Astros, Keuchel Shut Out Yankees 3-0, Advance to ALDS Against Royals
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It has been 10 years since the Astros made it to the playoffs, that year making it all the way to the World Series before being swept by the White Sox. In 2015, their postseason will last a little longer after the 'Stros went into the Bronx and beat the Yankees 3-0 in the single-elimination wild card game.
The Yanks had been stumbling into the playoffs going 15-19 since September 1, including losing six of their last seven. In fact, had the Astros won on Sunday when the Yankees were beaten by the Orioles, the wild card game would have been at Minute Maid Park.
No matter as staff ace Dallas Keuchel torched New York yet again. In three appearances versus the Yankees this season, Keuchel did not allow a run in 22 innings of work. He was masterful in dissecting one of the best offensive lineups in baseball this season striking out seven and only allowing a total of only 4 baserunners. It was his first outing ever pitching on three days rest and he looked comfortable from the get go. The bullpen, which has been a bit of a disaster over the last two months, was equally good. Will Harris, Tony Sipp and closer Luke Gregerson went three scoreless innings with only one walk and a pair of strikeouts.
Manager A.J. Hinch was quoted after the game saying, "You saw a lot of what’s right about Astros baseball." This season, the team has hit a lot of home runs, stolen a lot of bases and come up big defensively. The same was true on Tuesday night. Solo homers in the second from Colby Rasmus and fourth from Carlos Gomez got them tarted early. In the seventh, Chris Carter walked and was replaced by Jonathan Villar, who stole second and scored on a bloop single by Jose Altuve.
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There were also a couple of great plays in the field including a back-handed toss by Carlos Correa and a long running catch by George Springer on a deep fly ball from Alex Rodriguez that would have likely tied the game in the middle innings.
Now, the Astros head to Kansas City to face a deep and talented Royals team that should pose quite a challenge. Game one is Thursday with the 'Stros putting Collin McHugh on the mound. The Astros beat the Royals in the season series 4-2.
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