CHICAGO – it was again Jose Altuv, Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman.
The Houston Astros will return to the AL championship for the fifth year in a row under the guidance of the stars they tested in October.
Altuve hit a homer three times, scored four times and stole the base, and Houston destroyed the Chicago White Sox with a 10-1 win in Game 4 of the AL Division on Tuesday.
When the Astros returned from Sunday night’s 12-6 defeat with the usual brand of baseball, Correa and Bregman both scored two doubles. Michael Brantley had three hits and two RBIs.
Altuve and the company’s next task is to play the ALCS 1 game against former Astros coach Alex Cora and the Boston Red Sox in Houston on Friday. The Red Sox beat Tampa Bay 6-5 in Game 4 on Monday night.
“They know how to play,” Altuv said of Boston. “They’ve been to the playoffs before, so it’s going to be fun.”
This will be Houston’s second ALCS, led by 72-year-old manager Dusty Baker, whose club won the best of 77-year-old captain Tony La Russa in Chicago. Baker replaces AJ Hinch, who was fired from Astros ’2017 signal theft scandal, which led to a one-year ban for Cora.
Gavin Sheets joined Chicago and became the third player in franchise history to be a homer in a post-season game. But Carlos Rodon has been knocked out in the third round of his first start since Sept. 29, and the AL Central champions have left eight runners at the base.
The White Sox also lost in the first round of the 2020 playoffs, dropping two of three in Auckland. So far this year, the franchise has never been post-season.
The Astros are looking for a franchisee’s second championship after winning in 2017, a title that will provoke a strong reaction around the game even after the team was penalized for using electronics to steal characters.
The crowd at the guaranteed betting arena said “Cheater! Fraudster!” Sometimes during two games in Chicago, and Ryan Tepera, a rescuer from the White Sox, may have stolen characters in Houston 1 and 2 games Sunday night.
But the Astros, who have been dealing with the ambush since the scandal broke, have turned it all off. Asked about Tepera’s thoughts after Game 4 was postponed due to rain on Monday, Bregman said: “Everything is fine. We focus on winning games. That’s it.”
Correa put Houston ahead to record his third double, Rodon’s 0-2 quick shot to the left. The Astros loaded the bases into two walks and a quick ball that hit Altuve, applauding a crowd of 40,170.
Correa pointed to his left wrist, then slapped his chest and said, “It’s time!” he finished second after a major shot in his 67th post-season career.
“Disrespectful words without facts,” Correa said of Tepera’s accusation.
This was for Rodon, who was limited due to shoulder pain and fatigue. After another break in the highs of the 90s, his left hand was charged with two runs and three shots in the first round of the playoffs.
Houston added four more in fourth place to take a 5-1 lead. Kyle Tucker played solo without dropping the second and third – second before returning home with Martin Maldonado’s first shot in a row.
Bregman Maldonado and Altuveda came on 3-0 from Garrett Croch with two doubles. He then hit left-back Jordan Alvarez with his left hand and ended the game.
Correa and Bregman’s big hits showed enough offense for Lance McCulllers Jr., who had four effective moves after defeating Houston 6-1 in Game 1 on Thursday. Yimi Garcia had three wins.
Altuve marked Houston’s big day with a post-season homer of the 19th season, the ninth with three-pointers by All-Star close Liam Hendrix.
“We’ve been here five times,” Altuve said. “And we’re trying to convey that to the guys who came here for the first time.”
Second, the movement of the leaves jumped off the top of the wall. Astros Center midfielder Jake Meyers hit the wall to jump and then slipped uncomfortably over his left shoulder.
The White Sox lost their central defender when the Astros left Luis Robert with a broken right leg in the seventh fight.