Baseball: Astros stay alive with 7-1 win over Yankees
Baseball: Astros stay alive with 7-1 win over Yankees
Houston ace Justin Verlander pitched another post-season gem and the Houston offense came alive at home after the Astros dropped three straight games in New York.
Verlander threw seven scoreless innings for the Astros, allowing five hits with one walk and eight strikeouts.
He extended his streak of consecutive scoreless innings in elimination games to 24 and passed Hall of Famer Randy Johnson for sixth place on the career post-season strikeouts list.
Verlander now has 134 career playoff strikeouts to the 132 Johnson recorded over 121 post-season innings.
Brian McCann and Jose Altuve drove in runs in a three-run fifth inning for the Astros that chased Yankees starting pitcher Luis Severino.
Altuve added a solo home run, his fourth of these playoffs, to lead off the eighth — when the Astros added four more runs.
Before the Astros stretched their lead, Verlander had worked out of trouble in the sixth and seventh, leaving two Yankees baserunners stranded in the sixth and notching his eighth strikeout in the seventh in a 10-pitch duel with Aaron Hicks.
Verlander was clearly tiring in the seventh. After his battle with Hicks, New York’s Todd Frazier sent a fly ball to deep center field, but George Springer leapt for the catch and Chase Headley then grounded out on Verlander’s final pitch of the night.
“Those things are game-changers,” Verlander said of defensive plays like Springer’s. “These guys make it a lot easier for me to go out and trust my stuff.”
The Astros will host game seven on Saturday.
The winner of the series takes on the National League champion Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series starting on Tuesday in Los Angeles.
“I know both teams are going to go out and leave everything they have because this (will be) the last game for the one that loses the game,” Altuve said of the looming game seven.
While Verlander allowed a hit in each of his first three innings, Severino kept the Astros without a hit until Carlos Correa lined a two-out single to right center field in the bottom of the fourth.
Severino escaped the inning, but the Astros soon had his number and were able to produce runs in support of Verlander.
“Severino was going really good early,” Verlander said. “You just knew it was going to be one of those ballgames where the first person to blink was likely going to come up a loser.”
In the top of the eighth, Aaron Judge’s towering home run off Astros relief pitcher Brad Peacock trimmed Houston’s lead to 3-1.
But fears that Houston’s bullpen wouldn’t be able to maintain after Verlander’s departure proved unfounded.
“Nothing is over yet,” Altuve cautioned. “Not for the Yankees, not for us. We’ve got to go out there and play the game tomorrow.”
LeBron James' last-second shot gives Cavs 98-95 win over Pacers in Game 5
- James' 3-pointer buzzer beater puts Cavaliers within one victory of advancing in the Eastern Conference playoffs
- James finished with 44 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists.
CLEVELAND: LeBron James hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer, a crowning moment for another brilliant performance, to give Cleveland a 98-95 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night in Game 5, putting the Cavaliers within one victory of advancing in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Moments after blocking Victor Oladipo’s possible go-ahead driving layup, James caught the inbounds pass, took two dribbles and dropped the winner over Thaddeus Young.
As Cleveland’s sellout crowd exploded, James hugged rookie teammate Cedi Osman before jumping on the scorer’s table to celebrate another of those moments that will define his career.
James finished with 44 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists and went 15 of 15 from the line.
Kyle Korver added 19 points and Cleveland’s much-maligned defense tightened just in time as the Cavaliers seized their first lead in the first-round series after being down 1-0 and 2-1.
Cleveland can close out Indiana with a win Friday night in Indianapolis.
Domantas Sabonis scored 22 points, and Young had 16 for the Pacers, who battled back to tie it 95-all on Sabonis’ 15-foot jumper with 33 seconds left. Indiana, which held Cleveland without a field goal for more than seven minutes during their fourth-quarter rally forced James into a turnover and had a chance to re-take the lead.
Oladipo, who shot just 2 of 15, drove the left side and was at the rim when James swooped in for a block on a play reminiscent of his Game 7 block on Andre Iguodala in the 2016 NBA Finals.
Oladipo’s shooting woes continued. He’s only 12 of 50 from the field in the last three games. He scored 32 in the Pacers’ Game 1 win, but the Cavs have been double-teaming him ever since.
The third quarter has been a major problem for Cleveland all season. The Cavs had tried everything to try and shake things up after halftime, even doing layup lines at the break in Game 4 like a high school squad.
Turns out, all it took was some defensive intensity.
Down by seven at half, the Cavs swarmed the Pacers in the third quarter, forcing five turnovers in the first six minutes and holding Indiana to one field goal over the first 6:52 while opening with a 19-3 run.
Cleveland outscored Indiana 32-17 in the third, when the Pacers shot just 5 for 16 (31 percent) and committed seven turnovers.
The Cavs were again without starting point guard George Hill, who missed his second straight game with back spasms.
James had enough to worry about with the Pacers that he didn’t want to discuss close friend Dwyane Wade’s future.
Miami’s star is mulling retirement after the Heat were eliminated Tuesday in Philadelphia. James spent four years playing in Miami with Wade, who began this season with the Cavs before being traded.
James said that following his last game against Wade he told him, “’If it’s like our last time going against each other, then it’s been everything and more.” James wants to wait for Wade to make his decision and will then “give a more in-depth analysis of his career if he decides to hang ‘em up.”
Pacers: Following Lance Stephenson’s aggressive, wrestling-like takedown of Jeff Green in the waning moments of Game 4, coach Nate McMillan said he reminded the fiery forward to be careful. “The officials are going to be watching that, Lance knows that and there are some times where I think they (the Cavs) are taking advantage.” ... Dropped to 2-12 in their last 14 games in Cleveland. ... James’ triple-double in Game 4 was the sixth against Indiana in the playoffs. James has done it to the Pacers three times.
Cavaliers: With his 21st 40-point game in the playoff, James tied the logo — Jerry West — for the second-most all-time. Michael Jordan scored at least 40 in 38 postseason games. .... Hill’s back has improved in the past few days, but he didn’t look close to playing while sitting stiffly in his locker-room chair before the game. ... Browns Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown sat courtside.
Game 6 is Friday night at Indianapolis.