2019 American League Championship Series

From BR Bullpen

2019 American League Championship Series
Houston Astros logo
2019 American League Championship Series logo
New York Yankees logo
Houston Astros
107 - 55 in the AL
4 - 2
Series Summary
New York Yankees
103 - 59 in the AL

Overview[edit]

The Teams[edit]

Yankees

Astros

Umpires[edit]

Marvin Hudson was the replay official for the first two games, then switched places with Bill Welke. Jeff Nelson suffered a concussion in Game 3 and was replaced starting in Game 4 by Mike Everitt, who also assumed crew chief responsibilities.

Series results[edit]

Game Score Date Pitchers Time (ET)
1 New York Yankees 7 Houston Astros 0 October 12 Masahiro Tanaka (1-0) Zack Greinke (0-1) 8:08 pm
2 New York Yankees 2 Houston Astros 3 October 13 James Paxton (0-0) Justin Verlander (0-0) 8:08 pm
3 Houston Astros 4 New York Yankees 1 October 15 Gerrit Cole (1-0) Luis Severino (0-1) 4:08 pm
4 Houston Astros 8 New York Yankees 3 October 17 Zack Greinke (0-1) Masahiro Tanaka (1-1) 8:08 pm
5 Houston Astros 1 New York Yankees 4 October 18 Justin Verlander (0-1) James Paxton (1-0) 7:08 pm
6 New York Yankees 4 Houston Astros 6 October 19 Chad Green (0-0) Brad Peacock (0-0) 8:08 pm

Results[edit]

Game 1 @ Minute Maid Park[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Yankees 0 0 0 1 0 2 2 0 2 7 13 0
Astros 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 1
WP: Masahiro Tanaka (1-0); LP: Zack Greinke (0-1)
Home Runs: NY - Gleyber Torres (1), Giancarlo Stanton (1), Gio Urshela (1)
  • Attendance: 43,311

The Yankees rode a dominant performance by Masahiro Tanaka, who allowed just 1 hit in 6 innings, as well as three homers, to a 7-0 win in Game 1. Facing Zack Greinke, who had been acquired in mid-season to pitch in precisely this situation for Houston, Tanaka was the one who looked like a former Cy Young Award winner, although Greinke pitched pretty well, with 3 runs allowed in 6 innings, some poor bullpen work making the final score look worse than it should have. Both pitchers breezed through the first three innings, with both teams bringing the minimum number of batters to the plate, their only baserunner being each time erased on a double play hit into by the next batter.

The Yankees drew first blood in the 4th inning when D.J. LeMahieu hit a lead-off single and took second on a wild pitch by Greinke. Gleyber Torres then followed with a double to drive him in. With the Astros still failing to get anything going on their side, the Yankees threatened again in the 5th, as Gary Sanchez and Gio Urshela hit back-to-back singles with one out, but Greinke then induced a pair of harmless fly balls to get out of the jam. He wasn't so lucky in the 6th, however, as the two hits he gave up were both long balls, one to Torres with one out, and another one one out later to Giancarlo Stanton to make it 3-0. The Astros then went down in order in the bottom of the 6th; Tanaka had faced the minimum 18 batters through his stint, as his only other baserunner apart from a 3rd-inning single by Kyle Tucker - a walk to Alex Bregman in the 5th - was also erased in a twin killing.

Ryan Pressly replaced Greinke in the 7th and allowed three consecutive singles to Didi Gregorius, LeMahieu and Aaron Judge to load the bases with two outs. Torres then added two more RBIs to his tally with a single to center field, making the score 5-0 and basically ending the game. The Astros failed to do much of anything against three Yankees relievers, each pitching an inning, in Adam Ottavino, Zack Britton and Jonathan Loaisiga, while the Yankees added a couple more runs in the 9th, against Bryan Abreu, on a solo homer by Urshela and a ground ball by Torres that scored LeMahieu from third base. Torres thus ended his night with 5 RBIs on 3 hits, on a night when the Astros managed all of 3 hits as a team.

