ARLINGTON, Texas – For Jose Altuve, the first 100 career playoff appearances are in the books. How far might the next century of gaming advance?
The powerful Houston Astros started off Friday with Game 5 of the American League Championship Series at Globe Life Field. Altuve and the Astros are a decade away from losing 110 games, with almost uninterrupted success since then.
At 33 years old, Altuve seems as capable of lasting in a postseason environment as ever: He had three hits in Houston’s 10-3 Game 4 win and has five strikeouts in his last nine at-bats. Thanks in part to his ever-growing catalog of postseason appearances, he is near the top of almost every offensive category.
His three runs scored in Game 4 moved him past Bernie Williams into second place in playoff history. He has a ways to go in 85 innings to get 111 for all-time leader Derek Jeter. Altuve also ranks second in career home runs with 25 and fourth in hits (112) and extra base hits (45).
Altuve is signed through 2024, and the Astros show little sign of slowing down.
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“I’m grateful to be here to play so many playoff games,” Altuve says Friday before Game 5. “And yeah, I’m down with some of the hits and the players and the individual stats (leaders) in the playoffs, but every time you can play you’re thinking about winning.
“I can say the stats mean something because you’re helping the team, but they’re not the highlight at the end of the day. It’s about winning.”
Lots of that too. Only Braves pitchers Tom Glavine and John Smoltz have appeared in seven consecutive League Championship Series, as have Altuve and third baseman Alex Bregman. The Astros are two wins away from their fifth World Series appearance in this run.
It disappeared quickly – and continues to move quickly, too quickly for Altuve to reverse it.
“You can ask me again after the whole thing is over,” he says of his most memorable moments in that stretch. Maybe I’ll have a better answer. “I’m just enjoying everything.”
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Adulis Garcia leads off a home run against Verlander for the Rangers
ARLINGTON, Texas – Justin Verlander kept the Texas Rangers and a crowd of 41,519 quiet for almost the entire afternoon. And then they ambushed him.
The Rangers’ center backs — Corey Seager, Evan Carter and Adulis Garcia — jumped on Verlander with a double and a single and Garcia’s three-run homer, punctuated by an emphatic at-bat rally as the Rangers took a 4-2 lead into the sixth inning of ALCS Game 5 on Thursday.
Verlander, who had just three hits over five innings, was thrown out of the game by Josh Young’s single, unable to protect the 2-1 lead he had taken a moment earlier.
The Rangers are now just nine points away from taking a 3-2 lead against Houston, with Game 6 taking place on Sunday.
ARLINGTON, Texas – Corey Seager made some great plays at shortstop in the ALCS. But the miss gave the Houston Astros a 2-1 lead in the sixth inning of Thursday’s pivotal Game 5.
With runners in the corners and one out, Jose Abreu smashed a short jumper that ate Seager, enabling Alex Bregman to score the go-ahead run; The play was more than just a huge success.
After a walk, starter Jordan Montgomery was finished after 5 1/3 innings, leaving the bases loaded behind him. But reliever Josh Spurs got Chase McCormick on a shallow fly to right and Marcus Semien made a good diving play on Jeremy Peña’s fielder, and the Astros were stranded on three runners.
ARLINGTON, Texas — After nearly five innings and a bit of tough calling, the Texas Rangers finally landed Justin Verlander.
First baseman Nathaniel Lowe rode a 95 mph fastball to left field, got enough of it to elude Houston Astros left fielder Chas McCormick, and the Rangers tied Game 5 of the ALCS, 1-1.
Even then, Verlander had given up just one hit and a walk and was outgaining Texans starter Jordan Montgomery, whose only blemish was a first-run home run off Alex Bregman.
Despite tying the game, Verlander and the Astros are in good shape: He has thrown just 68 pitches over five innings and numbers to hand the ball to Houston’s best players.
ARLINGTON, Texas — After two perfect innings, the Texas Rangers suddenly had Justin Verlander right where they wanted him: a walk, a single, runners on first and third, and the top of the order coming in with one out at third.
In two throws, it was over.
Sluggers Marcus Semien and Corey Seager swung at Verlander’s first pitch and both popped out, Semien to first base and Seager to shallow left field, and passed a golden opportunity.
Verlander threw 35 pitches over three innings, and Houston’s high-leverage players — Hector Neres, Brian Abreu, Ryan Pressley — were all rested and ready for this crucial Game 5.
While it’s still early days, the Rangers may start to feel the pressure of the Astros’ pitching soon.
– Gaby Lakis
ARLINGTON, Texas – For the third straight game, the Texas Rangers will face an early deficit in their home stadium. Does this mean a third ALCS loss is in the cards?
Houston’s No. 3 hitter Alex Bregman hit a home run into the left field seats on Jordan Montgomery’s fifth left-handed pitch in Game 4, and the Astros took a 1-0 lead before turning the ball over to Justin Verlander in his 38th start of the postseason.
The pattern is familiar.
The Astros took a 3-0 lead after two innings of Game 3 and one inning Game 4 and got both, erasing a 2-0 ALCS deficit. Today’s winner takes the all-important 3-2 advantage before the series heads to Houston for Game 6 on Saturday.
– Gaby Lakis
How to watch Astros vs. Rangers: Time, TV channel
Game 5 is scheduled to begin Friday at 5:07 PM ET Broadcast on Fox Sports 1
Astros’ Yordan Alvarez is ‘best hitter in the world’
ARLINGTON, Texas – In eight postseason games, Astros slugger Yordan Alvarez is now batting .419 (13-for-31), reaching base at a .471 clip, and has driven in 13 runs. That won’t show up in the playoff record, but let the record reflect that the hitters ahead of him and behind him in the lineup combined to drive in five runs.
After getting knocked out 2-0 in Game 1 of the ALCS, the Astros scored four, eight and 10 runs in their next three games. The swagger is back, largely due to a cleanup hitter who often moves in silence but may give Bryce Harper a chance to be the most impactful hitter in the game.
“Alvarez is on fire right now. “He’s the best hitter in the world,” says outfielder Chas McCormick, whose third career home run in the postseason gave Houston a 9-3 lead. “So when our guy goes, and we get Altuve and Jose Abreu going, we’re One of the best teams in the world.
“After Alvarez hit like he used to hit, nothing can stop us now.”
Astros vs. Rangers, likely pitchers for ALCS Game 5
Starting pitcher: RHP Justin Verlander – 13-8, 2.28 ERA in regular season; 1.42 in 12 postseason innings
- Jose Altuve (R) 2B
- Mauricio Dupont (R) CF
- Alex Bregman (R) 3B
- Yordan Alvarez (left) Dr
- Jose Abreu (right) 1b
- Kyle Tucker (L) RF
- Chas McCormick (R) LF
- Jeremy Peña (R) SS
- Martin Maldonado (R) C
Starting pitcher: LHP Jordan Montgomery – 10-11, 3.20 ERA in regular season; 2-0, 2.08 ERA in 17⅓ postseason innings
- Marcus Semien (R) 2B
- Corey Seager (L) SS
- Evan Carter (left) LF
- Adulis Garcia (R) RF
- Leodi Taveras (S) CF
- Josh Jung (right) 3b
- Nathaniel Lowe (left) 1b
- Mitch Garver (R) DH
- Jonah Heim (S) c
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