Gon­za­lez, Breg­man lift Astros over to 2-0 lead

Sunday Star - - SPORTS -

Astros 3 — In­di­ans 1

HOUSTON (AP) — Justin Ver­lan­der and Ger­rit Cole have been even more bril­liant in the play­offs, keep­ing Cleve­land’s pow­er­ful of­fense in check to give the Houston Astros a 2-0 lead in the AL Divi­sion Se­ries.

Cole struck out 12 and walked none, com­bin­ing with two re­liev­ers on Houston’s sec­ond straight three-hit­ter in a 3-1 vic­tory Satur­day.

“There’s no doubt we ex­pect to be good, but this is a team ef­fort,” Cole said. “So, we ex­pect to keep our team in the ball­game. I don’t know about all the per­sonal ac­co­lades or all the dom­i­nance or that kind of stuff, but we just want to put up a fight.”

Mar­win Gon­za­lez hit a go-ahead, two-run dou­ble and Alex Breg­man home­red for the sec­ond straight day.

Next up: 2015 AL Cy Young win­ner Dal­las Keuchel will op­pose Mike Clevinger in Game 3 of this best-of-five se­ries on Mon­day in Cleve­land.

Fran­cisco Lin­dor hit a thirdinning homer for the AL Cen­tral cham­pion In­di­ans, who have three runs in the two games. Cleve­land is bat­ting .100 (6 for 60) fol­low­ing a reg­u­lar season in which the In­di­ans ranked sec­ond in the ma­jors with a .259 av­er­age. Jose Ramirez, Ed­win En­car­na­cion and Josh Don­ald­son have com­bined to go 1 for 22.

“This is one of the best of­fenses in the league,” man­ager AJ Hinch said. “They can do dam­age. They can put long at-bats to­gether. (Cole) used all his pitches. He was cre­ative. What else can I say? He was awe­some.”

Gon­za­lez put the Astros ahead in the sixth with the third of his four hits, an op­po­site-field dou­ble to right off usu­ally re­li­able re­liever An­drew Miller.

“With a one-run lead, and with Gon­za­lez com­ing up the way he had swung the bat against him prior and An­drew’s his­tory, I felt re­ally good about it,” man­ager Terry Fran­cona said. “Didn’t work out the way we ob­vi­ously planned.”

Breg­man home­red against Trevor Bauer in the seventh, and the World Se­ries cham­pi­ons moved within a win of a sec­ond straight trip to the AL Cham­pi­onship Se­ries.

Cole al­lowed one run and three hits in seven in­nings, join­ing Tom Seaver (1973) as the only pitch­ers to strike out at least 12 bat­ters with­out a walk in a post­sea­son game.

Ryan Pressly got two outs, and Roberto Osuna walked one in a four-out save.

Cleve­land starter Car­los Car­rasco al­lowed two runs and six hits in 5 1/3 in­nings.

Jose Al­tuve sin­gled lead­ing off the sixth but slipped as he left the bat­ter’s box and was limp­ing af­ter reach­ing first base. Hinch and a trainer came out to check on Al­tuve, who re­mained in the game.

Breg­man walked and one out later, Cleve­land brought in Miller, the dom­i­nat­ing left-han­der who was MVP of the 2016 AL Cham­pi­onship Se­ries but has been slowed by in­juries this year.

The switch-hit­ting Gon­za­lez turned around and hit right-handed. He fouled off a slider, then dou­bled on a fast­ball. Gon­za­lez, who hit a ca­reer-best .303 last season, has strug­gled this year hit­ting just .247.

“It was a tough season for me on the of­fen­sive side ... but I’ve been putting in a lot of work and it felt good to­day,” Gon­za­lez said.

Miller had al­lowed just one pre­vi­ous in­her­ited run­ner to score in the post­sea­son, on a sac­ri­fice fly by Bos­ton’s David Or­tiz in Game 3 of the 2016 AL Divi­sion Se­ries.

Miller walked Car­los Cor­rea on four pitches and loaded the bases with an in­ten­tional walk.

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