Keuchel, Astros beat Yan­kees in Amer­i­can League wild-card game

The China Post - - SPORTS -

Hous­ton’s Dal­las Keuchel and his re­liev­ers shut out New York and led the Astros to a 3-0 win at Yan­kee Sta­dium on Tues­day in the Amer­i­can League wild-card game.

Colby Ras­mus and Car­los Gomez each home­red in the open­ing game of this year’s play­offs, as Hous­ton ad­vanced to the AL Di­vi­sion Se­ries against Kansas City, start­ing Thurs­day.

Keuchel, who did not al­low a run in 16 in­nings pitched against the Yan­kees in the reg­u­lar sea­son, con­tin­ued that streak as he worked through six score­less frames de­spite back­ing up on three days’ rest for the first time in his ca­reer.

“No­body re­ally gave us any­thing at the start of the year. And I don’t think any­body gave us a shot at the end of the year,” said Keuchel, the AL’s only 20-game win­ner.

Ras­mus sent Masahiro Tanaka’s first pitch of the sec­ond in­ning soar­ing into the right-field seats, while Gomez con­nected on the Ja­panese pitcher’s first of­fer­ing in the fourth.

“That re­ally set­tled me down, and that’s who we are,” Keuchel said. “We hit a lot of home runs, pitch well and play de­fense.”

AL hits leader Jose Al­tuve had an RBI sin­gle off All-Star re­liever Dellin Be­tances in the sev­enth to com­plete the scor­ing.

Hous­ton re­liever Tony Sipp walked one, and Will Harris and Luke Gregerson were each per­fect for an in­ning to fin­ish the three­hit­ter.

“Now we get to go to Kansas City. It’s go­ing to be some grind-it-out base­ball,” Ras­mus said. “We have to come in there the way we came in tonight.”

The Yan­kees lost six of seven to close the reg­u­lar sea­son. Then be­fore work­ing out Mon­day, they learned pitcher C.C. Sa­bathia was check­ing into an al­co­hol re­hab fa­cil­ity and would miss the play­offs.

De­spite all the talk of a play­off re­set for the strug­gling lineup, New York went bust against its new neme­sis in Keuchel, in the Yan­kees’ first post­sea­son game of the postDerek Jeter era.

“Just didn’t get it done,” man­ager Joe Gi­rardi said.

Fans taunted the bearded 27-year-old Keuchel the mo­ment he walked to the out­field for warmups. Then he toyed with the Yan­kees from the first bat­ter, strik­ing out Brett Gard­ner look­ing.

“It’s hard not to get up for a game like this,” Keuchel said. “I’ve worked so hard the last four years in the big leagues, es­pe­cially with re­build­ing with our team. I knew if we had a shot, I was go­ing to give ev­ery­thing I pos­si­bly could.”

When he gave up two sin­gles in the sixth — bring­ing the hope­ful crowd to its feet with Alex Ro­driguez step­ping into the bat­ter’s box — man­ager A.J. Hinch walked to the mound to give Keuchel a breather. Keuchel re­sponded by get­ting A-Rod to fly out lazily to cen­ter field for his fi­nal out.

“He was as good as it gets,” Ro­driguez said. “He was Greg Mad­dux from the left side.”

Tanaka strug­gled with the long ball, giv­ing up 25 homers in 24 starts this year. He only al­lowed two other hits in his five in­nings but matched a sea­son worst with three walks.

(Left) Hous­ton Astros catcher Jason Cas­tro, cen­ter left, em­braces Astros sec­ond base­man Jose Al­tuve af­ter the Astros beat the New York Yan­kees 3-0 in the Amer­i­can League wild card base­ball game at Yan­kee Sta­dium in New York, Tues­day. Astros cen­ter fielder Car­los Gomez is at left and Hank Con­ger is at right.


(Above) Hous­ton Astros sec­ond base­man Jose Al­tuve, above, gets tan­gled up with New York Yan­kees Didi Gre­go­rius af­ter tag­ging him out on a fielder’s choice dur­ing the sixth in­ning of the Amer­i­can League wild card base­ball game at Yan­kee Sta­dium in New York, Tues­day, Oct. 6.

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