‘Champ’ Houston reaches ALCS for 7th straight year Texas battles for WS berth
The defending World Series (WS) champion Houston Astros have advanced to the American League Championship Series (ALCS) for the seventh consecutive year (best-of-seven).The Astros won Game 4 of the 2023 Major League Baseball (MLB) American League Division Series (ALDS) best-of-five, 3-2, against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, on April 12.With a 3-1 ALDS lead, Houston will welcome the Texas Rangers to Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas, on April 16 for Game 1 of the ALCS with a chance to advance to the World Series. Their seventh straight trip to the Championship Series is the longest in the American League.The Rangers and Astros, who share Arlington, Texas, ties, will meet for the first time in the postseason as members of the American League West. Houston played in the National League Central through 2012 before moving to the American League West in 2013.
Houston and Texas tied for first place in the regular season with 90 wins and 72 losses, but in the head-to-head matchup between the two teams, Houston went 9-4 to take first place in the American League West and earn a bye to the ALDS.Texas entered fall baseball as a wild card and swept the Tampa Bay Rays (two games to none) in the Wild Card Series and the Baltimore Orioles (three games to none) in the ALDS to reach the ALCS for the first time in 12 years.The biggest draw was the matchup between Houston manager Dusty Baker, the longtime San Francisco Giants manager, and Texas manager Bruce Bochy.Baker managed San Francisco for 10 years from 1993-2002, reaching the World Series only once, in 2002, losing to the Anaheim Angels (now the Los Angeles Angels) in the World Series.Baker, who has never won a World Series ring, led Houston last year, finally reaching the top after 25 years as a big league manager.
Bochy spent 13 years at the helm of San Francisco from 2007 to 2019, winning three World Series titles in 2010, 2012, and 2014. This year, four years after retiring, he returned to the field in a Texas uniform and immediately made his mark by leading the team to the ALCS.Houston won the home run duel on the day and then held on for a one-run victory with defense.Minnesota’s Royce Lewis opened the scoring with a solo shot to left-center field in the first inning, but Houston answered with a Michael Brantley single to right-center field in the top of the second.Houston’s Jose Abreu hit a two-run homer to right-center in the fourth to tie the game at 1-1. Minnesota tied the game in the bottom of the sixth on Edouard Julien’s solo homer to left, but couldn’t close the gap and took a knee.Minnesota, which entered the postseason in first place in the Central Division, took solace in escaping an 18-game losing streak in fall baseball by sweeping the Toronto Blue Jays in a wild-card series and looked ahead to next year.The Los Angeles Dodgers, who won more than 100 games in the regular season for the third consecutive year, are headed to the National League Division Series (NLDS) in five games at Chase Field in Phoenix, Ariz.
Only three teams have won more than 100 games in both leagues this season – Baltimore, the Dodgers, and Atlanta – and two have already been eliminated from the division series.Arizona used four solo home runs in the third inning from Heraldo Perdomo, Ketel Marte, Christian Walker, and Gabriel Moreno to take down the ultra-luxury Dodgers. The Dodgers could only manage two runs in the top of the seventh inning on four consecutive hits.It’s been 16 years since Arizona reached the NLCS since 2007.The Philadelphia Phillies used six home runs to blow out Atlanta 10-2 in Game 3 of the NLDS at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to improve to 2-1 in the series and clinch a spot in the NLCS.Down 1-0, the Phillies set up their big inning in the bottom of the third when Nick Castellanos hit a solo home run to left field to tie the game.Two batters later, with runners on first and third, Bryce Harper blasted an exhilarating three-run shot to right-center field.Two batters later, with runners on first and second, J.T. Realmuto hit a two-run double to make it 6-1.Harper led off the bottom of the fifth inning with a solo shot to center field to seal the victory. Trey Turner, Castellanos, and Brandon Marsh added three more home runs.It was the first time in eight years that six home runs were hit in a single game in the MLB postseason, tied for the most by a team since the Chicago Cubs’ Game 3 스포츠토토존 NLDS win over the St. Louis Cardinals in 2015.