Astros overcome adversity to come 1 win shy of World Series
Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker Jr. walks out to the infield for the national anthem before Game 7 of a baseball American League Championship Series between the Houston Astros and the Tampa Bay Rays, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)HOUSTON – The Houston Astros overcame injuries to several top stars and dealt with the fallout from their sign-stealing scandal to come a win shy of reaching the World Series for the third time in four seasons. The Astros fell into an 0-3 hole in the AL Championship Series before beating the Tampa Bay Rays in three straight games to force a Game 7. But their powerful offense was stifled by former Astros pitcher Charlie Morton in a 4-2 loss, and the Astros are heading home instead of to their second straight World Series. “I haven’t really thought about that yet,” the 2017 World Series MVP said.
Rays' offense stuck in neutral again as Astros force Game 6
(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)SAN DIEGO – Except for an occasional homer, the Tampa Bay Rays’ offense has fallen largely silent on the brink of the World Series. “That big hit has continued to elude us with guys on base,” Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said. Tampa Bay went 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position in Game 5 after going 1 for 4 in Game 4. “We’ve been streaky throughout the course of these playoffs,” Tampa Bay outfielder Kevin Kiermaier said. That's something of a rarity in this postseason, when Tampa Bay has been practically perfect in each game.
Correa hits walkoff homer to keep Astros alive in ALCS
The Astros defeated the Rays 4-3 and the Rays lead the series 3-2 games. The Astros forced Game 6 on Friday, a rematch of the first game started by left-handers Blake Snell of Tampa Bay and Valdéz. Otherwise, big league clubs leading 3-0 in a best-of-seven postseason series are 37-1. Correa also hit a walkoff homer in Game 2 of the 2017 ALCS off Aroldis Chapman of the New York Yankees. Houston became the first team with a leadoff and walk-off home run in a postseason game.
Springer, Altuve homer to keep Astros alive in ALCS
Beating the Tampa Bay Rays three more times to reach the World Series won't be easy, but the Astros believe they can do it. With Altuve atoning for his poor defense in this series, the Astros finally got their offense going after being pushed to the brink of a sweep. The Rays remain one win from advancing to the World Series for the second time in franchise history. Altuve hit a homer in the first and an RBI double in the third for a 2-0 lead. It was the third home run of the postseason for Springer, the MVP of the 2017 World Series.
Astros' big bats go silent in ALCS opener loss to Tampa Bay
The Houston Astros watch the top of the ninth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 1 of a baseball American League Championship Series, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020, in San Diego. Tampa Bay limited the Astros' star-studded lineup to nine hits — but just one for extra bases — in the Rays' 2-1 victory to open the ALCS at Petco Park on Sunday night. The Astros got no more big hits against Blake Snell and the Rays' justifiably vaunted bullpen. It’s much too early in the series for the Astros to feel anything is wrong with their offense. The Astros scored first in all four games against Oakland in the ALDS, and they did it again in Game 1 of the ALCS.
Good guy Dusty Baker guides reviled Houston Astros into ALCS
Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker Jr. signals as he walks to the mound to change pitchers during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Roger Steinman)LOS ANGELES – If there’s a universally recognized good guy among the generally reviled Houston Astros, it’s Dusty Baker. Next up, starting Sunday in San Diego, is either the New York Yankees or Tampa Bay Rays with a berth in the World Series at stake. If the Astros get that far, Baker would have a shot at being the second Black manager to win a World Series, joining Cito Gaston. As manager, Baker has been made to answer for the Astros' past transgressions, even though he wasn't around.
Bang! Bang! Astros thump away vs Oakland, return to ALCS
Houston Astros' George Springer, left, celebrates with Carlos Correa after the Astros defeated the Oakland Athletics in Game 4 of a baseball American League Division Series in Los Angeles, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020. “We have young guys that are leaning on the veterans and the veterans are taking care of them right now. The Astros and A's combined for 24 homers — 12 each — the most in a postseason series of five games or fewer. The scandal led to season-long suspensions of Houston general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch, who both were fired. BACK TO THE ALCSThe Astros became the third team in AL history since 1969 to reach four straight AL Championship Series.
Pinder's HR helps rally A's past Astros 9-7, trail ALDS 2-1
Oakland Athletics' Chad Pinder, right, celebrates with manager Bob Melvin after the Athletics defeated the Houston Astros in Game 3 of a baseball American League Division Series in Los Angeles, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. And just in case Laureano's words did not get the message across, he ripped a double as the A's got a pair of sacrifice flies in the eighth to rally past the Houston Astros 9-7 on Wednesday and avoid elimination in their AL Division Series. “It was awesome.”Houston leads the best-of-five series 2-1 and can advance to its fourth straight AL Championship Series with a victory in Game 4 on Thursday. Pinder hit a first-pitch slider to the opposite field for Oakland's fifth homer, a drive chased by right fielder Kyle Tucker until he ran out of room at the short wall. Houston took a 7-4 lead with five runs in the fifth, when the Astros sent 10 batters to the plate.
