Mandatory Credit: Photo by JUSTIN LANE/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (13486569k) Houston Astros batter Chas McCormick (R) celebrates with teammate Christian Vazquez after hitting a two-run home run against the New York Yankees in the top of the second inning of the third game of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York, New York, USA, 22 October 2022. MLB Houston Astros at New York Yankees, USA – 22 Oct 2022
With both games in Houston to start the series going the Astros’ way to jump out to a 2-0 lead in the ALCS, it forced the Yankees into a near must-win situation in Game 3 at home.
New York would not get their much-needed win, though, as instead, the Astros would continue to dominate them from the mound en route to a 5-0 shutout win to put the Yankees on the brink of elimination.
New York’s costly error gives Houston a leg up early
After a scoreless first inning on both sides, things picked up in the top of the second. A two-out error by Harrison Bader on a routine fly ball, thanks to a miscommunication with Aaron Judge, kept the inning alive, proving consequential. It brought Chas McCormick to the plate to face Gerrit Cole, and he would sneak a two-run homer over the short porch in right field, giving Houston a 2-0 lead.
Meanwhile, Cristian Javier gave the Astros precisely what they needed, keeping the Yankees’ lineup in check. He allowed a leadoff walk in the bottom of the second but erased that while holding New York without a hit until one out in the bottom of the fourth when he gave up a double to Giancarlo Stanton. Javier would strand him to maintain the two-run advantage.
Altuve breaks through, Astros chase Cole out as lead grows
In the top of the fifth, Jose Altuve notched his long-awaited first hit of the playoffs, getting a one-out double off Cole to get into scoring position, though he would get left right there. It looked as though Javier was beginning to fade in the bottom of the fifth, issuing a leadoff walk and falling behind the next batter, but a flyout, caught stealing, and strike out would get him right back on track.
Houston chased Cole out of the game in the top of the sixth, working the bases loaded with no outs on a double, walk, and a single. That brought Trey Mancini to the plate, and he’d record his first career postseason RBI with a sac fly, extending the lead to 3-0. Christian Vázquez tacked on two more in the next at-bat, lining a two-RBI single to push the advantage to five runs.
Houston takes Game 3 and a 3-0 series lead
After five scoreless frames, Javier would come back out for the bottom of the sixth, getting an out before a walk would end his night, with Dusty Baker moving on to his rested bullpen. Javier’s final line in an impressive Game 3: 5.1 IP, 0 R, 3 BB, 5 K, 84 P.
Hector Neris was the first reliever of the night, coming in to face Aaron Judge with a runner on base. Neris would strikeout Judge and get a groundout to end the inning. Ryne Stanek took over in the seventh, striking out the side to keep the Houston up five.
Hunter Brown came out in the bottom of the eighth, still 5-0, and would issue back-to-back walks to start the inning. He’d get two outs, and then Dusty Baker moved to Rafael Montero to get the third out.
After a scoreless top of the ninth, Bryan Abreu entered to try and close things out. He would notch a scoreless bottom half of the inning to get the Astros to 3-0 in the series and put them one victory away from advancing to the Fall Classic and the Yankees one loss away from ending their season.
News and notes
Sunday Funday: ALCS Game 4 will start at 6:07 PM Central on Sunday from Yankee Stadium. Lance McCullers Jr. (4-2, 2.27 ERA) will take the mound for Houston, opposite Nestor Cortes (12-4, 2.44 ERA) for New York.
Yankees looking for a miracle: Only one team in MLB history has ever turned around a 0-3 start to win the final four games of a best-of-seven: the 2004 Red Sox in the ALCS. The Yankees will need to do the same to avoid watching the Astros advance to the World Series.