Astros vs Mariners score: Yordan Alvarez hits another clutch homer to give Houston a 2-0 lead over the ALDS

The Houston Astros beat the Seattle Mariners 4-2 Thursday in Game 2 of the American League Division Series. The best-of-five series now sees Houston leading 2-0. Game 1 hero Houston’s Yordan Alvarez served as the late-inning hero for the Astros again, hitting a two-run homer in the bottom of the sixth to make it 2-1 in favor of the Mariners at 3-2 in favor of the Astros.

Looked:

Here are four things to know about the Astros’ Game 2 win.

1. Yordan delivers again

It was Alvarez who hit the three-run home run in Game 1, and as mentioned in the intro, it was Alvarez who turned it around in Game 2. Seattle starter Luis Castillo and the Mariners had driven up to this point. , but whatever momentum they had backed up, it turned out didn’t matter. Instead, Alvarez became the third player in Division Series history to hit multiple home runs in the sixth inning or later, according to MLB.com’s Andrew Simon:

The Alvarez explosion, for those wondering, traveled 371 feet and had an exit velocity of 103.6 mph, according to Statcast.

Alvarez entered Thursday with a career slash of .291/.396/.496 and four homers in 35 postseason games. He added a very important number to this column on Thursday.

The Mariners, presumably tired of getting beaten by Alvarez, decided to intentionally walk him in the bottom of the eighth inning. The BWI came with a runner-first and two outs in the inning, meaning Seattle manager Scott Servais violated one of the analytical rules of thumb for intentional walks: never issue one for advance a runner. Servais and the Mariners would pay for the decision, as Alex Bregman picked in an insurance run.

It didn’t matter in the end (although the Mariners did manage to equalize twice in the ninth), but it might tempt Servais and company to take a more conservative approach against Alvarez.

2. Castillo, Valdez were sharp

On paper, Luis Castillo and Framber Valdez looked like a potential pitching duel between aces. They may not have traded zeros throughout the afternoon, but each still delivered a solid performance.

Castillo was acquired by the Mariners from the Cincinnati Reds at the trade deadline for starts like these. He pitched seven innings before giving way to the M bullpen, allowing three runs on five hits and no walks. (The three runs scored on home runs, Alvarez’s and a solo shot hit by Kyle Tucker earlier in the game.) Castillo also struck out seven batters and continued to show increased speed.

Valdez, for his part, came out with two outs in the sixth inning. By this point, he had given up two runs (although only one earned) on four hits and three walks. Valdez retired six of the 24 batters he faced.

Combine Castillo and Valdez’s lines and you have the following: 12 2/3 innings, nine hits, five runs (four earned), three walks and 13 strikeouts.

It should be noted that Valdez left after loading the bases; reliever Hector Neris forced a groundout ending the threat to keep the deficit at one. This proved important, both for Valdez’s statline and for the outcome of the game, as Alvarez homered in the following semifinal.

3. Houston win reaffirms series momentum

The Astros are now firmly in control of the series. According to our research by Dayn Perry, 144 teams have fallen 0-2 in the Division Series, and only 10 have managed to come back and win the series – most recently by the Yankees against Cleveland in 2017. Perhaps the Mariners will prove fit for the task — they’ll host two of three potential games remaining — but the odds are very favorable for the Astros to advance to play for the pennant.

4. What’s next

The Mariners and Astros will depart Friday for travel purposes as the series moves to Seattle. They’ll reconvene Saturday afternoon to play Game 3, or the first postseason contest held in Seattle since 2001. Lance McCullers Jr. is expected to start for the Astros; he will face George Kirby of the Mariners, who will try to force a Game 4.

The winner of the series will advance to the AL Championship Series, where they will play for the pennant against the New York Yankees or the Cleveland Guardians. (Game 2 between the Yankees and Guardians was postponed to Friday due to rain.)

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