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Astros hammer Yankees 8-3 in ALCS Game 4, take 3-1 series lead

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A pair of three-run home runs from George Springer and Carlos Correa paced the Astros as they defeated the Yankees 8-3 in Game 4 of the ALCS to take a 3-1 series lead. The Astros are one win away from reaching the World Series for the second time in three years.

Zack Greinke got the start for the ‘stros and immediately found himself in hot water. The right-hander issued three walks in the bottom of the first inning, the last of which came with the bases loaded and forced in a run to give the Yankees an early 1-0 lead.

The lead wouldn’t last long as George Springer followed a Robinson Chirinos walk and a Josh Reddick single with a three-run home run to left field off of Masahiro Tanaka, putting the Astros on top 3-1.

Greinke got the first out of the fifth inning, but allowed a single to DJ LeMahieu, then walked Aaron Judge, ending his night. Ryan Pressly came in to put out the fire. He walked Aaron Hicks to load the bases, but rebounded with back-to-back strikeouts of Gleyber Torres and Edwin Encarnación to escape the inning. Greinke ended his night allowing the one run on three hits and four walks with five strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings.

Alex Bregman led off the sixth inning reaching on a fielding error by LeMahieu, which ended Tanaka’s night. Chad Green entered in relief, allowing a one-out single to Yordan Álvarez before serving up a three-run dinger to Correa. Tanaka’s final line: four runs (three earned) on four hits and two walks with nine strikeouts across five-plus innings.

Gary Sánchez helped the Yankees claw back a bit with a two-run home run off of Josh James in the bottom half of the sixth to make it 6-3. But the Astros’ bullpen would hold the fort from there.

Will Harris took over in the seventh. He threw 13 pitches, striking out Hicks and Torres before getting Encarnación to ground out for a 1-2-3 inning. The Astros continued to mount offensive pressure in the top of the eighth, this time against Adam Ottavino. Bregman led off with a double, then Gurriel reached on a LeMahieu fielding error that put runners on the corners with no outs. Manager Aaron Boone decided to bring in lefty CC Sabathia to face Álvarez. Álvarez followed up with a grounder right to Torres but he bobbled the ball, allowing a run to score, Gurriel to advance to second, and Álvarez to reach safely. Sabathia would end up exiting the game with an apparent shoulder injury, likely making the final appearance of his major league career. Jonathan Loaisiga entered the game and ended the inning without any further damage.

Astros skipper A.J. Hinch handed the ball to Joe Smith for the eighth inning. He struck out Brett Gardner and Sánchez for two quick outs. Gio Urshela reached on a fielding error by Bregman to whisper the idea of a rally into the inning. Hinch, however, decided to squelch that idea by bringing in closer Roberto Osuna for a four-out save opportunity. He closed the book on the eighth by getting Didi Gregorius to foul out to the left side.

The Astros tacked on another run in the top of the ninth thanks to yet more poor defense on the Yankees’ part. Altuve led off, grounding a ball to Torres but the ball skipped under his glove, allowing Altuve to safely reach second base. Loaisiga uncorked a wild pitch to move Altuve to third. Then Michael Brantley singled to right field to plate Altuve, making it 8-3. Facing Bregman, Loaisiga uncorked yet another wild pitch to allow Brantley to move up to second base before ending the at-bat in a walk. Thanks to lefty Tyler Lyons, that was the end of the Astros’ offensive front.

Osuna returned to the mound in the ninth looking for the save. LeMahieu flied out to right abd Judge grounded out. After walking Hicks, Osuna closed the door by getting Torres to fly out to right field. Fin. Astros win 8-3, take a 3-1 series lead.

The Yankees will look to avoid elimination in Game 5 of the ALCS on Friday night at home. James Paxton will oppose Justin Verlander. If the Astros win, they will match up with the Nationals in the World Series.

Doubleheader between Cardinals and Tigers postponed

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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A doubleheader between the St. Louis Cardinals and Detroit Tigers this week is being postponed to allow more time for additional COVID-19 testing.

MLB opted to postpone Thursday’s doubleheader to continue additional testing while players and staff are quarantined before the team returns to play. More details about the Cardinals’ resumption of play will be announced later this week.

The Cardinals had a series against Pittsburgh set to start on Monday postponed after a weekend series against the Cubs was scrapped due to three positive coronavirus tests.

St. Louis had two more players and a staff member test positive for the virus on Friday and have had eight positive players overall, including star catcher Yadier Molina.

There have now been 29 games postponed by Major League Baseball because of coronavirus concerns. The Cardinals have not played since July 30 and have had 15 games scrapped.

Miami and Philadelphia each had seven games postponed earlier and have returned to the field since the disruptions.

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