P.J. Tucker celebrates Astros' ALCS clincher at Minute Maid Park

Ruben Hill
October 21, 2019

On the edge of elimination, a game away from having to say, "Wait 'til next year", the New York Yankees have forced a Game 6 in the American League Championship Series against the Houston Astros.

"Yeah", Aaron Judge said, summarizing the season with a quick shake of his head. "I'll be thinking about this for a while". The entire city is now jumping for joy after Brantley's game-saving play that might send Houston to the World Series. "And I was excited for the opportunity for us to prove that today". "I feel like we are on equal footing with them. Throughout my career, I've faced everybody the same way".

In a bullpen Game 6 with a back-and-forth finish, DJ LeMahieu hit a tying, two-run shot off Astros closer Roberto Osuna in the top of the ninth.

"Extremely disappointing. We set out to win the whole thing", LeMahieu said. "Everybody was extremely focused".

The Astros took a 3-0 lead when Gurriel drilled the first pitch from Yankees right-hander Chad Green into the Crawford Boxes in left field for a two-out homer that plated Altuve and Alex Bregman.

But Michael Brantley raced in and made a diving catch then hopped up and fired to first base to double off Judge and end the inning. Altuve answered with a two-run drive to left-centre, setting off a wild celebration at Minute Maid Park and earning himself AL Championship Series MVP. In the second inning, Yankees hitter Brett Gardner had two strikes called against him by home plate umpire Marvin Hudson that appeared questionable on replays. They could opt for a bullpen game in Game 4 -as they did in their Game 6 win over the Yankees on Saturday - or have Jose Urquidy or Brad Peacock log a conventional start.

Edwin Encarnación was 1 for 18 with 11 strikeouts and no RBIs, Gary Sánchez 3 for 23 with three RBIs, Judge 6 for 25 with two RBIs, Didi Gregorius 5 for 23 with no RBIs. He was wrong, and because of it, in his mind there is only one way to sum up the Yankees' season. That was a difference in the series.

While the offense is not where we all saw it most of the season there was a breakthrough Saturday night in the Game 6 win.

On the other side, the Astros, a season-long juggernaut with a major league-leading 107 wins, are vying for their second title in three years with Gerrit Cole, Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke fronting the charge. We play with some mojo. It just didn't end up the way we wanted. So that's the goal. "That's the focus", Boone said.

"Putting a label, success, fail, all that, I don't really have time for it, honestly", he said. "I'm proud to go compete with those guys every day. Being a leader of this year, I've got to step up and do something".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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