Game 2 @ Minute Maid Park[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 R H E
Yankees 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 6 0
Astros 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 7 0
WP: Josh James (1-0); LP: J.A. Happ (0-1)
Home Runs: NY - Aaron Judge (1); HOU - George Springer (1), Carlos Correa (1)
  • Attendance: 43,359

Just as fans were starting to wonder if anyone could stop the Yankees, who had made mincemeat of a 100-win team in the Minnesota Twins in the Division Series and completely dominated Houston in Game 1, the Astros put their foot down. It helped that they had Justin Verlander on the mound, facing the much-less experienced James Paxton, but it took extra innings and a dramatic walk-off homer by Carlos Correa to lead off the 11th in order to tie the series. Leaving Houston two games down would have been a disaster for the Astros, but it was still clear that this was going to be a tough series. Giancarlo Stanton was out of the line-up for the Yankees, having tweaked a leg muscle in running out an infield hit the night before, and was replaced by much-traveled veteran Cameron Maybin; for Houston, facing a lefthander, RF Josh Reddick was sitting and Jake Marisnick was playing in centerfield, with George Springer sliding over to right.

Verlander started off very strong, needing just 9 pitches to set down the Yankees in the 1st. For Houston, Springer managed to draw a lead-off walk against Paxton, but Michael Brantley grounded into a double play. In the 2nd, Alex Bregman led off with a single and Yordan Alvarez drew a walk. Yuli Gurriel lined out to right field, but Correa followed with a double to the left field corner, scoring Bregman. A more aggressive Alvarez could probably had scored as well, but with only one out, he pulled up at third. There was already activity in the Yankees' bullpen when Paxton reached within himself to strike out Robinson Chirinos and Marisnick to end the inning, escaping what could have been major damage. Meanwhile Verlander was cruising, facing just the minimum number of batters through the first three frames. In the bottom of the 3rd, Brantley singled with one out and Jose Altuve followed with another single. At this point, Yankees manager Aaron Boone made a bold decision, pulling Paxton and sending in Chad Green. He later explained that Paxton did not really have his command, and that with a well-rested bullpen and on off-day coming up, he liked his chances better with his relievers taking over. It worked as Green stranded both runners by retiring the next two batters. After three innings, the Astros had completely dominated, but led only 1-0.

A one-run lead against this Yankees team had never been anything comfortable, and they quickly went to prove that in the 4th. D.J. LeMahieu worked his way back from an 0-2 count to draw a lead-off walk and two pitches later, Aaron Judge hit a ball well behind the center field fence for a two-run homer, and just like that the Yankees were in front and quiet reigned at Minute Maid Park. Green continued his good work by setting down the Astros in order in the 4th, then in the 5th, Kyle Tucker pinch-hit for Marisnick to lead off the inning, but struck out. Green had retired all six batters he had faced at that point, but Boone decided to replace him with Adam Ottavino, and it immediately cost him, as on his first pitch, Springer got hold of a hanging slider and drove it very, very deep to left field for a no-doubt homer that tied the score. Ottavino then struck out Brantley, but the third strike bounced away from C Gary Sanchez and Brantley reached base. He then went to second on a single by Altuve that deflected off SS Didi Gregorius' glove as the Astros were threatening to take the lead. Ottavino managed to strike out Bregman on a full count, then Tommy Kahnle came in to face Alvarez and struck him out to end the inning. It was then the Yankees' turn to come close to taking the lead in the top of the 6th against a tiring Verlander. LeMahieu and Gleyber Torres singled around an out by Judge, and after Edwin Encarnacion flew out for a second out, Brett Gardner hit a sharp ground ball to 2B Altuve; the ball deflected towards the middle of the infield and LeMahieu tried to score from second, but Correa made a great play, picking up the loose ball quickly and firing a strike to C Chirinos to gun him down at the plate. Kahnle then pitched a perfect inning in the bottom of the 6th, but there was one more highlight when 3B Gio Urshela deprived lead-off hitter Gurriel of a double by leaping to his full extension and just snagging a line drive that appeared headed for the left-field corner.