Correa, Springer rally Astros past A's 10-5 in ALDS opener
Houston Astros' Carlos Correa, left, celebrates with George Springer after they defeated the Oakland Athletics in Game 1 of a baseball American League Division Series in Los Angeles, Monday, Oct. 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)LOS ANGELES – A home run derby broke out during a hot, dry day at Dodger Stadium, and suddenly the Houston Astros have their swing and swagger back. “When you get the leadoff guy (Springer) getting on base every single time, good things are going to happen. Altuve's line-drive single to left scored Maldonado and Springer to put the Astros back in front, 6-5. Chris Bassitt put the potential tying and go-ahead runs on in the fifth with back-to-back singles by Springer and Altuve.
Astros out to 'silence the haters' in ALDS against Athletics
FILE - In this Nov. 1, 2017, file photo, the Houston Astros celebrate after Game 7 of baseball's World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Los Angeles. On Monday, Oct. 5, the Astros and the Oakland Athletics will open their ALDS matchup at Dodger Stadium. The coronavirus pandemic largely has protected the Astros from having public scorn heaped on them this season. He hasn't been particularly effective this season, and didn't start against them when the A's took seven of 10 games from the Astros this season. “We never did anything in our rotation to make him miss the Astros,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said.
LEADING OFF: Astros making noise, Phillies seeking GM
(AP Photo/Jim Mone)A look at what’s happening around the majors today:___SOUNDING OFFThe Astros are making noise on and off the field in the postseason, and that’s fine with outfielder Josh Reddick. Houston continues to draw the ire of fans across the majors for the sign-stealing scandal that came to light after last season. Former Houston pitcher and current A’s starter Mike Fiers was the one who revealed the Astros’ scam. “That’s what this year was about.”TAKE YOUR TIMEIf it seems baseball is going through an annual playoff slowdown, it’s true. “We’ve made progress but we haven’t made enough progress fast enough,” Phillies managing partner John Middleton said.
LEADING OFF: Astros making noise, Phillies seeking new GM
(AP Photo/Jim Mone)A look at what’s happening around the majors on Sunday:___SOUNDING OFFThe Astros are making noise on and off the field in the postseason, and that’s fine with outfielder Josh Reddick. Houston continues to draw the ire of fans across the majors for the sign-stealing scandal that came to light after last season. Former Houston pitcher and current A’s starter Mike Fiers was the one who revealed the Astros’ scam. “That’s what this year was about.”TAKE YOUR TIMEIf it seems baseball is going through an annual playoff slowdown, it’s true. “We’ve made progress but we haven’t made enough progress fast enough,” Phillies managing partner John Middleton said.
Astros win 4-1 in Game 1; Twins' record losing streak at 17
Houston Astros' Carlos Correa, left, and George Springer, center, jump in celebration of the Astros 4-1 win over the Minnesota Twins 4-1 in Game 1 of an American League wild-card baseball series, Tuesday Sept. 29, 2020, in Minneapolis. They know what it’s like," said manager Dusty Baker, after the Astros became the first team in major league history to win a game after reaching the postseason with a losing record. It didn’t go my way,” said Romo, who has three World Series rings with San Francisco and pitched in his 30th career postseason game. Minnesota’s previous win in the playoffs was notched in New York on Oct. 5, 2004, in Game 1 of the AL division series. UP NEXTThe Astros were waiting until after the game to announce their starter for Game 2, though Valdez's appearance took him out of the mix.
Betts homers, Dodgers beat Astros 8-1; LA fans still sore
Los Angeles Dodgers' Mookie Betts, right, gets congratulations from Enrique Hernandez, after Betts hits a two-run home run against the Houston Astros during the fifth inning of a baseball game in Los Angeles, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)LOS ANGELES – Mookie Betts’ two-run homer highlighted a four-run fifth inning, Chris Taylor added a three-run shot, and the Dodgers defeated Houston 8-1 on Sunday night with angry Los Angeles fans letting the Astros have it again. For the second straight day, the Astros were bombarded with messages towed by planes over Dodger Stadium. Go Dodgers” and “Hey Astros Try Stealing This Sign!” read others. Dodgers: Begin a three-game series at San Diego on Monday in a showdown between the NL West's top teams.
Astros rally to beat Dodgers 7-5 despite angry LA fans
Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa (1) and center fielder George Springer (4) celebrate the team's 7-5 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in a baseball game at Dodger Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2020, in Los Angeles. But there were multiple reminders that Dodger fans haven’t forgotten the Astros’ cheating scandal from their 2017 championship. Kelly's curled lip has been immortalized in a spray-painted wall mural by an artist in Los Angeles. Taylor blasted a two-run shot into the right-field pavilion with two outs in the second, giving Los Angeles a 2-1 lead. Dodgers: RHP Dustin May, who took a line drive off his left foot in Arizona, had a CT scan that revealed a contusion but no fracture.