fog.png
Wednesday December 7th, 2022 12:58PM

Alvarez has 3 HRs, Astros down A's to clinch playoff berth

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

HOUSTON (AP) — Ace Justin Verlander had just wrapped up another strong start and was in the dugout in the fifth inning when Yordan Alvarez launched his third monster home run of the night for the Houston Astros.

The cameras panned to Verlander, eyes wide as he admired his teammate's handiwork.

“It’s pretty cool when a major league player can make other major league players be in awe," Verlander said. “It’s not something that happens all too often. And that was kind of one of those moments where everybody is just like: ‘My goodness.' It's just incredible what he’s able to do."

Alvarez homered in his first three at-bats, Verlander threw five hitless innings in his return from the injured list and the Astros clinched a postseason berth with a 5-0 win over the Oakland Athletics on Friday night.

The Astros (95-50) won their sixth straight game to join the Los Angeles Dodgers as the first two teams to secure playoff spots, reaching their sixth straight postseason.

There was no big celebration for this team with much bigger goals, but the Astros did share a quiet toast in the clubhouse postgame.

“You've got to keep in perspective ... how hard it is to get to the playoffs and to stay on top like this for a while," Verlander said. “It’s not easy. So I’m glad we were able to take a moment."

Alvarez, tied for second in the AL with a career-high 36 home runs, had solo shots off Adrián Martínez in the first, third and fifth innings. He capped his big night with a single in the seventh to tie his career high with four hits.

“Hitting one home run feels great, imagine hitting three," Alvarez said in Spanish through a translator. “Just a very special night."

It is his second three-homer game and first since Aug. 10, 2019, a season when he won AL Rookie of the Year. There have been only 15 three-homer games in Houston history and Alvarez joined Glenn Davis and Jeff Bagwell as the only Astros to have more than one.

Alvarez's homers totaled 1,329 feet— 434, 431 and 464. He joined Nelson Cruz on July 25, 2019, as the only players with three 400-plus foot homers in a game since Statcast started tracking in 2015.

“Yordan was unbelievable," manager Dusty Baker said. “Those balls he hit, I don’t know what the combined feet were, but boy that’s a lot of mileage."

Verlander (17-3) didn’t miss a beat in his return after injuring a calf on Aug. 28. He walked one and struck out nine to extend his season-long winning streak to nine games and lower his MLB-leading ERA to 1.78.

His performance moved him past Max Scherzer (3,173) for 13th on the career strikeout list with 3,176 in 17 seasons.

Manager Dusty Baker said Verlander would be on a pitch-count but wouldn’t reveal what his limit was. He was lifted without giving up a hit after throwing 79 pitches.

Verlander plunked Ramon Laureano with one out in the second. He didn’t allow another baserunner until walking Seth Brown with two outs in the fourth. He then sat down the next four batters he faced to end his night.

Phil Maton took over for the sixth and Nick Allen singled on his first pitch to break up the no-hit bid.

There were two outs in the first when Alvarez connected on a shot to straightaway center field to make it 1-0.

Alvarez’s second homer came with two outs in the third to extend the lead to 2-0.

Jeremy Peña hit his 18th homer to left field with one out in the fifth. The Astros went back-to-back when Alvarez sent the next pitch from Martinez into center field to extend the lead to 4-0 and send Houston’s dugout and the crowd into a frenzy.

Martínez (4-5) pitched five innings, walking three and the only hits he allowed were the four homers, which were a career-high.

“You take Alvarez out of the lineup and the line's a lot different," Oakland manager Mark Kotsay said. “Yordan is a guy that I referred to before the season started as a possible MVP candidate. And and he showed why tonight."

The Athletics, who have baseball's worst record at 52-93, managed just three singles and tied a season high by striking out 16 times.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Athletics: LHP Sam Moll was placed on the 15-day IL with a strained left shoulder and LHP Jared Koenig was recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas.

Astros: RHP Seth Martinez was optioned to Triple-A Sugar Land to make room for Verlander. ... RHP Josh James was recalled from his rehabilitation assignment because of forearm discomfort.

UP NEXT

RHP José Urquidy (13-6, 3.75 ERA) opposes LHP Cole Irvin (8-11, 3.73) on Saturday night.

