Astros sink lifeless Yankees 5-0 in ALCS Game 3


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New York Yankees 0, Houston Astros 5

NEW YORK — Cristian Javier and Houston’s bullpen put together a three-hitter, Chas McCormick hit an early two-run homer after a dropped fly ball, and the Astros beat Gerrit Cole and the New York Yankees 5-0 on Saturday night to take a 3-0 lead in the AL Championship Series.

Some fans of the New York Yankees, who were already frustrated after their team’s two losses in Houston, booed star slugger Aaron Judge after he struck out twice and jeered manager Aaron Boone while he was being introduced before the game.

The Astros, who have 106 wins and are trying to win their second AL pennant in a row, are now 6-0 in the postseason. The team managed by Dusty Baker is about to make it to the World Series for the fourth time in six years. On Sunday night, when Lance McCullers Jr. goes up against Nestor Cortes, they hope to end the series.

Only once in the history of the major leagues has a team come back from being down 3-0 in a postseason series to win it, and that was Boston in the 2004 American League Championship Series against the Yankees.

The Astros got rid of Cole in the sixth inning after Christian Vázquez hit a single that scored two runs and Trey Mancini hit a sacrifice fly that scored a run. This gave the Astros a five-run lead.

On June 25, the Astros had a combined no-hitter at Yankee Stadium, and Javier pitched seven innings of that game. He was almost as sharp this time. He didn’t let a ball leave the infield until Giancarlo Stanton hit a double with one out in the fourth inning. That was the only hit Javier gave up.

The 25-year-old right-hander made his first start since October 1. He pitched 5 1/3 innings and struck out five batters and walked three.

Héctor Neris, Ryan Stanek, Hunter Brown, Rafael Montero, and Bryan Abreu all finished their innings without giving up any runs. In the ninth, with two outs, the Yankees got two hits.

New York hasn’t been to the World Series since 2009, and they’re about to lose to Houston for the fourth time in the last eight years. The Yankees went from 61-23 in early July to 38-40 the rest of the way and have struggled in the playoffs.

During the regular season, Judge set an AL record with 62 home runs. In the playoffs, he went 0 for 4 and his batting average dropped to .156. He had 14 strikeouts and three RBI, and he was only 1 for 12 against the Astros.

The Yankees have a batting average of 128 in the ALCS, and they have 41 strikeouts. They have also lost eight of 10 games to Houston this season, and they’ve only thrown 13 pitches while leading.

Harrison Bader, the Gold Glove center fielder, made a mistake that cost the team a run in the second inning. After a leadoff walk in the fifth, Vázquez caught Bader trying to steal second.

When Vázquez hit a fly ball to right-center with two outs and Bader was about to catch it, Judge moved in front of Bader and the ball popped out of the center fielder’s green glove. Vázquez thought he was out, so he had already started cutting across the infield grass toward Houston’s dugout on the third-base side. He then went back to first.

The ninth-place batter, McCormick, drove a fastball 335 feet to the opposite field. The ball struck the short porch in right field and bounced into the stands for his second home run of the series. According to Statcast, the drive wouldn’t have been good enough for a home run in any of the other major league ballparks.

In the dugout, Astros players celebrated with the Chas Chomp, which is a big clap with arms spread wide. The act seems to have been started by Astros fan Scott Agruso, who wears an alligator suit to games at Minute Maid Park.

Cole, who has a $324 million, nine-year deal that makes him the highest-paid pitcher in baseball, gave up a home run for the 11th straight start. When Boone took him off the mound in the sixth, he was stunned.

Alex Bregman started the game by doubling, Kyle Tucker walked, and Yuli Gurriel hit a single down the right-field line.

After Trey Mancini made his first start of the series and Lou Trivino came in to relieve him, Trey Mancini hit a sacrifice fly that advanced all three runners and made the score 3-0. The next pitch that Vázquez faced, which was Trivino’s second consecutive slider, was hit to left field, resulting in the scoring of two more runs.


Cortes takes the mound after winning Game 5 of the AL Division Series on short rest, and McCullers makes his first appearance for the Astros since Oct. 15 against Seattle in the Division Series. During the celebration following the 18-inning victory, a champagne bottle grazed his elbow.

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