Are they cheating, or are they for real? That’s the question on everyone’s mind when it comes to the Houston Astros. What is going on here? No, it can’t be something in the water, there are no more trash cans, and yet they keep on winning. Let’s try to make sense of what happened in the American League Division Series between the Houston Astros and the Oakland A’s.
The Astros came into Dodger Stadium Monday and systematically dismantled the Oakland A’s in Game 1 of the ALDS, 10-5.
DH Khris Davis hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the second inning to get the ball rolling and C Sean Murphy added another solo blast to make it 3-0 Oakland.
The Astros came roaring back with a pair of home runs by INF Alex Bregman and INF Carlos Correa to tie the game 3-3 in the top of the fourth inning.
Another home run in the bottom of the fourth and a sac-fly in the fifth made it 5-3 Oakland. After the fifth inning, Oakland’s offense fell flat and it became more of a one sided affair. The Astros knew they had them.
Houston added four runs in the sixth, a run in the seventh and a pair in the eighth to put them up comfortably and get secure the win.
There was a lot of online chatter saying if the A’s were to beat the Astros, it would have to be done with their stellar bullpen. Losing by double digits is not what they had in mind.
MVP Game 1: SS Carlos Correa (3-5, 2 HR, 2 R, 4 RBIs)
The Astros capitalized on six hits and overshadowed the Oakland A’s bullpen, leading them to a 5-2 victory in Game 2.
The sight was all too familiar for Oakland. DH Khris Davis hit a solo shot in the bottom of the second to get things going. But the Astros came right back in the top of the third with a two-run blast of their own courtesy of CF George Springer to take the lead. A fielders choice in the fourth consequently made it 3-1 Astros.
The A’s just didn’t have it. Period! They tried to get something going with a solo home run from 3B Chad Pinder in the fifth, but again, their offense fell flat.
Maldonado and Springer added a pair of homers in the fifth, padding the lead and sealing an Astros’ win. The A’s have to figure it out if they want to keep their hopes alive this season.
MVP Game 2: CF George Springer (2-4, 2 HR, 2 R, 3 RBIs)
INF Chad Pinder tied the score with a three run homer in the seventh inning, Sean Murphy hit a go-ahead sac-fly in the eighth and the A’s rallied late in Game 3 over the Astros to win 9-7, pulling the divisional series to within one game.
Houston led 7-4 when SS Marcus Semien and INF Tommy La Stella had back-to-back singles to start off the seventh inning. The next at-bat, Pinder hit a shot off of a Josh James slider to tie the game for the A’s.
OF Ramon Laureano could feel his teammates energy dragging to a halt in the dugout. Down three runs late in Game 3, time was running out to save their season.
In attempt to get something going, the A’s centerfielder was heard throughout Dodger Stadium trying to motivate the bench. It worked! Laureano helped the rally with a double in the sixth and a critical single in the eighth. It was about time!
Semien, La Stella, OF Mark Canha and 1B Matt Olson also homered for the A’s.
It was a much needed win for Oakland. The A’s will start RHP Frankie Montas in Game 4 and the Astros will look to SP Zack Greinke.
Game 3 MVP: 3B Chad Pinder (3-4, HR, R, 4 RBIs)
The Astros did it again!
The Astros dominated in Game 4 with an 11-6 victory, securing the series win over the A’s at Dodger Stadium.
Similar to the first three game, the first inning kicked off with an Oakland home run — a three-run shot from Laureano to take a 3-0 lead in the top of the second inning.
Houston had enough.
The bleeding started when RHP Frankie Montas gave up a two-run homer to OF/DH Michael Brantley in bottom of the fourth, capped by a three-run blast by Correa to make it 5-3.
CF Ramon Laureano tried to keep his club alive with a solo home run in the fifth, but an all too familiar pattern came back to haunt the A’s — the Houston bullpen.
The Astros went in for the kill, scoring two runs in the fifth, sixth and in the seventh to give them a seven-run lead.
Montas really blew it here for Oakland. He gave up seven hits and five earned runs in just under four innings, leaving the A’s to rely on a bullpen that already showed wear in earlier games.
This has to be a huge disappointment for Oakland. The A’s bullpen, who had been strong and reliable all season, could not stop the Astros bats — it was a blood bath.
It seems that with all of the negative press and haters, the Astros are still a contenders to win it all.
Game 4 MVP: SS Carlos Correa (3-4, HR, R, 5 RBIs)
Series MVP: SS Carlos Correa (7-14, 3 HR, 3 R, 11 RBIs)
Houston will face the winner of the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays in the American League Championship Series starting Sunday at Petco Park in San Diego.
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