Sat, Oct 19, 2019 - Page 16 News List

Astros inch toward World Series

SWAN SONG?C.C. Sabathia retired two batters of four he faced before departing in the eighth in what could have been the last pitches of his major league career

AFP, NEW YORK

The Houston Astros’ George Springer, right, hits a three-run homer in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees in New York on Thursday.

Photo: AP

George Springer and Carlos Correa on Thursday hit three-run homers as the Houston Astros beat the New York Yankees 8-3 to move one win away from a World Series berth.

The victory in the weather-delayed Game 4 of the American League Championship Series gave Houston a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven-set. The winners of the series are to take on the Washington Nationals in the Fall Classic.

Springer and Correa, who provided a pair of solo shots in Houston’s Game 2 win, both belted three-run shots on Thursday.

Springer’s blast was his 13th career post-season homer, matching Jose Altuve’s club record.

The Yankees, who won 103 regular-season games, challenged Astros starting pitcher Zack Greinke in a 28-pitch first inning.

Four fielding errors — the most ever for the Yankees in a home post-season game — did not help New York’s cause.

“We played poorly tonight, there’s no other way to explain it,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “And we need to flush this immediately because — we talked about it as a team — we need to get over this in a hurry and come put our best foot forward [in Game 5].”

New York starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka allowed four runs, three earned, on four hits with two walks in five-plus innings, striking out just one.

Tanaka gave up Springer’s three-run homer in the third that staked the Astros to a 3-1 lead.

Reliever Chad Green then gave up a three-run shot to Correa in the sixth inning.

“We had two really big swings that left the yard with Carlos and George,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “But there’s a lot of good at-bats that led them to being three-run homers.”

“Three-run homers aren’t by accident. We had to draw a walk here, [Josh] Reddick had the single before George’s homer,” he added.

The Yankees produced two runs in the bottom of the sixth, but Houston added a run in an eighth inning that saw D.J. LeMahieu and Torres both commit fielding errors.

The dismal eighth for the Yankees included what could have been the last pitches thrown by C.C. Sabathia in his major league career.

Sabathia pitched to four batters, retiring two before departing injured to an ovation with his team trailing 7-3.

“We’ve got to see more about it, but not good with the shoulder,” Boone said.

Sabathia, who arrived in New York in 2009 and won a World Series title in his first season with the Yankees, was hindered by a troublesome right knee in the regular season, landing on the injured list several times. After returning last month, he was sidelined by a sore left shoulder.

The 39-year-old, who said in February that he would retire at the end of this season after 19 years in the major leagues, was applauded by both Yankees fans and Astros players as he left the field.

“I hate to see that for him, I hate to see that for the sport and we hope he’s OK,” Hinch said. “Our entire dugout was on the top step paying our respects to him trying to gut it out.”

“You can see the impact he’s had on numerous players on our team and me, and everybody else,” Hinch added.

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