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

Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

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.

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.

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.

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Houston's winning streak moves to six

Eighth-inning rally powers Astros to series sweep over Rangers

Yuli Gurriel brought in the go-ahead run late in Sunday's game. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Winners in the first three games of this series and their last five games overall, the Astros continued their climb towards the A's for first place in the AL West. They completed the four-game sweep, ending a successful homestand on a positive note before heading on the road.

Final Score: Astros 6, Rangers 2

Astros' Record: 24-17, tied for first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Brooks Raley (2-2)

Losing Pitcher: Joely Rodriguez (1-2)

Astros strike first, McCullers Jr. goes six scoreless

After the Rangers went down 1-2-3 in the top of the first, Houston grabbed an early lead off the bat of Alex Bregman. He provided the third single of the inning, a one-out RBI to put the Astros in front 1-0, a score which would hold steady for a while. Another run didn't come across until the bottom of the fifth when Houston would load the bases with one out when Carlos Correa would get an RBI groundball to double the lead to 2-0.

Lance McCullers Jr. did well with the small lead, backing up his recent eight-inning gem with a quality start against Texas. He allowed a couple of hits each in the third and fourth but would erase the runners with no damage allowed. The Rangers threatened in the top of the sixth with a leadoff double before the runner moved to third on a wild pitch, putting him in a great position with no outs. McCullers Jr. would come away unscathed, finishing the inning and his day by retiring the next three batters. His final line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 95 P.

Rangers tie it against Scrubb

First out of Houston's bullpen was Andre Scrubb, and he would not fare as well as the Astros starter. A leadoff single turned into a two-run game-tying homer, making it 2-2 before Scrubb would sit down the next three in order. Still tied in the top of the eighth, Brooks Raley had a terrific inning, striking out the three batters he faced.

Houston rallies ahead in the eighth for the four-game sweep

The top of Houston's order mounted a threat in the bottom of the eighth, loading the bases with one out to try and regain the lead. Yuli Gurriel would come through with the go-ahead at-bat, getting a sac fly to put the Astros back in front 3-2. A two-out walk loaded the bases again, setting up Chas McCormick to provide two insurance runs on a two-RBI single.

Myles Straw added one more on an RBI single, making it a four-run game at 6-2 heading to the ninth. Enoli Paredes made his long-awaited return from the IL, appearing for the first time since April 8th to try and close things out in the ninth. He tossed a scoreless inning, finishing off the four-game sweep, extending Houston's winning streak to six games, and keeping them in step with Oakland for the AL West lead.

Up Next: After a day off on Monday, the Astros will begin a six-game road trip on Tuesday. They'll kick off a three-game set in Oakland against the A's at 8:40 PM, an exciting matchup to determine who will head into the weekend atop the division. While Cristian Javier (3-1, 3.08 ERA) is the expected starter for Houston, Oakland has not yet determined their rotation for the series.

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