New game, same story: The Houston Astros took ALCS Game 3 from the New York Yankees by using a robust pitching staff to utterly quash any hopes of offense. This time, they allowed only three hits in a 5-0 win, subduing the Yankee Stadium crowd and taking a commanding 3-0 series lead. The Astros, in their sixth consecutive ALCS, are now one win away from their fourth World Series in six years — and their third postseason triumph over New York.
The Astros are an undefeated 6-0 in the postseason so far.
Cristian Javier, a breakout arm in 2022, made his first postseason start Saturday night after 12 October relief outings. He struck out five Yankees, walked three and allowed only one hit. Houston didn't exactly hammer Gerrit Cole, but they applied enough pressure to post five runs. First, Chas McCormick cranked a two-run homer after a Harrison Bader and Aaron Judge miscommunication in the outfield extended the inning.
Then, Cole left with the bases loaded in the sixth, only to watch reliever Lou Trivino allow all three runners to score. In total, the Yankees ace was charged with five runs, only three earned.
A stagnant Yankees offense hit the low point of its dismal series. Giancarlo Stanton's fourth-inning double was their only hit heading into the ninth inning, when the Yankees mounted a brief but futile challenge. Manager Aaron Boone's second lineup shuffle — moving Anthony Rizzo to the leadoff spot — still found no joy.
Houston trade deadline acquisitions Trey Mancini and Christian Vazquez came up with the key RBIs in that sixth inning to shush Yankee Stadium. Generally relegated to the bench, the pair came through as reports indicate Astros owner Jim Crane may not retain GM James Click — who he hired in the wake of the sign-stealing scandal.
But whatever the longer-term future holds for the Astros, the immediate future involves a chance to sweep the Yankees and head to the World Series. They'll have Lance McCullers Jr. on the mound trying to do just that on Sunday at 7:07 p.m. ET. He'll face the Yankees' Nestor Cortes Jr., hero of ALDS Game 5 against Cleveland.
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