MLB Playoffs, At Minute Maid Park on Wednesday night, the Houston Astros defeated the New York Yankees, 4-2, in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series. The Astros are three games away from securing a spot in the World Series for the fourth time since 2017.
As they lead the best-of-seven series 1-0. In his sixth playoff game this autumn, Harrison Bader hit a solo home run against Justin Verlander, giving the Astros a deficit in the second inning. In the bottom of the inning, Houston would tie the game.
Martín Maldonado, the backstop, scored Chas McCormick with an opposite-field double.
MLB Playoffs: Astros Slug Three Home Off Yankees Bullpen, Win ALCS Game 1 Behind Justin Verlander’s Gem!
The teams were tied at one run each going into the bottom of the sixth after an early run exchange. Reliever Clarke Schmidt turned a double play to get out of a jam after manager Aaron Boone left starter Jameson Taillon in to start to face the Astros order for the third time.
The Yankees had already walked a fine line in the fifth inning. It was too much to let Schmidt return for the sixth. To increase the Astros’ lead, Yuli Gurriel and Chas McCormick each hit solo home runs.
The ALDS MVP, rookie Astros shortstop Jeremy Pea, added another run with a towering home bomb in the seventh inning off Yankee’s trade deadline newcomer Frankie Montas, who was added to the ALCS roster and utilized out of the bullpen.
In the eighth inning, a home run by Anthony Rizzo appeared to be the catalyst for a Yankees comeback, but manager Dusty Baker of Houston called in closer Ryan Pressly, who put an end to the rally and recorded a four-out save.
The Astros have advanced to the ALCS for the sixth consecutive season despite all the self-inflicted agony following the sign-stealing controversy. They are facing the Yankees for the third time during that streak.
To the dismay of Yankees supporters, Houston won the first two games. They are expected to prevail once more, largely because their pitching depth dwarfs that of the Yankees’ injury-ravaged staff.
In Game 1, Houston didn’t even require a lot of depth. The 39-year-old ace Verlander, who is expected to win the AL Cy Young Award, recovered from a shaky start against Seattle by pitching six innings of one-run ball.
His eighth career double-digit strikeout game in the postseason set a new MLB record for him as he struck out 11 while allowing only three hits. After giving up the one run at the beginning, you could almost see Verlander getting into a rhythm in real-time.
As the game progressed, his curveball in especially appeared sharper. The Yankees hit out 17 times overall, compared to only 2 times for Astros batters. It is, according to reports Sarah Lang, the biggest margin in postseason history.
In Game 2, the Astros should have a pitching advantage once more. With a 3.19 ERA in 19 starts for the Yankees, starting pitcher Luis Severino largely got back to health and produced a great performance in 2022.
On the other hand, Framber Valdez, who has logged a 2.82 ERA in over 200 innings, has become one of baseball’s most dependable pitchers. The start time of that match is 7:37 ET on TBS, Thursday.