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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.

And That Happened: Thursday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Diamondbacks 5, Pirates 0: Zack Greinke tossed seven shutout innings, allowing only two hits, and hit a triple and scored. Greinke has won four straight decisions and has a 15-inning scoreless streak. The Snakes sweep the four-game set in Pittsburgh.

Indians 2, Astros 1: Trevor Bauer matched up with his old college teammate and longtime personal nemesis Gerrit Cole. Like, real nemesis, not just baseball nemesis. They don’t like each other. It’s so weird to have that happen in baseball where everyone at least acts like they like one another but, nah, the two of ’em don’t get along and haven’t since they were back at UCLA. Kinda fun in an “I enjoy chaos” kind of way. Anyway, Bauer got the best of it here, allowing only one run in eight innings while Cole gave up two and struck out ten. Homers accounted for all of the scoring: Leonys Martin and Jake Bauers for Cleveland, George Springer for the Astros.

Dodgers 2, Cubs 1: All the Dodgers did was score on a sac fly and an error, but ’twas enough. ‘Twil serve. Jon Lester came back off the injured list for the Cubs and looked good but Ross Stripling and a bunch of relievers held the Chicago offense in check.

Reds 4, Braves 2: Luis Castillo continues to be outstanding for Cincinnati, scattering eight hits over six shutout innings and lowering his ERA to 1.23 over six starts on the year. He got into trouble in the seventh, however, loading the bases without retiring a batter. Reliever David Hernandez came in, though, and struck out Dansby SwansonEnder Inciarte and Ozzie Albies to end the threat. Per my mailbag question on that the other day: THAT is definitely striking out the side. Eugenio Suárez drove in three of the Reds’ four runs.

Marlins 3, Phillies 1: A pitchers duel that was 1-1 at the end of regulation, but Starlin Castro hit a two-run homer with two outs in the 10th inning to hand the Phillies their sixth loss in their last eight.

Red Sox 7, Tigers 3: I’ve been asked a few times lately if I think the Sox will turn it around. Yeah, I think the Sox will turn it around. There’s just too much offense on this team and they’ll put together a lot of days like this one. Michael Chavis hit a two-run homer and Andrew Benintendi and Mookie Betts each hit two doubles apiece. Suddenly Boston has won five of seven. They’re like last year’s Dodgers. We’ll all wonder what’s wrong with them until there’s, suddenly, nothing wrong with them.

Angels 11, Yankees 5: The Yankees had a 4-0 lead by the fifth inning and it looked like a four-game sweep was in the offing, but then Tommy La Stella and Kole Calhoun hit two-run home runs and David Fletcher drove in five runs the rest of the way and the Angels won in a laugher.

Mariners 14, Rangers 2: Marco Gonzales struck out nine, scattered six hits and didn’t walk a batter in seven scoreless innings while picking up his big league leading fifth win of the year. And, uh, he had a good deal of run support while doing it. Ryon Healy was 3-for-5 with three RBI. Tim Beckham hit his sixth homer and drove in three himself as the M’s scored 14 runs on 14 hits.

I’m out the rest of the day as I’m off to Kentucky to watch horses jump over things. Well, actually, I’ll be manning the grill at the tailgate while everyone else watches horses jump over things. When you marry a horse person (i.e. a person who is into horse stuff, not a half-person, half-horse) this is the kind of stuff you do.

Have a nice weekend, everyone.