It had been a highly entertaining game through 6 innings, but it now settled into a battle of relief pitchers, as Will Harris replaced Verlander with two out and a runner on in the 7th. There would be no more scoring until extra innings, and not many good scoring chances either. Roberto Osuna came in to pitch in the middle of the 8th for Houston and Zack Britton took over for Kahnle in the bottom of the inning after Kahnle had set down seven straight batters. In the 9th, closer Aroldis Chapman came in to pitch and struck out the side around a walk to pinch-hitter Aledmys Diaz, who batted for Tucker. The 10th was another scoreless inning, with Joe Smith on the mound for Houston and veteran CC Sabathia replacing Chapman. He walked Altuve and Bregman after one out, forcing Boone to call on J.A. Happ, another starting pitcher during the regular season, but he struck out Alvarez and got Gurriel to fly out to prolong the game. In the 11th, Encarnacion drew a two-out walk, and Ryan Pressly came in to face Brett Gardner, who singled. With the go-ahead run on second, manager A.J. Hinch called on the fireballing Josh James to face Sanchez, and he struck him out. Then on the first pitch of the bottom of the 11th, Correa took one big swing and immediately knew he had won the game as he flipped his bat as the ball headed towards the right field seat and excitedly ran the bases before being mobbed by his teammates who awaited him at home plate. The series was tied as it headed to New York.

Game 3 @ New Yankee Stadium[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Astros 1 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 4 7 0
Yankees 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 5 1
WP: Gerrit Cole (1-0); LP: Luis Severino (0-1); SV: Roberto Osuna (1)
Home Runs: HOU - Jose Altuve (1), Josh Reddick (1); NY - Gleyber Torres (2)
  • Attendance: 48,998

The Astros were starting the hottest pitcher in baseball in Game 3 in Gerrit Cole, and while he did not have his best stuff in this game, he did what the great ones do, keeping the Yankees from cashing in their numerous baserunners, and getting better as he went deeper into the game. When he left after 7 innings, the Astros had a 4-0 lead and were well on their way to taking a 2 games to 1 lead in the series. His opponent on the mound, Luis Severino, had missed most of the season and was on a limited pitch count. This could have worked had he been dominant, but he struggled from the get-go, allowing a pair of runs in 4 1/3 innings, putting his team in a hole out of which they were never able to climb. Playing a hunch, Astros manager A.J. Hinch decided to return the struggling Josh Reddick to his starting spot in right field, after benching him in the first two games, and it paid off in spades, whereas Aaron Boone was pleased to get CF Aaron Hicks back, but his other move, putting Brett Gardner in the third spot, did not work at all as he was one of the main culprits of the Yankees' inability to get baserunners across the plate.

Both pitchers left the bases loaded in the 1st inning, but the difference was that Severino allowed a solo homer to Jose Altuve before loading the bases. He got out of the jam by getting Carlos Correa to pop up to second base, but not before expending a huge number of pitches. For the Yankees, D.J. LeMahieu and Aaron Judge started things off with back-to-back singles, but three pitches later, Cole was almost out of the jam as Gardner and Edwin Encarnacion both hit harmless fly balls. Cole then pitched around the red hot Gleyber Torres, walking him semi-intentionally to face Didi Gregorius, who grounded out to Altuve at second base on the next pitch. In the 2nd, Reddick hit a lead-off homer to deep right field to make the score 2-0. After two strikeouts, Altuve hit a soft grounder left of the mound, but a nonchalant Severino failed to pick it up, being charged with an error, and needed another slew of pitches to strike out Michael Brantley, bringing his pitch count to 60 already. Cole stranded a couple more runners in the 2nd as Judge struck out with Hicks and LeMahieu aboard. Severino managed to get things back under control starting in the 3rd, as he got through the next two innings quickly when it looked as if the bullpen would need to make another very long outing. He did give up a double to Martin Maldonado in the 4th, but it was a case of LF Gardner completely misjudging the ball and letting it fall untouched. After a 1-2-3 3rd, Cole again struggled with his control in the 4th, walking two batters with two outs, before getting LeMahieu to fly out to center. In that inning, home plate umpire Jeff Nelson was hit on the chin with a foul ball, and after the inning had to leave with a suspected concussion, with Kerwin Danley relieving him at home plate, causing a ten-minute delay.

