McCullers continues to play a big role as the Astros head to the World Series
It was game 7 of the American League Championship Series and the Houston Astros were able to silence the New York Yankees bats with the help of former Jesuit High School star pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. He came in relief after Charlie Morton and the duo combined for a three-hitter, Jose Altuve and Evan Gattis homered and the Astros reached the World Series for only the second time by shutting out the Yankees 4-0 Saturday night.
Next for the Astros they head to Los Angeles to face the best team in baseball the Dodgers. Tuesday night at Dodgers Stadium it will be the 2017 World Series.
“I love our personality,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “We have the right amount of fun, the right amount of seriousness, the right amount of perspective when we need it. This is a very, very unique group. To win 100 games and still be hungry is pretty remarkable.”
This marks only the second time that the Astros made it this far, they were a National League team when they were swept by the Chicago White Sox in 2005. But this Astros team is a very good young team with plenty of talented stars.
It is a team that is loved by the city of Houston where the Astros have been there supporting an area that has been devastated by Hurricane Harvey. The city has rallied behind the Astros in a big way and the team has noticed.
“This city, they deserve this,” McCullers said.
Last night Houston won the game because of strong pitching and clutch defensive. Third baseman Alex Bregman and center fielder George Springer helped Houston improve to 6-0 at Minute Maid Park in these playoffs and become the fifth team in major league history to capture a seven-game postseason series by winning all four of its home games.
After a tough Game 3 loss Morton bounced back giving up just two hits over five scoreless innings. Starter-turned-postseason reliever McCullers limited the Yankees to just one hit while fanning six over the next four. A noted curveballer, McCullers finished up with 24 straight breaking pitches to earn his first major league save.
Combined, they throttled the wild-card Yankees one last time in Houston. Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and their New York teammates totaled just three runs in the four road games.
“I know people are going to talk about how we didn’t win many games on the road. There were some other teams that haven’t won many games on the road, either. We just happened to run into a very good team that just beat us,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
CC Sabathia entered 10-0 with a 1.69 ERA in 13 starts this season after a Yankees loss. But he struggled with command and was gone with one out in the fourth inning.
Houston was up 2-0 in fifth when former Yankees star Brian McCann came through for the second straight game by hitting a two-run double. He snapped an 0-for-20 skid with an RBI double to give Houston its first run on Friday night in a 7-1 win.
The Yankees, trying to reach the World Series for the first time since 2009, lost an elimination game for the first time this season after winning their first four in these playoffs. New York went 1-6 on the road this postseason.
After going 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position through the first three innings, the Astros got on the board with no outs in the fourth with the 405-foot shot by Gattis.
Altuve launched a ball off Tommy Kahnle into the seats in right field with one out in the fifth for his fifth homer this postseason. It took a while for him to see that it was going to get out, and held onto his bat until he was halfway to first base before flipping it and trotting around the bases as chants of “MVP” rained down on him.
Altuve finished 8 for 25 with two homers and four RBIs in the ALCS after hitting .533 with three homers and four RBIs in the ALDS against Boston.
Carlos Correa and Yuli Gurriel hit consecutive singles before Kahnle struck out Gattis. McCann’s two-strike double, which rolled into the corner of right field, cleared the bases to push the lead to 4-0. Gurriel slid to avoid the tag and remained on his belly in a swimming pose at the plate for a few seconds after he was called safe.
It was just the second Game 7 in franchise history for the Astros, who lost to the Cardinals in the 2004 NLCS exactly 13 years earlier. But this time they were able to get past the Yankees and advance to the World Series.
The quotes in this story were provided by Associated Press and the video from MLB.COM the home for all things playoffs.
Don’t forget Sports Talk AM 1040 The Team will carry all MLB World Series broadcasts.