Astros return to World Series with sweep of Yankees

NEW YORK — Another World Series for the Houston Astros, an irrepressible team that knows how to win with endless resources.

Yordan Alvarez and Alex Bregman contributed hits and the Astros sealed a four-game sweep of the Yankees in the American League Championship Series by winning 6-5 on Sunday with the complicity of another failure by New York’s defense.

Capitalizing on a costly error by second baseman Gleyber Torres on a throw, the Astros turned the score around in the seventh inning to go for their second straight tour pennant and fourth in six years.

Pursuing their second World Series championship, the Astros will host the Philadelphia Phillies beginning Friday. Houston repeats in a Fall Classic after losing in six games to the Atlanta Braves last year.

The Phillies defeated San Diego earlier in the day, taking the NL series in five games.

It was the first time both pennants had been decided on the same day since 1992. It was also the third time in six years that the Astros eliminated the Yankees in a league championship series.

With an immaculate 7-0 record this postseason, Houston will have another chance to establish itself and bury the sign-stealing scandal that tainted the championship it won in 2017, the franchise’s only.

And Dusty Baker, his 73-year-old manager, will try once again to get the elusive first title of his career as a manager.

With a new playoff format that increased the number of teams to 12, the Phillies made history by becoming the first team to finish third in their division to reach the World Series.

Philadelphia went 87-75 during the regular season, trailing Atlanta and the New York Mets in the NL East. The Astros, meanwhile, were first in the West with a record of 106-56.

“It’s the best group I’ve ever coached,” Baker said at the on-field celebration.

The Astros were unfazed Sunday night when they found themselves down twice paddling against the current at Yankee Stadium.

Jeremy Peña, the rookie who inherited the shortstop job after star Carlos Correa left in free agency, hit a three-run homer in the third inning off Yankees starter Néstor Cortés – affected by a sore groin – for Houston to erase an early 3-0 deficit.

Peña was proclaimed the Most Valuable Player of the series.

“This is a dream, a lot of guys dream of this,” said the 25-year-old Dominican, whose father Geronimo was an infielder in the majors during the 1990s. “I feel blessed.”

“I never saw it like that, that I was replacing Correa. He was a legend in Houston who helped me a lot,” he added.

Desperate to extend their season, the Yankees attacked in the first inning after an 84-minute delay due to a forecast rain. Giancarlo Stanton lined a single to right field that brought in a run and Torres drove in another on a drive to center.

New York ended a 14-inning scoreless drought. Rizzo added a two-out RBI double to increase the lead to 3-0 in the second.

Boone moved his lineup again, with Harrison Bader hitting leadoff. He responded with three hits and scoring three times. He homered off Hector Neris—credited at the end as the winning pitcher—for his fifth homer of the playoffs, putting the Yankees up 5-4 in the sixth.

But they couldn’t keep the difference.

Peña grounded out to Torres, all set to execute a double play that would have ended the inning. But the Venezuelan second baseman’s throw was too wide for shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa to catch.

The Astros had two men on the line, and they were unforgiving of the opportunity.

Álvarez drove in the tying score with a single off the next pitch from Nicaraguan Jonathan Loáisiga, the defeated pitcher. And Bregman was responsible for establishing the definitive advantage with another single against Clay Holmes.

“We’re a team that never gives up hope,” Baker said. “We persevere.”

It was the sixth error made by the Yankees this postseason. They also paid dearly in Game 3 when Chas McCormick hit a two-run homer off Yankees ace Gerrit Cole after Bader dropped an easy fly ball with two outs when he narrowly collided with teammate Aaron Judge in the outfield. right-centre.

Bryan Abreu, Rafael Montero and Ryan Pressly handled the last three innings.

“We were beaten by a superior team,” Boone said. “They set the standard in this league that we aspire to.”

Pressly retired Judge for the final out when the Yankees slugger grounded out to the mound. Judge, who set an American League record for home runs this season, will be a free agent and could have last played with New York.

“I haven’t thought about it yet,” Judge said of impending free agency. “I will have plenty of time to define it (the future).”

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Astros return to World Series with sweep of Yankees