Felix Hernandez becomes fourth-youngest pitcher to record 1,000 strikeouts

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Last night Felix Hernandez beat the Red Sox while racking up seven strikeouts in 7.2 innings of two-run ball and in doing so became the fourth-youngest pitcher in baseball history to reach 1,000 career strikeouts.
Here are the leaders, according to Elias Sports Bureau:

                    YEAR     AGE
Bob Feller          1941     22 years, 179 days
Bert Blyleven       1974     23 years, 131 days
Dwight Gooden       1988     23 years, 249 days
Felix Hernandez     2010     24 years, 139 days

That’s an interesting list, because while Blyleven ranks fifth all time with 3,701 career strikeouts neither Feller nor Gooden crack the top 25. Feller ranks 26th with 2,581 and Gooden ranks 46th with 2,293.
As for King Felix this season, poor run support from the Mariners’ horrendous offense leaves him with a 10-10 record despite leading the league with 205 innings and posting a career-best 2.47 ERA that ranks third in the AL. Last season he finished second in the Cy Young voting while posting a 2.49 ERA in 239 innings, but also had a 19-5 record to help his cause with voters.

Astros push ALCS to Game 7 with 7-1 stunner against Yankees

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There’s just something about playing in your home ballpark. The Astros decimated the Yankees at Minute Maid Park on Friday, riding seven scoreless innings from Justin Verlander and a pair of big runs from Jose Altuve to win 7-1 and force a Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

Through the first four innings, however, the teams looked equally matched. Luis Severino no-hit the Astros through 3 2/3 innings, losing his bid on Carlos Correa‘s line drive single in the fourth. The Astros returned in the fifth to do some real damage, drawing two walks and plating the first run of the night with Brian McCann‘s ground-rule double off of the right field wall. Things didn’t get any easier for Severino. Jose Altuve lined a two-RBI base hit into left field, upping Houston’s advantage to three runs.

Verlander, meanwhile, muted the Yankees’ offense with seven innings of five-hit, eight-strikeout ball. While he didn’t come close to matching his complete game effort in Game 2, he was still plenty dominant against a struggling New York lineup. No player reached past first base until the sixth inning, when a pair of base hits from Chase Headley and Didi Gregorius gave the Yankees their first runner in scoring position. That didn’t last long, though, as Gary Sanchez grounded out on a 3-0 slider to end the inning.

In the seventh, Houston’s ace got into another spot of trouble. He walked Greg Bird on six pitches to start the inning, then plunked Starlin Castro on the wrist. Aaron Hicks struck out, in part thanks to a questionable call by home plate umpire Jim Reynolds, but it was Todd Frazier who presented the biggest threat after returning an 0-1 fastball for a 403-foot fly out to left field. Luckily for Verlander, George Springer was there to bail him out with a leaping catch at the wall.

The Yankees kept things exciting in the eighth, too. Aaron Judge ripped his third postseason home run off of Brad Peacock, taking a 425-footer out to the train in left field to spoil the Astros’ shutout. That was the only real break the Yankees got, however, as Altuve, Alex Bregman and Evan Gattis returned in the bottom of the inning to tack on another four runs, including Altuve’s solo shot off of David Robertson:

Ken Giles handled the ninth, expending 23 pitches and giving up a base hit and a walk before retiring Frazier and Headley to end the game. Thanks to Houston’s winning efforts, the two teams will compete in their first seven-game Championship Series since 2004 — and this time, at least one of them is guaranteed to come away with a win.

Game 7 of the ALCS is set for Saturday at 8:00 PM ET. Houston right-hander Charlie Morton (14-7, 3.62 ERA) is scheduled to face southpaw CC Sabathia (14-5, 3.69 ERA).