Severino was running out of gas by then and after one out in the 5th allowed a single to Brantley before walking Alex Bregman. Boone replaced him with Chad Green who had another strong outing, retiring the next two batters to keep the score at 2-0. Cole once again got in trouble after two outs in the bottom of the inning as he allowed a double to Encarnacion and walked Torres, but Gregorius flew out to the wall in right to end another threat as Cole held his breath, convinced the ball was going to land beyond the short right field fence. The Yankees had had plenty of opportunities to get on the scoreboard against Cole, but had wasted them all, and after that, he would be unhittable. Tommy Kahnle pitched a perfect 6th inning for New York, but in the 7th Adam Ottavino had another wobbly outing. He walked George Springer, who had taken him deep in Game 2, then Springer took off for second base just as Altuve hit the ball in the gap between first and second to place runners on the corners. That was it for Ottavino, who gave way to Zack Britton. He got an important out when Brantley hit a sharp grounder to 1B LeMahieu, who managed to catch Springer between third base and home. He was eventually retired in a rundown, but not before the two baserunners had both advanced two bases. Britton had to issue an intentional walk to Bregman to load the bases, then facing Yuli Gurriel, he bounced a pitch in the dirt that got past C Gary Sanchez, but was fortunately stopped by umpire Danley. The runners could not move, but Britton then made the exact same pitch again, and this time it bounced all the way to the backstop and Altuve scored and the two other runners advanced 90 feet; Gurriel then hit a sacrifice fly to Gardner in left, and it was 4-0. Cole pitched another perfect inning and it was 4-0 after 7. Luis Cessa struck out the side for the Yankees in the top of the 8th, and in the bottom of the inning, Torres connected for a homer against Joe Smith to cut the lead to 4-1. However, Hinch then called upon his best reliever, Will Harris, who retired Gregorius and Sanchez to end the 8th. In the 9th, closer Roberto Osuna retired the Yankees in order to pick up the save.

Game 4 @ New Yankee Stadium[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Astros 0 0 3 0 0 3 0 1 1 8 8 1
Yankees 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 3 5 4
WP: Ryan Pressly (1-0); LP: Masahiro Tanaka (1-1)
Home Runs: HOU - George Springer (2), Carlos Correa (2); NY - Gary Sanchez (1)
  • Attendance: 49,067

Game 4 was pushed back 24 hours by rain in New York. This solved an immediate problem for both teams, as neither had named a starting pitcher yet; the postponement allowed both managers to send their Game 1 starters back to the mound - Masahiro Tanaka for New York and Zack Greinke for Houston, but it also raised the prospect of games on four consecutive days if the series were to reach its limit, something likely to put a heavy tax on pitchers, especially for the Yankees who had not been economical in their usage of relievers thus far. The game was played on a cool and windy night, but without precipitations. Both pitchers came out giving up a host of baserunners, but there was relatively little scoring until the 6th, when the Astros consolidated their early lead and pulled away from the Yankees, eventually ending up as 8-3 winners, and one win away from the World Series.

Tanaka escaped the 1st inning with just a walk to Michael Brantley, but for Greinke, it was a tougher slog. He walked the first batter, D.J. LeMahieu, then Aaron Judge hit a line drive to SS Carlos Correa, who dropped the ball, but recovered in time to relay to 2B Jose Altuve and force LeMahieu at second. Aaron Hicks, moved up to third in the order, followed with a single and after a second out, Edwin Encarnacion worked a second walk to load the bases. Next up was Brett Gardner and he also coaxed a walk out of Greinke to force in a run and give New York an early 1-0 lead. Greinke then struck out Gary Sanchez to end the inning, but it had taken him 28 pitches. After a scoreless 2nd inning, it was the Astros' turn to make Tanaka work hard in the 3rd. Things also started with a walk, to Robinson Chirinos, followed by a single by Josh Reddick. Next up was George Springer and he drove a pitch on a hard line drive to the left-center field seats for a three-run homer, giving Houston a 3-1 lead. Altuve then singled, followed by a single by Brantley on which Altuve advanced to third base. Tanaka was in the ropes, but found some daylight when Alex Bregman hit a ball back to him. Altuve was caught between third base and home and was retired after a rundown, but he managed to make the play last long enough for the two runners to advance to second and third; it was likely a deliberate choice for Altuve to draw a throw, as if he had stayed put, Tanaka could have started an easy double play. Next up was Yuli Gurriel, who had few hits to show in the series in spite of almost always hitting the ball hard, and he did so again, flying out to Judge in right field; the ball appeared deep enough to score Brantley, but he stayed put, and Yordan Alvarez then flew out as well, so Tanaka escaped with just the three runs when he was one pitch away from being chased out of the game.

