BRONX, New York - The Astros went to the Big Apple and promptly took care of business Tuesday with a Game 3 win.
It comes after a dramatic Game 2 win on Sunday at Minute Maid Park.
In front of a confident sellout crowd at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday, the Astros jumped out quickly to silence the crowd and let Gerrit Cole continue to dominate.
The end result was a win that has Houston now in control with a 2-1 ALCS series edge.
What did we learn from the Astros ALCS Game 3 win?
Cole is nearly unbeatable
Cole showed once again he is unflappable. He hasn't lost a game since late May and his total game is top tier. It's one reason teams will be lining up to land him in the offseason as he becomes a free agent after the World Series. Cole's only issue in Game 3 was his control, but it was nothing he couldn't correct. Cole walked a career-high five batters, but overall was lights out. Cole allowed four hits and struck out seven. He set the tone early with his fastball, curveball, changeup and slider. The Yankees looked lost at the plate from the beginning.
The offense set the tone early
I've written often that the Astros' offense is power-packed and can strike at any time. Getting to pitchers early has been their path all season and Tuesday they did it again. Jose Altuve smoked his 12th career postseason home run in the first inning. Altuve's homer was followed by Josh Reddick's bomb to right in the second inning. The Astros added two more runs on a wild pitch and sacrifice fly in the seventh inning to make it 4-0. This Astros lineup is solid from top to bottom and anyone can be a hero on any night. They show us why just about every game.
Too many Astros threats were denied by the Yankees
There has to be something bad about the game, right?
Cole's five walks? Too many men left on base? That's happened a lot in this series and Tuesday the Astros has several opportunities squashed when they could have blown the game open. That said, it is also an issue now with the Yankees who at one point were scoreless for 14 1/3 straight innings before Gleyber Torres homered in the bottom of the eighth inning.
A.J. Hinch lineup tweak
The Astros skipper pushes all the right buttons and has for the most part since he arrived in 2015. Tuesday's lineup saw Josh Reddick inserted as a starter in right field. He hadn't played in the series until Tuesday's game, and what did he do? He smashed a deep home run to right field off of Luis Severino in the second inning. Reddick is a veteran and Hinch made the move partly based on Reddick's history against Severino.
Mission accomplished and momentum belongs to the Astros
Coming to New York with the ALCS tied at 1-1 both teams were well aware of the importance of Game 3.
Win and you've got the series lead and the coveted momentum. The Astros accomplished step one of what they set out to do. Win the first one at Yankee Stadium, take the series lead and now ramp up the pressure on the Yankees to respond in Game 4 and Game 5. The Yankees are a great team and won more than 100 games for a reason this season. They are at home, where they play well.
We will see who responds best as this series continues Wednesday assuming Mother Nature cooperates.
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