Astros power past Yanks for 3-1 ALCS lead, Verlander up next
NEW YORK — They have the pitching, and they don’t need the pitches. Certainly, the Houston Astros have confidence for good reason on the brink of another World Series.
“It’s Justin Verlander,” reliever Ryan Pressly said.
George Springer and Carlos Correa each hit threerun homers and the Astros got another wild ace off the hook to beat the disheveled New York Yankees 8-3 Thursday night and reach the cusp of a second World Series visit in three years.
The Astros lead the AL Championship Series 3-1, putting the 2017 World Series winners a step away from a showdown with the NL champion Washington Nationals.
Houston still has Verlander and Gerrit Cole queued up for this series, and the Yankees will have to beat both to survive. Verlander will start Game 5 on Friday night against James Paxton.
Springer lined an errant splitter from playoff star Masahiro Tanaka in the third inning for his homer, and Correa battered Chad Green’s fastball when New York turned to its vaunted bullpen. Those All-star sluggers have combined for just five hits in the series, but four have been homers.
Earlier in the day, Astros manager AJ Hinch ardently denied that his team has skirted rules to steal signs after an allegation by the Yankees, which was investigated and cleared by Major League Baseball. He also made it clear: If a pitcher is tipping what’s coming, Houston will take advantage.
The Astros are tired of that talk detracting from their sluggers.
“I think it’s disrespectful that every time we score a lot of runs, people talk about tipping,” Correa said. “Nobody was tipping today and we scored, what, eight runs? We’re great hitters. We’ve been doing it for a whole season.”
New York worked starter Zack Greinke hard during a 28-pitch first inning, but just like against Cole in Game 3, the clutch hit never came. Pressly dodged a bases-loaded jam in the fifth, and many fans had left Yankee Stadium by the time it ended shortly before 12:30 a.m.
The Yankees are at risk of failing to make the World Series for an entire decade for the first time since the 1910s. They are 0 for 13 with runners in scoring position the past two games.