Houston on pace for seventh straight championship

The defending World Series champion Houston Astros have added to their postseason record books.

Jose Abreu hit a walk-off, game-winning home run to beat the Minnesota Twins 3-2 in Game 4 of the American League Division Series (ALDS) on Wednesday at Target Field in Minneapolis to advance to the championship game for the seventh consecutive year with a 3-1 series lead.

The seven consecutive ALCS appearances are the most since the divisional format was established in 1969. The most in the majors is eight straight years (1991-1999) by the National League’s Atlanta Braves.

All five runs scored by both teams in Game 4 were home runs. However, the Astros had a two-run homer to lead them to a 3-2, one-run victory 먹튀검증.

The Twins struck first. Rookie Royce Lewis drew a walk from Astros starter Jose Aquidi in the bottom of the first inning. It was Lewis’ fourth home run of the postseason.

The Astros tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the second when veteran left fielder Michael Brantley hit his first home run of the postseason.

The Twins pulled starter Joe Ryan after two innings and went to the bullpen. The 1-1 tie was broken in the fourth inning. 2020 AL MVP right fielder Jose Abreu, who had hit a multi-homer game the day before, took a 150-mph fastball from bullpen left-hander Caleb Tilba for a two-run homer to the opposite field.

Trailing 1-3 in the bottom of the sixth, designated hitter Edouard Julien homered off Aquidi to cut the deficit to 2-3. The Twins’ fans, who packed Target Field in chilly conditions, were fired up.

But the Astros, who clinched the division title on the final day of the regular season, are a strong World Series contender, thanks to a combination of experience, manager Dusty Baker’s leadership, and their bullpen.

The bullpen, which inherited Barton after starter Aquidi allowed two home runs and struck out six in 5.2 innings, was flawless. Hector Neris (1.1 innings, 3 strikeouts), Brian Abreu (1 inning, 2 strikeouts), and Ryan Pressley (1 inning, 3 strikeouts) combined seamlessly to keep the game close.

Presley, who picked up his second save of the postseason, showed off his perfect stuff to retire the top three batters in the order – Jorge Polanco, Royce Lewis, and Max Kepler – in a nail-biting one-run game. The Astros, who are especially strong on the road, won the series thanks to their mound advantage, allowing just three runs in two games at Target Field.

The 2023 ALCS matchup is the Texas Rangers-Houston Astros “Lone Star Series. In the United States, the state of Texas is known as the Lone Star State. The matchup is particularly interesting because it features the legendary Bruce Bochy-Dusty Baker, two surefire Hall of Famers. Bochy led them to three WS championships and Baker to one.

The two teams finished the regular season tied at 90-72, but the Astros won the tiebreaker (regular season record) 9-4. Game 1 will begin on June 16 at Minute Maid Park in Houston.

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