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Baseball , AP Sports - Major League Baseball
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Alvarez has 3 HRs, Astros down A's to clinch playoff berth
Yordan Alvarez homered in his first three at-bats, Justin Verlander threw five hitless innings in his return from the injured list and the Houston Astros clinched a postseason berth with a 5-0 win over the Oakland Athletics
11:25PM ( 7 minutes ago )
Alaska braces for huge storm, flooding, power outages feared
Residents on Alaska’s vast and sparsely populated western coast braced for what forecasters said could be one of the worst in recent history, accompanied by strong winds and high surf that could knock out power and cause flooding
10:52PM ( 40 minutes ago )
Albert Pujols hits 698th home run, ties game for Cardinals
Albert Pujols hit his 698th home run, a two-run drive that pulled the St Louis Cardinals into a sixth-inning tie with the Cincinnati Reds
10:51PM ( 41 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Biden meets with families of Whelan, Griner at White House
President Joe Biden met with family members of WNBA star Brittney Griner and another American detained in Russia, Paul Whelan
8:56PM ( 2 hours ago )
Defending champ Max Homa, Danny Willett share lead in Napa
Max Homa moved into position to defend his title at the Fortinet Championship, shooting a 5-under 67 to share the early 36-hole lead with Danny Willett at the PGA Tour’s season opener Homa won twice last season and will play in next week's Presidents Cup as a captain's pick
8:27PM ( 3 hours ago )
Judge signs off on fund for U-Michigan doctor's victims
A judge has approved a fund for more than 1,000 people who said they were sexually assaulted by a University of Michigan doctor
7:25PM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Sports
MLB celebrates Roberto Clemente Day, ceremony at Citi Field
Major League Baseball celebrated its 21st annual Roberto Clemente Day on Thursday, with festivities centered in New York where the Mets hosted the Hall of Fame outfielder’s former team, the Pittsburgh Pirates
12:30AM ( 23 hours ago )
Lindor, Carrasco shine on Clemente Day, Mets beat Bucs 7-1
On a Roberto Clemente Day particularly meaningful to both of them, Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco propelled the New York Mets past the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-1 to extend their slim lead in the NL East
12:13AM ( 23 hours ago )
Rays start 9 Latin American players, rout Blue Jays 11-0
Yandy Díaz hit a three-run home run and the Tampa Bay Rays — starting an unprecedented nine Latin American players on Roberto Clemente Day — routed Toronto 11-0 on Thursday to pull within a half-game of the Blue Jays in the wild-card chase
8:37PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Baseball
Rodón leaves with blister, still leads Giants past Braves
Carlos Rodón struck out eight in five dominant innings before leaving with a blister and the San Francisco Giants slowed down the Atlanta Braves 4-1 to win the series
7:33PM ( 2 days ago )
Wynns, Rodón lead Giants, slow down Braves to win series
Austin Wynns drove in three runs, Carlos Rodón struck out eight in five dominant innings and the San Francisco Giants slowed the Atlanta Braves 4-1 to win the series
6:53PM ( 2 days ago )
Minor leaguers form union, 17 days after organizing began
More than 5,500 minor league baseball players have formed a union, completing a lightning-fast organization campaign that launched just 17 days earlier in an effort to boost annual salaries as low as $10,400
6:42PM ( 2 days ago )
AP Sports - Major League Baseball
Alaska braces for huge storm, flooding, power outages feared
Residents on Alaska’s vast and sparsely populated western coast braced for what forecasters said could be one of the worst in recent history, accompanied by strong winds and high surf that could knock out power and cause flooding
11:06PM ( 26 minutes ago )
Albert Pujols hits 698th home run, ties game for Cardinals
Albert Pujols hit his 698th home run, a two-run drive that pulled the St Louis Cardinals into a sixth-inning tie with the Cincinnati Reds
10:51PM ( 41 minutes ago )
US asks appeals court to lift judge's Mar-a-Lago probe hold
The Justice Department has asked a federal appeals court to lift a judge’s order that temporarily barred it from reviewing a batch of classified documents seized during an FBI search of former President Donald Trump’s Florida home last month
10:48PM ( 44 minutes ago )
Acuna homers in 6-run 8th, Braves beat Phillies 7-2
Ronald Acuña Jr. hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in a six-run eighth inning off Seranthony Domínguez and the Atlanta Braves rallied for a 7-2 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday night
10:41PM ( 52 minutes ago )
Putin vows to press attack on Ukraine; courts India, China
Russian President Vladimir Putin has vowed to press his attack against Ukraine despite its latest counteroffensive
10:37PM ( 55 minutes ago )