Astros edge Yankees in ALCS Game 2 to claim 2-0 advantage behind Framber Valdez, Alex Bregman

The Houston Astros head to New York with a 2-0 lead over the ALCS Yankees after narrowly winning game 2, 3-2. Alex BregmanThe three-point homer accounted for all the score needed as Framber Valdez went seven innings, allowing two unearned runs.

The Yankees scratched their two runs in the fourth inning, with Anthony Rizo and Gleyber Torres notching RBIs after Valdez missed a fly ball on the ground and put the runners up at second and third.

They threatened again in the final innings, once Valdez and his jaw-dropping curveball were out. Newly named Yankees point guard Harrison Bader achieved on a walk against the Houston reliever Bryan Abreu on the eighth. Next, Judge Aaron hit a ball deep into right field that sailed towards turning the game on its head – but it fell in Kyle Tuckerthe glove against the wall. Bader scored to put the equalizer in goal position, but Abreu blew Giancarlo Stanton to end the threat.

Josh Donaldson worked a two-man walk in the ninth, but Astros closer Ryan Pressley striped Matt Charpentier to finish.

Valdez, who set an MLB record with 25 straight quality starts in a stellar season, pitched almost perfectly. He threw 40 curveballs and the Yankees felt 67% of their swings at the freefall breaker. His only mistake — which led to the Yankees’ two runs — was as an outfielder. Lineing up a dribbler close to the mound, he fumbled the ball trying to turn two, and ended up flailing and throwing it first.

Yankees starter Luis Severino was almost as good. He struck out six in 5 1/3 innings, but Astros star Alex Bregman threw the three-run homer into the Crawford Boxes in the third.

It’s Bregman’s second home run in the playoffs, as he helped carry Houston’s offense amid Jose Altuve’s baffling no-hitter streak. The Yankees infield extended it dramatically late in Game 2, as Gleyber Torres and rookie shortstop Oswald Peraza turned a circus double play.

Bregman, who finished second in MVP voting in 2019, met those standards again late in the season. He hit .287/.379/.515 with more walks than strikeouts in the second half.

After falling to the Astros in the 2017 and 2019 ALCS, the Yankees return to the Bronx facing a disheartening 2-0 deficit. But they will have Gerrit Cole on the mound in Game 3 on Saturday. The Astros have not announced a starter. Friday is the last scheduled day off in the series.

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