The small 3-1 lead held longer than expected, until the 6th inning. Both pitchers settled down after their early struggles, but in the 5th, the Yankees managed to chase Greinke when LeMahieu singled and Judge walked with one out. Manager A.J. Hinch did not give him a chance to work his way out of trouble, immediately bringing in Ryan Pressly. He walked Hicks to load the bases but then struck out Gleyber Torres and Encarnacion to end the threat as the Yankees stranded more runners at a key juncture, a running theme in the past two games. In the 6th, Houston made the Yankees pay for their lack of timely hitting as they doubled their tally of runs. It all started when Bregman reached on a fielding error by 1B LeMahieu, prompting Aaron Boone to bring in Chad Green, who had seemingly been warming up in the bullpen since the 3rd inning. After one out, Alvarez singled to place runners on the corners and Correa followed with a long ball to just about the same spot Springer had reached in the 3rd, with the exact same result: a three-run homer. It was now 6-1, Astros. Josh James replaced Pressly in the bottom of the inning and let the Yankees get back in the game, to some extent, when the first two batters he faced resulted in a walk to Gardner and a homer by Sanchez, who had been struggling mightily with the bat until that point. LeMahieu also hit a double with two outs but did not go further, and it was 6-3 after six innings. The Yankees were unable to add any runs after that, however, as Will Harris, Joe Smith and Roberto Osuna shut them down over the last three innings, allowing just one walk in that span. Meanwhile, Houston added a couple of insurance runs, both of them unearned, in the 8th and 9th innings, as LeMahieu and Torres both committed errors in the 8th, and Torres added another one in the 9th. The 8th likely marked CC Sabathia's final on-field appearance, as he had to leave after feeling something give out in his shoulder and was probably going to be replaced on the team's roster as a result, making him unavailable for the remainder of the postseason. However, it was the two three-run homers by Springer and Correa that had made the difference and given the Astros a three games to one lead.

Game 5 @ New Yankee Stadium[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Astros 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 5 0
Yankees 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 x 4 5 0
WP: James Paxton (1-0); LP: Justin Verlander (1-0); SV: Aroldis Chapman (1)
Home Runs: NY - D.J. LeMahieu (1), Aaron Hicks (1)
  • Attendance: 48,483

Game 5 was decided in the 1st inning, and with the game's starting time being brought forward by one hour to accommodate a possible overnight move to Houston were the series not to end that night, fans not paying attention could have tuned in after all the action had occurred. On the mound, Justin Verlander was facing James Paxton, and Giancarlo Stanton was back in the line-up for the Yankees, taking the place of Edwin Encarnacion at DH. For the Astros, George Springer led off with a single on a grounder to second that was eminently playable, then took second on a passed ball. He moved to third on a ground out by Jose Altuve and then opened the score when Paxton threw a wild pitch after a walk to Michael Brantley. But the Astros could not get another hit that could have scored Brantley, so it was 1-0 when the Yankees came to the plate.

D.J. LeMahieu came out hacking against Verlander, fouling his first pitch and then driving his second one to right center field for a homer, tying the game. Next up was Aaron Judge who singled to left and Gleyber Torres who dropped a ball along the left field line for a double. Verlander managed to strike out Stanton, but after going up 0-2 against Aaron Hicks, was unable to put him away, and on a full count hung a slider which Hicks drove along the right field line. It was trouble if fair, and it slammed against the foul pole for a three-run homer. It was now 4-1, and everyone probably thought we were heading for a high-scoring game, but there was almost no action after that point. Verlander found his groove and not only retired the next two batters, but only gave up one more baserunner until the end of the 7th, a two-out bloop single by Didi Gregorius in the 4th. But the damage had been done.

