Sav­ages in the Box go bust ver­sus Astros

Yan­kees lose 4th straight ALCS since last win­ning World Se­ries ti­tle in 2009

The Peterborough Examiner - - SPORTS - STEPHEN HAWKINS

HOUS­TON — A record-set­ting sea­son by Sav­ages in the Box ended with a string of strike­outs and an­other Oc­to­ber bust for the New York Yan­kees.

For the first time since the 1910s, the 27-time Ma­jor League Base­ball cham­pi­ons have gone through a cal­en­dar decade with­out mak­ing it to a World Se­ries.

An Amer­i­can League Cham­pi­onship Se­ries of squan­dered chances ended when Aroldis Chap­man al­lowed Jose Al­tuve’s pen­nant-win­ning, two-run homer in the ninth in­ning Satur­day night that gave the Hous­ton Astros a 6-4 win and the pen­nant in six games.

“No mat­ter how many games we won in the reg­u­lar sea­son or what else we did, the sea­son’s a fail­ure,” Aaron Judge said. “I just think about the missed op­por­tu­ni­ties.”

Al­tuve be­came only the sec­ond player to elim­i­nate the Yan­kees in the post-sea­son with a walk-off homer, the first since Bill Maze­roski’s homer off Ralph Terry won Game 7 of the 1960 World Se­ries for Pitts­burgh.

“It will serve us well go­ing for­ward when we get to the top of the moun­tain,” said Yan­kees man­ager Aaron Boone, who ear­lier this sea­son claimed his play­ers were “sav­ages in the box” when dis­put­ing strike calls with an um­pire.

Chap­man, pitch­ing per­haps his fi­nal game for the Yan­kees, said he wanted to get ahead with a slider and never thought about pitch­ing around Al­tuve.

“It didn’t land in the spot where I wanted, and he took full ad­van­tage of that,” Chap­man said through a trans­la­tor af­ter Game 6.

“It doesn’t mat­ter if it’s the best or the worst bat­ter, I’m al­ways go­ing to go out there and chal­lenge that hit­ter. Through­out my ca­reer, I’ve faced every­body the same way.”

When the ball went over the wall, Chap­man said “for that split sec­ond, I couldn’t be­lieve it.”

Af­ter a reg­u­lar sea­son with 306 homers, the Yan­kees got two more to over­come a 3-0, first-in­ning deficit, a solo shot by Gio Ur­shela and DJ LeMahieu’s two-run drive off Roberto Osuna in the ninth.

“Ex­tremely dis­ap­point­ing. We set out to win the whole thing,” LeMahieu said. “Every­body was ex­tremely fo­cused. I think we all had be­lief we were go­ing to win the se­ries one way or an­other.”

But, af­ter talk­ing pretty much all sea­son about how im­por­tant it was to gain home-field ad­van­tage, the Yan­kees showed what a slight let-up in the last 10 days of the reg­u­lar sea­son meant.

Hous­ton fin­ished with 107 wins and the Yan­kees 103, giv­ing the Astros host­ing rights for the first two games of the ALCS and the last two.

And so af­ter los­ing Game 7 at Minute Maid Park two years ago, the Yan­kees lost their fourth straight ALCS since their last World Se­ries ti­tle in 2009.

New York went 1-for-6 with run­ners in scor­ing po­si­tion, fin­ish­ing 6-for-35 (.171) in the se­ries with 42 run­ners left on base — that af­ter lead­ing the ma­jors with a .294 RISP dur­ing the sea­son.

The Yan­kees lived and died by the homer, scor­ing 15 of their 21 runs in the se­ries on 10 long balls.

They struck out 11 times in Game 6, rais­ing their se­ries to­tal to 64.

SUE OGROCKI THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Astros bat­ter Jose Al­tuve hits a two-run, walk-off home run to win Game 6 of base­ball’s Amer­i­can League Cham­pi­onship Se­ries against the New York Yan­kees on Satur­day night in Hous­ton. The Astros won, 6-4, to take the se­ries 4-2.

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