded walk to give the Yankees an early 1-0 lead.
He would recover and settle in over the following innings, allowing just one baserunner through the second, third, and fourth innings. In the bottom of the fifth, he allowed a one-out single before a missed strike call by the home plate umpire turned into an eventual walk to Aaron Judge. With the go-ahead run coming to the plate, A.J. Hinch would call on his bullpen to bring in Ryan Pressly to finish the inning.
Pressly would issue a walk to load the bases before getting huge back-to-back strikeouts to strand all three runners and maintain Houston's 3-1 lead. It also put Greinke's line final: 4.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 5 K, 0 HR.
Correa blows it open for another big ALCS moment as Astros pull away
In the top of the sixth, a leadoff error put Alex Bregman on board and ended Tanaka's night. First out of New York's bullpen was Chad Green, who allowed a one-out single to Yordan Alvarez to put two runners on base. That set up the second three-run home run of the night, this time by Carlos Correa, giving him another big scoring hit in this ALCS and pushing Houston's lead to 6-1.
You hear that? #ALCS pic.twitter.com/gBdKeiunD6
— MLB (@MLB) October 18, 2019
With the five-run lead, the Astros turned to Josh James for the bottom of the sixth. He would throw six straight balls to start his appearance, issuing a walk before giving up a two-run home run to cut the lead to 6-3. He would eventually get through the inning, sending the 6-3 game to the seventh. Will Harris took over in the bottom of the seventh and was able to retire the Yankees 1-2-3 in a quick frame. In the top of the eighth, the Astros re-extended their lead after a leadoff double by Alex Bregman, who moved to third and then scored on back-to-back defensive errors on groundballs by the Yankees, making it a four-run game.
Joe Smith was the next reliever out for Houston in the bottom of the eighth, but after two outs would have an error put a runner on second, prompting a call to bring in Roberto Osuna to try and cover four outs. Osuna would get the final out to finish off the eighth, then in the top of the ninth, Michael Brantley would hit a sacrifice fly to extend the lead to 8-3. In the bottom of the ninth, Osuna returned and finished off the win with a scoreless inning.
Up Next: Game 5, initially scheduled for Thursday night, will get started on Friday at 6:08 PM Central. With the postponement of Wednesday's game shifting Games 4 and 5 back a day, it allows a pitching matchup of Justin Verlander for Houston going up against James Paxton, a rematch of Game 2. Verlander will look to repeat or improve upon his success in that game where he went 6.2 innings of two-run baseball, while Paxton was removed after 2.1 innings where he allowed a run on four hits. With a win, Houston will advance to their second World Series in three years.
The Astros playoff report is presented by APG&E.