The Astros won the last two games of the best-of-seven American League Championship Series. They will open the World Series against the Dodgers in Los Angeles on Tuesday.
HOUSTON – Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers Jr. combined on a three-hitter, Jose Altuve and Evan Gattis homered and the Houston Astros reached the World Series for the second time, blanking the New York Yankees 4-0 Saturday night in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series.
A mere four years removed from their third straight 100-loss season in 2013, the Astros shut down the Yankees on consecutive nights after dropping three in a row in the Bronx.
Next for the Astros: Game 1 of the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night. Los Angeles opened as a narrow favorite, but Houston aces Dallas Keuchel and ALCS most valuable player Justin Verlander will have plenty of rest before the matchup begins at Dodger Stadium.
The only previous time the Astros made it this far, they were a National League team when they were swept by the Chicago White Sox in the 2005 World Series.
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Manager A.J. Hinch’s team has a chance to win that elusive first title, while trying to boost a region still recovering from Hurricane Harvey. “This city, they deserve this,” McCullers said of the team’s success.
Clutch defensive plays by third baseman Alex Bregman and center fielder George Springer helped Houston improve to 6-0 at Minute Maid Park in these playoffs.
Morton bounced back from a loss in Game 3 to allow two hits over five scoreless innings. Starter-turned-postseason reliever McCullers limited the Yankees to one hit while fanning six over the next four. A noted curveballer, McCullers finished with 24 straight breaking pitches.
Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and their New York teammates were limited to three runs in the four ALCS games in Houston.
“I know people are going to talk about how we didn’t win many games on the road. There were some other teams that haven’t won many games on the road, either,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “We just happened to run into a very good team that just beat us.”
The Yankees were trying to reach the World Series for the first time since 2009.
CC Sabathia entered the game 10-0 with a 1.69 earned-run average in 13 starts this season after a New York loss. But he struggled with command and was gone with one out in the fourth inning.
Houston was ahead 2-0 in fifth when former Yankee Brian McCann came through for the second straight game. He hit a two-run double after snapping an 0-for-20 slump with a ground-rule RBI double to give Houston its first run in Game 6 on Friday.
• Chris Bosio is out as the Chicago Cubs’ pitching coach after six seasons. According to multiple reports, the 2016 World Series champions will not pick up his contract option for next season.
The Cubs’ bullpen struggled in the playoffs after a regular season where it gave up the most unintentional walks per nine innings (4.03) in the major leagues.
Bosio, 54, pitched for the Mariners from 1993 to 1996; he was 27-31 with a 4.43 ERA for the M’s.
• The San Francisco Giants reassigned longtime pitching coach Dave Righetti from manager Bruce Bochy’s field staff to special assistant to the general manager, working under Bobby Evans.