Maybe it was ill-advised to doubt the Astros at any point coming into the playoffs. Even after they limped into the postseason with a punchless offseason and an untested pitching staff in which Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole were nowhere to be found, Houston clearly isn’t ready to take Octobers
Maybe it was ill-advised to doubt the Astros at any point coming into the playoffs. Even after they limped into the postseason with a punchless offseason and an untested pitching staff in which Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole were nowhere to be found, Houston clearly isn’t ready to take Octobers off.
George Springer — who else? — clubbed a pair of home runs and lefty Framber Valdez held the A’s to two runs in seven innings in his first career playoff start to send the Astros to a 5-2 win and a 2-0 series lead over the A’s in the best-of-five American League Division Series on Tuesday afternoon at Dodger Stadium.
The Astros, winners of seven consecutive road playoff games, are one win away from advancing to the AL Championship Series for the fourth consecutive season.
|Gm 1||Oct. 5||HOU 10, OAK 5||Watch|
|Gm 2||Oct. 6||HOU 5, OAK 2||Watch|
|Gm 3||Oct. 7||3:30 p.m.||OAK @ HOU||TBS|
|*Gm 4||Oct. 8||3:30 p.m.||OAK @ HOU||TBS|
|*Gm 5||Oct. 9||3:30 p.m.||HOU @ OAK||TBS|
In the history of best-of-five postseason series, teams taking a 2-0 lead have gone on to win the series 73 of 83 times (88 percent). The most recent team to rally from a 2-0 deficit was the Yankees against the Indians in 2017. Of the 73 teams to advance after winning the first two games, 49 finished off a sweep in Game 3.
Valdez, who threw five innings in relief during Game 1 of the AL Wild Card Series against the Twins, gave up solo homers to Khris Davis in the second and Chad Pinder in the fourth before retiring the final 10 batters he faced, including seven on ground balls. By pitching deep, he allowed the Astros to only use two relievers, keeping their bullpen in good shape for Game 3.
Springer added to his postseason legend with a two-run homer in the third inning and a solo shot in the fifth, going back-to-back with catcher Martín Maldonado off two different pitchers for a 5-2 lead. Springer’s 17 career playoff homers are the most in club history and tie Nelson Cruz, Jim Thome and David Ortiz for seventh all-time in postseason history.