Houston in control: Bregman’s homer helps Astros slide by Yankees 3-2 in Game 2 to take 2-0 lead in ALCS

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Maria Lysaker/UPI/Shutterstock (13463295r) Houston Astros Jeremy Pena celebrates after scoring on a base hit by Alex Bregman in the eighth inning to give the Astros a 4-2 lead over the Seattle Mariners in game two of their American League Division Series at Minute Maid Park in Houston on Thursday, October 13, 2022. Alds Astros Mariners, Houston, Texas, United States – 13 Oct 2022

Houston in control: Bregman’s homer helps Astros slide by Yankees 3-2 in Game 2 to take 2-0 lead in ALCS

While they may not have been lopsided, dominant wins, the Astros have started the 2022 postseason in undefeated fashion so far, improving to 5-0 in the playoffs with a 3-2 victory over the Yankees in Game 2 of the ALCS. Houston leads the series 2-0 and is two wins away from advancing to the World Series.

Bregman’s homer and Valdez’s costly error result in teams trading runs early

After a six up, six down first inning for the starting pitchers, Framber Valdez would allow the first baserunner of the game in the top of the second. A Josh Donaldson two-out double gave New York a runner in scoring position, but Valdez would get a strikeout to end the inning. Houston created their own threat in the bottom half, getting a one-out walk by Kyle Tucker, who moved to second on a Yuli Gurriel single. Both would be stranded there as things went to the third. 

After a 1-2-3 top of the inning, Houston put together another threat in the bottom of the frame, with Martin Maldonado getting hit by a pitch to lead things off. Jeremy Peña kept his impressive postseason going with a one-out single, putting two men on for Alex Bregman with two outs. Bregman did not miss a Luis Severino fastball left in the zone, launching a 360-foot blast to give Houston a 3-0 lead. 

New York fought back in the top of the fourth against Valdez, with Aaron Judge starting the inning with a single, then moving to third on a misplay by Valdez on the mound. He fumbled a ground ball and threw it too far from Yuli Gurriel at first, resulting in runners on second and third and no outs. Judge scored on an RBI groundout by Anthony Rizzo, and then New York made it a one-run game on an RBI single by Gleyber Torres before Valdez would finish the frame.

Valdez finishes strong, Houston’s bullpen holds on as Astros take 2-0 series lead

After those two runs, Valdez rebounded terrifically, giving up just one more hit the rest of his outing, a two-out single in the top of the fifth, which he would erase. He got seven of his last eleven outs via strikeout, including striking out the side to end his night in the top of the seventh. His final line in an outstanding performance: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R (Both unearned due to the errors), 0 BB, 9 K, 101 P. 

With six outs left to cover, Houston’s bullpen took over in the top of the eighth with the score still 3-2, with Bryan Abreu taking over for Valdez. Abreu issued a one-out walk but would survive the top of New York’s order to maintain the lead. After recording the save the night prior in Game 1, Ryan Pressly came in for the top of the ninth to try and make it two in a row. 

Despite an idiotic fan delaying the start of the top of the ninth by running onto the field, Pressly eventually got his chance to pitch and, despite a two-out walk, would get a scoreless inning to end the game. Houston remains undefeated in the playoffs with the win and takes a commanding 2-0 series lead.

News and notes

Game 3 on deck: Both teams will get their only off day of this series on Friday, then resume play at Yankee Stadium at 4:07 p.m. Central on Saturday for ALCS Game 3. Gerrit Cole (13-8, 3.50 ERA in the regular season, 2-0, 2.03 ERA in the postseason) is primed to make the start for New York, while Houston’s starter is TBD, though they will likely give the ball to Lance McCullers Jr. 

Altuve still searching: In an unprecedented slump by his standards, Jose Altuve dropped to 0-for-23 in the postseason with another hitless night in ALCS Game 2. 

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