For his part, Paxton was not as dominating as Verlander after the 1st, but he still kept the Astros from closing the gap. It was the Astros' turn to strand a lot of baserunners: two in the 2nd, one in the 3rd, one in the 4th, one in the 5th and one in the 6th. There was a lot of traffic on the bases, but not really any hard-hit balls, as this was the result of just singles and walks. When he left after 6 innings, he had given the Yankees exactly what they needed: a quality start that kept them alive and also spared the bullpen from too much stress. Tommy Kahnle came out for the 7th, and he gave up a single and a walk after one out, but Zack Britton then replaced him and got Brantley to ground into a force out to 1B LeMahieu, the Yankees coming just half a step from pulling off an inning-ending double play. Not to be deterred, Britton then got Alex Bregman to line out to Hicks in center to end the inning. He came back for the 8th and pitched a perfect inning. In the bottom of the 8th, Brad Peacock also pitched a perfect inning for the Astros, then Aroldis Chapman came out to close out the game in the 9th. He struck out Robinson Chirinos, got pinch-hitter Aledmys Diaz to fly out to left and Springer to ground out to third for the final out. The two teams would need to fly to Houston to play Game 6 the next day.

Game 6 @ Minute Maid Park[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Yankees 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 2 4 10 0
Astros' 3 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 2 6 6 0
WP: Roberto Osuna (1-0); LP: Aroldis Chapman (0-1)
Home Runs: HOU - Yuli Gurriel (1), Jose Altuve (2); NY - Gio Urshela (2), D.J. LeMahieu (2)
  • Attendance: 43,357

The Astros punched their ticket to the World Series with a walk-off win in Game 6, but they had to work had to do so. The chickens came home to roost from the postponement of Game 4, as the two teams - and the entire support crew - had to travel overnight from New York to get to Houston in time for that evening's game, played on short rest. The pitching rotation had also been upset, and both teams decided to resort to an opener, the first time in postseason history that the tactic was used on both sides. New York preferred to go with short reliever Chad Green, who had performed the role a number of times during the regular season, while the Astros went with Brad Peacock, who had pitched an inning in Game 5; they were selected instead of veteran J.A. Happ or rookie Jose Urquidy, who would have been the choices had the game been played only a couple of years earlier, before the concept of bullpen games had gained legitimacy. It was clear that there would be a parade of pitchers for both teams, however, with only the potential Game 7 starters unavailable.

Peacock started things off as well as could have been desired for Houston, as he retired the Yankees in order in the 1st on just 7 pitches. Things did not go as well for Green. He struck out the first batter he faced, George Springer, but Jose Altuve followed with a double. Michael Brantley flew out but Alex Bregman drew a walk to put a second runner on base. Yuli Gurriel was up next; he had not had many hits in the series in spite of hitting the ball hard, but this time, he made sure no defensive player could get to his drive as he parked it in the stands in left field for a three-run homer. The Astros had pulled on the Yankees the same trick that had been pulled on them the night before. The Yankees did not lie down, however, as after Peacock retired the first two batters in the 2nd, Didi Gregorius hit a double and Gary Sanchez singled him in. Gio Urshela then drew a walk, marking the end of Peacock's night, and he was replaced by young hard-thrower Josh James. He got Brett Gardner to end the inning on a called third strike, although he benefited from a couple of generous calls from home plate umpire Marvin Hudson, who had a very inconsistent night calling balls and strikes, drawing recriminations from both teams. In any case, the Yankees were back in the game, trailing by just two runs, and they got another boost when the veteran Happ pitched two solid innings in relief of Green, allowing just a walk.

