Carlos Correa helps Astros take 2-0 lead over White Sox in ALDS
Carlos Correa and the Houston Astros are relentless at the plate and in the field.
That’s why they are so tough to beat in the playoffs.
Correa hit a two-run double during Houston’s five-run seventh inning, and the Astros beat the Chicago White Sox 9-4 on Friday for a 2-0 lead in their American League Division Series.
Kyle Tucker homered and drove in three runs as the Astros moved within one win of their fifth consecutive appearance in the AL Championship Series. Alex Bregman had two hits and scored twice, and Jose Altuve made a couple of big plays.
“They’ve been here before, and they’ve experienced it,” Houston manager Dusty Baker said of his players. “Belief is a big part of this game, and belief will take you a long, long ways — and these guys as a unit, they believe.”
Game 3 of the best-of-five series is Sunday night in Chicago.
“I think experience plays a huge part of it,” Correa said. “The moment is never too big for the guys in that clubhouse.”
The National League Division Series between the Dodgers and Giants is the biggest matchup ever in the rivalry’s 131-year history.
The Astros grabbed the lead for good on Yordan Alvarez’s tiebreaking RBI single off Aaron Bummer (0-1) with one out in the seventh. Craig Kimbrel then took over and retired Yuli Gurriel before Correa’s drive to right field sailed just past a sprinting Leury Garcia.
Correa screamed and gestured to the crowd to yell with him as he reached second base. The star shortstop is eligible for free agency after this season, and it’s going to be quite costly for the AL West champion Astros to keep him.
Tucker then punctuated the inning with a two-run shot into the seats in left, lifting Houston to a 9-4 lead.
The Astros got 10 hits for the second straight day, but their defense stole the show.
Altuve led the way. The second baseman made a diving grab to take a hit away from Andrew Vaughn in the sixth. He wowed again when he fielded a sharp grounder from Eloy Jimenez and got the throw to first base in time for the first out of the eighth.
Gurriel got the first two outs of the fourth when the first baseman turned an unassisted double play, and Tucker dashed to grab a fly ball in right field hit by Yasmani Grandal with runners on first and second in the seventh.
“Defense is something that we work on before we even hit,“ Baker said. “These guys take pride in defense. And so that’s something I think is overlooked by a lot of clubs but never on my clubs.“
The Astros rolled to a 6-1 win in Game 1 behind a splendid start by Lance McCullers Jr. Framber Valdez struggled in Game 2, giving up four runs and seven hits in 4 1/3 innings.
“They’re really good, but I thought we played really well too,” White Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “But they played better — just enough.”
The White Sox grabbed a 4-2 lead with three runs in the fifth. Luis Robert and Jose Abreu each hit an RBI single, and Grandal added a sacrifice fly.
Gabe Kapler was a candidate for the Dodgers managerial job before Dave Roberts landed the role, and their crossed paths in baseball have a deep history.
But the Astros tied it in the bottom half on Gurriel’s two-run single. It was the first hit of the series for the AL batting champion.
The loss drops the AL Central champion White Sox to 0-6 in Houston this season. They are trying to avoid another early postseason exit after they were eliminated by the Oakland Athletics in the first round last year.
Robert and Tim Anderson had three hits apiece. Abreu, who had been slowed by flu-like symptoms, had two hits and drove in a run.
“Our backs are against the wall right now,” Anderson said. “We know what we need to do: We’ve got to take care of business. Things will get better. It’s good to head back home, for sure.”
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