Astros blank Yankees to earn World Series showdown with Dodgers
The Houston Astros are heading to the MLB World Series for just the second time after defeating the New York Yankees in the seventh and deciding game of their American League Championship Series.
Houston advanced to meet the Los Angeles Dodgers with Saturday's 4-0 victory over the Yankees Minute Maid Park on Saturday, sealing a 4-3 series triumph.
The Astros won the National League pennant in 2005, losing to the Chicago White Sox in the World Series, but will go back this year as the American League champs.
Saturday's game was scoreless until the bottom of the fourth when Evan Gattis blasted a solo shot to left to give the Astros a 1-0 lead.
It was the first of two solo homers, the second coming courtesy of Jose Altuve in the fifth.
Altuve's homer triggered a three-run inning as the Astros bats picked up where they left off in the eighth inning of Friday's game-six victory.
ASTROS HITTERS HAVE FOUND THEIR CONFIDENCE
Houston led baseball in scoring during the regular season and the Astros are finally hitting like it. They will head to Los Angeles as a confident group and will have to bottle what they have shown over the last 10 innings in Houston and take it with them to Dodger Stadium.
MORTON MARVELLOUS FOR ASTROS
Charlie Morton was roughed up by the Yankees in the game-three loss at Yankee Stadium. Many baseball fans went into Saturday's game sceptical of Houston's decision to give a start to a guy with a 10.13 ERA this postseason. But the 33-year-old right-hander was dialled in, striking out five Yankees over five innings as he allowed just two hits and left with a 4-0 lead.
The Astros will need as much quality pitching as they can find going against a Dodgers staff that has Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill, Yu Darvish and Alex Wood. The Astros have Justin Verlander --who has yet to lose in nine starts in Houston --Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers Jr. -- who many thought would start Saturday -- but Morton was efficient and threw just 54 pitches against the Yankees.
YANKEES AREN'T GOING ANYWHERE
The Yankees, with young players like Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge and Greg Bird, have a foundation on which to build a long-term playoff contender. They are also a resilient group, coming back from two games down to oust the red-hot Cleveland Indians in the AL Division Series before winning three straight at Yankee Stadium to push the Astros to a game seven.
There were plenty of lessons to be learned this season by the Yankees, who are not going anywhere anytime soon.
ALTUVE GOES DEEP
The Astros star smashed a shot into the stands to spark joyous scenes in Houston.
ASTROS AT DODGERS
The Dodgers should be well-rested as they prepare to host a World Series game for the first time since 1988. Kershaw will get the nod for the Dodgers while the Astros will go with either Verlander, who pitched Friday, or Keuchel.