ALDS: George Springer hits two homers, Astros beat A’s; Rays hit four homers to beat Yankees
George Springer hit two homers and the Houston Astros kept making more noise in the playoffs, beating the Oakland Athletics 5-2 on Tuesday to take a 2-0 lead in their AL Division Series.
Martin Maldonado also went deep for Houston, which needs one win to reach its fourth straight AL Championship Series. Game 3 in the best-of-five series is Wednesday, when Houston is the home team in the neutral site matchup.
Springer put Houston ahead to stay with a two-run, two-out drive in the third on a second straight 90-degree day at Dodger Stadium.
Maldonado’s solo shot in the fifth chased loser Sean Manaea in his first appearance of this postseason. Yusmeiro Petit came in and promptly gave up Springer’s second homer of the game, extending Houston’s lead to 5-2. Maldonado yelled and raised his right arm in celebration from his seat in the dugout.
Springer’s 17 postseason homers tied Nelson Cruz and Jim Thome for most through a player’s first 54 career postseason games. Five of Springer’s postseason homers have come at Dodger Stadium, where the Astros beat the Dodgers in Game 7 of the 2017 World Series.
Houston improved to 7-3 in Dodger Stadium since that World Series. Current A’s pitcher Mike Fiers last year told of his old team’s sign-stealing scandal used in 2017, a revelation that rocked baseball and drew the still ongoing ire of other players and fans.
Hot, sunny and dry conditions again created an ideal environment for the long ball. The teams combined for five homers, raising the series total to 11.
Winner Framber Valdez allowed two runs and five hits in seven innings, struck out four and walked one. The 26-year-old left-hander, making his first postseason start, retired his final 10 batters.
Valdez dazzled in his relief appearance against Minnesota in the AL wild card series opener, tossing five scoreless innings and scattering two hits to go with five strikeouts.
Enoli Paredes retired the side in the eighth. Ryan Pressly worked around Marcus Semien’s leadoff single in the ninth, Oakland’s only hit past the fourth inning, to finish a six-hitter for the save.
Oakland didn’t have an at-bat with a runner in scoring position.
Oakland got on board in the second with Khris Davis’ second-inning home run, his third of this postseason, put the A’s ahead.
After Springer’s first homer, the Astros extended their lead to 3-1 on Carlos Correa’s RBI groundout in the fourth that scored Michael Brantley, who doubled leading off.
Chad Pinter led off the bottom half with a 453-foot homer to right-center, the longest homer at Dodger Stadium this season.
For the second straight game, Oakland’s starting pitching failed to go deep. Manaea gave up four runs and five hits in 4 2/3 innings. Chris Bassitt didn’t get out of the fourth in Game 1, allowing three runs and nine hits in Wednesday’s defeat.
Rays 7, Yankees 5
Randy Arozarena, Mike Zunino, Manuel Margot and Austin Meadows hit home runs, and Tyler Glasnow struck out 10 to set a postseason record for the Tampa Bay Rays, who beat the New York Yankees 7-5 Tuesday night to even their AL Division Series at one game apiece.
The Rays had enough pop to overcome a huge game by Giancarlo Stanton, who had two home runs and four RBIs. His impressive power display included a 458-foot, three-run homer that landed under the giant video board in left field at Petco Park. It was reminiscent of the mammoth shots he hit in winning the Home Run Derby here in 2016.
Stanton has three homers this series and five in four postseason games. His grand slam in the ninth inning Monday night was the Bronx Bombers’ fourth homer in the 9-3 Game 1 win. The Yankees have 13 homers in five games.
Each team has hit six home runs in two games at the downtown ballpark, where the outfield once had the reputation as a place where fly balls went to die. The fences were moved in before the 2013 season.
Four Rays pitchers struck out 18, an MLB postseason record for a nine-inning game and a postseason record for Yankees batters.
DJ LeMahieu had hit an RBI single with two outs. in the ninth, and Pete Fairbanks retired Aaron Judge on a grounder with runners on the corners to end the game.
Game 3 in the best-of-5 series is Wednesday night. The Rays, who won the AL East at 40-20 and are the top seed, were the home team for the first two games while the Yankees will be the home team for the next two games.
Stanton became the first Yankees player to homer in four straight games in the same postseason when he lined a shot into the home run porch in right field off Glasnow leading off the second. Stanton, who’s from Los Angeles, joined Reggie Jackson and Lou Gehrig as the only Yankees to homer in four straight postseason games overall.
But the Rays have pop, too. Arozarena homered for the second time this series, with two outs in the first against rookie Deivi Garcia, who at 21 years, 140 days, became the youngest Yankees pitcher to make a postseason start. Arozarena’s opposite-field shot landed in the home run deck in right.
Garcia served as an opener for J.A. Happ, who surrendered Zunino’s two-run shot off the facade of the second deck in left with two outs in the second for a 2-1 lead. Happ also gave up Manuel Margot’s two-run homer to straightaway center with one out in the third for a 5-1 lead. Margot played for the San Diego Padres for four seasons before being traded to the Rays for reliever Emilio Pagan
The lead was just enough to survive Stanton’s three-run shot.
Glasnow walked Aaron Hicks to open the sixth and Diego Castillo came on and struck out 2020 home run leader Luke Voit and Stanton on three pitches each before retiring Gio Urshela on a fly ball.
Glasnow allowed three hits and four runs in five-plus innings, while walking three. His 10 strikeouts surpass the previous Rays postseason record of nine, done three times. The most recent was by Blake Snell in Game 1 of the wild-card series against Toronto.
It was the Rays’ 10th straight win when Glasnow pitches. He won his fifth straight start and seventh consecutive decision.
Tampa Bay added on with Kevin Kiermaier’s RBI single in the fifth and Meadow’s solo homer to leading off the sixth, both off Jonathan Loaisaga.
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