10/17/19 By Andrew Carter
The Houston Astros defeated the New York Yankees by a score of 8-3 in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series, claiming a 3-1 series lead with an opportunity to clinch a World Series berth as soon as Friday night.
The scoring got started in the bottom of the first inning, after a bases-loaded walk issued by the Astros’ Zack Greinke brought Aaron Judge in to score from third. The Yankees failed to capitalize further with the bases loaded in the first, but their one-run lead would hold until the top of the third inning, during which George Springer launched a three-run home run off of Yankees’ pitcher Masahiro Tanaka to give the Astros their first lead of the night. The Astros would continue to build on their lead in the sixth inning with another three-run blast by shortstop Carlos Correa, then adding two more runs over the final two innings to secure the win for Houston.
After a shaky first inning, Greinke seemed to settle in for the rest of his start, allowing only one earned run before leaving with runners on first and second after 4 ⅓ innings pitched. Reliever Ryan Pressly would walk the first batter he faced in Aaron Hicks to load the bases, before striking out both Gleyber Torres and Edwin Encarnación to strand the bases yet again for the Yankees. New York as a whole was 0-7 on the night with runners in scoring position, bringing their total to 4-27 for the entire series.
The Yankees’ woes offensively seemed to carry over into their play defensively, as the team committed a total of four errors on the night. Two of the four errors were charged to young second baseman Gleyber Torres, one of which allowed the Astros’ Jose Altuve to reach second base in the top of the ninth inning, who would later score on a base hit by Michael Brantley. Torres had an all-around game to forget on Thursday night, going 0-5 at the plate with two strikeouts while leaving six of his teammates stranded on the bases, in addition to the two errors.
Excluding a two-run shot by Yankees’ catcher Gary Sánchez off of reliever Josh James, Houston’s bullpen thoroughly dominated the Yankees’ lineup after Greinke’s departure, pitching to the tune of eight strikeouts through 4 ⅔ innings. The Astros’ relief pitching allowed only two hits, both of which were charged to James. Relievers Will Harris, Joe Smith and Roberto Osuna allowed only one base runner combined over the final three innings.
Game 5 starts on Friday night at 7:08 PM ET, with a rematch between the Astros’ Justin Verlander and the Yankees’ James Paxton set to take place in the Bronx. The two pitchers recently squared off in Game 2 of the ALCS, in which Verlander pitched 6 ⅔ innings of 2-run ball while Paxton was knocked out after allowing a run in 2 ⅓ innings pitched. The Astros would win the ALCS and advance to the World Series to play the Washington Nationals with a victory on Friday.