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Astros Streak to 2-0 Lead, Padres and Phillies at 1-1

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The Padres Brandon Drury | Image by Getty Images

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American League Championship Series Game 2: Astros 3, Yankees 2 (Astros lead 2-0.)

On Thursday night in Minute Maid Park, the Astros improved to 5-0 this postseason as they dropped the Yankees 3-2 to take a 2-0 lead in the American League Championship Series (ALCS).

After sweeping Seattle in their first postseason series, Houston’s best-of-seven matchup against New York could not have started off better as the teams battle for the AL World Series slot.

A night after the Astros’ 39-year-old righty Justin Verlander punched out 11 batters in a 4-2 victory in Game 1, lefty Framber Valdez manned the hill for Houston. The 28-year-old was effective on Thursday, striking out nine Yankees over seven innings with no earned runs (one unearned following an error on the pitcher) or walks allowed in his Game 2 start in the ALCS.

“I thought he got into a really good rhythm there in kind of the middle innings and really started landing his curveball exactly how he wanted to, to go with his sinker,” Yankees Skipper Aaron Boone told MLB.com. “We just weren’t able to mount enough.”

Alex Bregman hit his second homer of the postseason in the third, a 3-run jack that was enough to hold the Yankees at bay. The homer came off Yankee starter Luis Severino, who struck out six over 5.1 innings of work.

Bregman’s bat helped carry the Astros offense as three-time AL batting champ Jose Altuve finds himself amidst a 23-game hitless streak in the postseason.

After losing to the Astros in the 2017 and 2019 ALCS, the Yankees return to the Bronx with a 2-0 deficit. However, Gerrit Cole will take the mound in Game 3 on Saturday, October 22. The Astros penciled in Cristian Javier as their game-three starter, with the game’s first pitch scheduled at 5:07 EDT

National League Championship Series Game 3: Padres at Phillies (series tied 1-1)

The Padres and Phillies find themselves knotted in a 1-1 tie as they head to the city of brotherly love for Game 3 of the National League Championship Series (NLCS).

The pitching matchup for Friday, October 21, features San Diego righty Joe Musgrove against the Phillie’s Ranger Suárez, a southpaw. Both starting pitchers posted identical 10-7 records in the regular season.

Musgrove enters the contest with a record of 1-0 in the postseason and an ERA of 1.38 while also averaging one strikeout per inning in 13 innings.

After two weeks out with back spasms, Suárez returned to the rotation on July 16 and had a 2.33 ERA in his next 13 starts through September. On October 4, Suárez’s regular-season finale in Houston was his worst start. In three innings, he allowed six runs on seven hits and three home runs, matching his previous 13 starts.

“All I want to do is be better than my last time out and really help this team win,” Suárez told MLB.com.

In Game 1 of the National League Division Series, he allowed one run on five walks in 3 .1 innings.

Facing the possibility of going to Philadelphia down 0-2 in the NLCS, the Padres produced a rally capped by Brandon Drury’s two-run single during a five-run outburst in the fifth inning on their way to an 8-5 victory on Wednesday.

After getting just one hit in Tuesday’s 2-0 loss, the Padres were unfazed when they fell behind 4-0 in the second inning. In the fifth inning, Padres catcher Austin Nola ignited the team with an RBI single off his younger brother, Phillies starter Aaron Nola. The Phillies had taken 4-0 lead three innings earlier thanks to a rally that included bloop hits and sloppy Padre’s defense.

The Pads and Phills get underway at 7:37 EDT Friday.

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