Astros beat Royals, Blue Jays down Rangers to lead AL series

ABS-CBN Sports on Oct 12, 2015 01:51 PM
Astros beat Royals, Blue Jays down Rangers to lead AL series
Houston Astros' Dallas Keuchel delivers a pitch against the Texas Rangers in the first inning of a baseball game, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015, in Houston. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

HOUSTON (AP) — Dallas Keuchel's perfect performance in Houston this year has the upstart Astros one win away from the American League Championship Series.

Keuchel remained undefeated at Minute Maid Park with seven gutsy innings and Chris Carter homered Sunday, leading the Astros to a 4-2 win over the Kansas City Royals to take a 2-1 lead in their Division Series.

In Arlington, Texas, Troy Tulowitzki settled down at the podium after helping the Toronto Blue Jays extend their AL Division Series, his left shoulder and arm constantly pulsating from the medical device attached to him.

Tulowitzki, still far from 100 percent from a collision that forced him to miss 19 games after being acquired by the Blue Jays, had certainly flexed his muscles on the field in Game 3, a 5-1 win over the Texas Rangers to cut their deficit to 2-1 in the series.

The Astros could wrap up the best-of-five series with a win over the defending AL champions in Game 4 on Monday.

Houston's remarkable run comes just two years after the team lost a franchise-worst 111 games in a third-straight 100-loss season.

"I think that success is a lot more sweet when you kind of go through hardship like we did the first couple years that I was up here," Keuchel said. "But it's really not a confidence that has grown. It's been here the whole time ... just now that we're getting to the playoffs and on a national stage ... it's a shock to a lot of people."

Keuchel, who shut down the Yankees in the AL wild-card game, worked out of jam after jam, allowing five hits and one run with seven strikeouts after going 15-0 at home this season, a modern major league record. He has a 1.45 ERA at Minute Maid Park in 19 starts this year.

Luke Gregerson gave up a leadoff homer in the ninth to Alex Gordon before finishing off the Astros first playoff game in Houston in 10 years with a four-out save. It was his first save of more than three outs in three years.

Later, Tulowitzki drove in four runs, including three with a homer for his first hit in these playoffs.

The victory was Toronto's first in the postseason since Joe Carter's home run won the 1993 World Series.

Marco Estrada limited the Rangers to one run and five hits over 6 1-3 innings, with four strikeouts and no walks.

Tulowitzki's drive to left with two outs in the sixth inning put the Blue Jays up 5-0.

"It was definitely huge and in the moment I was definitely pumped up. Got back to the dugout and everybody's obviously excited to put us up by five," Tulowitzki said. "A little breathing room, I think that's the goal down 2-0."

That was two innings after he drew a bases-loaded walk. He missed most of the final three weeks of the regular season because of a cracked shoulder blade and bruised muscles in his upper back.

Texas has another chance Monday to clinch the series at home. If not, a deciding Game 5 will be played Wednesday in Toronto, where the Rangers won the first two games.

Game 3 came a week after the Rangers clinched the AL West title on the final day of the regular season, in their third chance to do so.

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