Astros earn 2-1 ALCS lead after Cole blanks Yanks in Game 3

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Wednesday, October 16, 2019
Astros earn ALCS lead after Cole blanks Yanks
Gerrit Cole and the Astros overcame the pressure of Yankee Stadium to earn their ALCS lead in Game 3. How they did it.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The Houston Astros got out to an early lead after home runs by Jose Altuve and Josh Reddick in Game 3 of the AL Championship Series against the New York Yankees.

Altuve swung at the first pitch of his first inning at-bat delivered by Luis Severino, blasting a 420-foot bomb to the Yankees bullpen out in centerfield of Yankee Stadium.

After that, the Astros threatened, with a Michael Brantley walk, a Yuli Gurriel slow groundball in the outfield, and another walk of Yordan Alvarez. Carlos Correa struck out, though, retiring the side.

Gerrit Cole also faced a first-inning bases loaded jam, after allowing two hits and a walk. The Astros maintained the lead, though.

Josh Reddick, the first batter of the Astros' second inning, crushed a slider for a home run to deep right field, extending the lead, 2-0.

SEE ALSO: Astros star Josh Reddick and wife Jett welcome twin boys

A remarkable moment took place in the second inning with Cole back out on the mound. The Yankees' big threat, 6'7" Aaron Judge, took a swinging strikeout with two runners on to retire the side.

Entering the fifth inning, the game was paused for 17 minutes to switch home plate umpires. Jeff Nelson took a foul ball off of his mask earlier in the game and couldn't continue past the fourth inning.

With play resumed, the Astros were able to get two runners on base before the Yankees pulled Severino for reliever Chad Green, who retired the side without any further damage.

Cole got through the home half of the fifth but not without drama. With two runners on, Didi Gregorius launched a fly ball to right that was a foot or two from leaving the yard. Reddick collected the out and retired the side.

Similarly, the Astros' Martin Maldonado nearly blasted off a fly to left, but the Yanks got the fly out to end the top of the sixth.

In the top of the seventh inning, the Astros put pressure on the Yankees. With the bases loaded, New York pitcher Zack Britton threw a wild pitch past Yuli Gurriel, which allowed Jose Altuve to score from third, extending the lead, 3-0.

In the same at-bat, Gurriel hit a sacrifice fly to left to score Brantley and add another run, 4-0.

After the Astros were kept silent in the top of the eighth, Houston sent out reliever Joe Smith, who allowed a solo home run to Gleyber Torres. The Yankees cut the deficit, 4-1.

In the bottom of the ninth, Astros closer Roberto Osuna closed the door after pitching a 1-2-3 inning. Houston won and took the series lead, 2-1. Game 4 is scheduled for Wednesday night, but rain in the forecast threatens the first pitch of 7:08 p.m.

Cole threw 112 pitches across seven innings, with seven strikeouts, five balls and just four hits. Most importantly, he allowed no runs.