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Dallas Keuchel shines as Astros beat Yankees 2-1 to take ALCS Game 1

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Everything the Yankees did well, the Astros did better, edging past their league rivals 2-1 on Friday to take a 1-0 lead in the ALCS. Masahiro Tanaka shone through six quality innings, but Dallas Keuchel positively sparkled, fending off the Yankees’ offense with seven innings of four-hit, 10-strikeout ball for his second postseason win.

Through the first two innings, however, neither starter relinquished more than a single walk. Keuchel cracked on a third-inning single by Brett Gardner, and Tanaka lost his no-hit bid when Jose Altuve collected his first base of the game on an infield hit. That proved to be a crucial mistake, as Altuve promptly snagged second base and came home to score on Carlos Correa‘s RBI single. Two at-bats later, Yuli Gurriel followed that with another RBI single to cap the rally.

Keuchel struggled to maintain control in the fifth inning. Greg Bird roped a leadoff single, followed by a throwing error that planted Matt Holliday at first base. With two outs and runners on first and second, Aaron Judge lined a single into left field that should have scored Bird, but Marwin Gonzalez fired a 97.4-mph throw to catch him at the plate. The Yankees challenged the tag, naturally, and had they been successful, would have been able to push for extras later on.

Tanaka, on the other hand, recovered from his fourth-inning hiccups and retired five consecutive batters before Altuve returned to pester him in the sixth. A base hit and wild pitch later and Altuve was standing on second base again, though neither Correa nor Marwin Gonzalez found themselves able to solve Tanaka to extend the Astros’ two-run advantage. They were no more successful against Chad Green, who pitched a scoreless seventh and eighth with two hits and two strikeouts.

The eighth is exactly where things got interesting for the Yankees. Chris Devenski replaced Keuchel and lasted for just two at-bats after retiring Todd Frazier and walking Brett Gardner on six pitches. Ken Giles promptly came in and repeated the same sequence, inducing a groundout from Judge before walking Gary Sanchez on five pitches, though he was able to recover with an inning-ending strikeout to Didi Gregorius. He returned in the ninth to strike out the side, but not before Greg Bird gave 43,116 Astros fans a mild heart attack:

The Astros still have one game left in Houston before the series moves to New York for Game 3 on Monday. Justin Verlander (15-8, 3.35 ERA) will go up against Luis Severino (14-6, 2.98 ERA) on Saturday for Game 2 at 4:00 PM ET.

Report: Padres acquire Tommy Pham from Rays

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Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Padres have acquired outfielder Tommy Pham from the Rays in exchange for outfielder Hunter Renfroe and Single-A middle infielder Xavier Edwards. The Padres are also expected to receive an as yet unknown prospect from the Rays.

Pham, 31, is entering his second year of arbitration eligibility and is projected to earn $8.6 million for the 2020 season. This past season with the Rays, Pham was valued at 3.7 Wins Above Replacement according to Baseball Reference, playing solid defense while batting .273/.369/.450 with 21 home runs, 68 RBI, 77 runs scored, and 25 stolen bases over 654 plate appearances.

Renfroe, 27, is entering his first year of arbitration eligibility as a Super Two player. MLB Trade Rumors projects him to earn a $3.4 million salary in 2020. He’s coming off of a campaign in which he set a career-high in home runs with 33 while batting .216/.289/.489 with 64 RBI and 64 runs scored across 494 trips to the plate.

Edwards, 20, was selected by the Padres in the first round (38th overall) of the 2018 draft and was ranked as the No. 5 prospect in the organization, per MLB Pipeline. He spent 2019 between Single-A Fort Wayne and High-A Lake Elsinor, batting a combined .322/.375/.396 with 27 extra-base hits, 43 RBI, 76 runs scored, and 34 stolen bases in 561 PA.

The Padres needed to upgrade the offense in the outfield as the club ranked in the bottom-third of the league with an aggregate .740 OPS from all three outfield spots. The club sent Franmil Reyes, who put up an .849 OPS for the Padres over the first four months of 2019, to the Indians at the trade deadline. Wil Myers put up a slightly below average .739 OPS and Manuel Margot posted a light .691 OPS.

It will be interesting to see if the Rays can level up Renfroe. He certainly hits for power but he will need to work on his on-base skills if he is going to help this trade pan out well for the Rays. Edwards will help as well, as he is rated No. 72 overall among prospects across the league, according to MLB Pipeline. Along with the talent acquired in the trade, the Rays save a bit of money swapping Pham for Renfroe.

Update: The Padres will receive minor league middle infielder Jake Cronenworth, Dennis Lin of The Athletic reports.