Meanwhile, the Yankees were clawing away at the Astros' pitching. James had a tough go of it in the 3rd, walking Aaron Judge with one out, then allowing a single to Gleyber Torres. After a fly out by Aaron Hicks, Edwin Encarnacion drew another walk to load the bases and A.J. Hinch called on one of his top relievers in Ryan Pressly to face Gregorius in a critical situation. But on the first pitch, Gregorius hit a tapper back to Pressly, who tagged him out himself, but in the process twisted his knee. He had to leave the game, so in the top of the 4th, the Astros were already using their fourth pitcher in Urquidy. The youngster from Mexico gave up a one-out homer to Urshela, and suddenly the Yankees were within one run, trailing 3-2. Gardner, the next batter, singled, but Urquidy managed to retire the next two men to keep the lead. Luis Cessa came on to pitch for New York and got a 1-2-3 inning as Houston was now hitless since Gurriel's 1st-inning homer. Urquidy pitched a perfect inning in the 5th and Cessa was surprised when C Martin Maldonado laid down a beautiful bunt to lead off the bottom of the 5th, beating it out by a step, a result confirmed by a video review. However, one batter later, he was erased on a double play grounder by Springer. The Yankees stranded a couple more runners against Urquidy in the top of the 6th, as, after Josh Reddick made a beautiful diving catch in right field to rob Gardner of a hit for the second out, Will Harris was summoned from the bullpen with two outs and got D.J. LeMahieu to ground out to short. Tommy Kahnle then succeeded Cessa but put himself in immediate trouble by walking Altuve and allowing a single to Brantley that placed runners on the corners. The Yankees decided to play for the double play, and Bregman obliged by hitting a slow bouncer to Gregorius, but the shortstop thought for a moment about trying to retire Altuve at home, losing enough time to allow Bregman to beat out the throw from 2B Torres at first base. Altuve scored to increase the lead to 4-2, then moved to second on a ground out, and to third when C Sanchez completely missed on a third strike to Carlos Correa, the passed ball allowing the inning to continue. Correa then stole second base, but the stone cold Yordan Alvarez struck out to end what could have been the inning to break the Yankees' backs.

Trailing 4-2 in the top of the 7th, the Yankees still had a shot, albeit a long one. They wasted a chance in that inning when, with Judge on first base following a lead-off single, LF Brantley made a great play, snagging a line drive off the bat of Hicks with a diving catch and throwing to first before Judge could return to his base. The much-maligned Adam Ottavino replaced Kahnle in the bottom of the 7th, but he pitched as he had in the regular season and not like the last couple of weeks, getting the Astros in order. In the 8th, Joe Smith replaced Harris and got three more outs, helped by an inning-ending double play grounder hit into by Sanchez. Zack Britton then had some trouble in the bottom of the inning, loading the bases with two walks and a single. Hinch sent in Aledmys Diaz to pinch-hit for the struggling Alvarez, but he grounded into a force out to end the inning. So the score was still 4-2 in the top of the 9th as closer Roberto Osuna came out. Urshela greeted him with a single, and after a strikeout by Gardner, LeMahieu, the Yankees' best player all season, hit a ball into the right field seats to tie the game. It was a brand new game. Osuna retired the next two batters, and Aroldis Chapman came out for the bottom of the 9th, as both teams were running out of pitchers they actually wanted to use in a critical situation. Chapman got the first two outs on a strike out and a pop-up, but Springer drew a walk. Up next was Jose Altuve. The former AL MVP added to his reputation as one of the greatest clutch performers of his generation by hitting a homer to centerfield on a 2-1 count. The walk-off drive sent the Astros to their second World Series in three years, where they would face the Washington Nationals and earned Altuve the ALCS MVP Award. For the Yankees, it sealed the fact that this would be the first decade since the 1910s without a single appearance in the Fall Classic.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Associated Press: "Savages in the box go bust with slew of strikeouts", USA Today, October 20, 2019. [1]
  • Mandy Bell: "Clinching heroics net Altuve ALCS MVP honors", mlb.com, October 20, 2019. [2]
  • Pete Caldera: "Emotional scene as Yankees react to the end of their season", USA Today, October 20, 2019. [3]
  • Bryan Hoch: "Yanks' run ends with heartbreaking walk-off loss: After DJ hits tying HR in 9th, Chapman allows winning blast to Altuve", mlb.com, October 20, 2019. [4]
  • Richard Justice: "Yanks-Astros ALCS rematch 'going to be a blast'", mlb.com, October 11, 2019. [5]
  • Richard Justice: "7 bold predictions for Yankees-Astros ALCS", mlb.com, October 12, 2019. [6]
  • Brian McTaggart: "Altuve's walk-off homer sends Astros to Series", mlb.com, October 20, 2019. [7]
  • Bob Nightengale: "'It's been brewing': Two years after epic seven-game ALCS, Astros and Yankees set for rematch", USA Today, October 11, 2019. [8]
  • Bob Nightengale: "'Everything that's right about the Astros': Great as ever, Jose Altuve wins AL pennant for Houston", USA Today, October 20, 2019. [9]
  • Andrew Simon: "Who has edge? NYY-HOU position by position", mlb.com, October 12, 2019. [10]

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