Astros power past Yanks for 3-1 ALCS lead, Ver­lan­der up next

The Saline Courier - - SPORTS - As­so­ci­ated Press

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.

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