The Houston Astros are one win away from their fourth consecutive American League Championship Series after beating the Oakland Athletics 5-2 in Game 2 of the AL Division Series on Tuesday.
George Springer homered twice – in the third and fifth – giving him 17 career postseason home runs, now tied for seventh all-time. Catcher Martin Maldonado also hit a solo homer in the fifth for the Astros, who got seven strong innings from starter Framber Valdez at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.
The 26-year-old left-hander held Oakland to five hits and two earned runs, striking out four to get his second win of the postseason. Valdez earned his spot in the ALDS rotation by pitching five shutout innings in relief in Game 1 of the wild-card series against the Minnesota Twins.
George Springer celebrates with Carlos Correa after hitting a two-run homer in the fifth. (Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea, USA TODAY Sports)
Oakland took the lead in the second inning on Khris Davis' solo homer – his third in four games – before Springer's first home run put Houston ahead for good in the next frame.
"It changed the energy," Athletics infielder Chad Pinder said. "We put them on their heels and they put us on ours.
"We knew this would be a dogfight. This is a team with experience in the postseason and great talent. We gotta find a way to pull ourselves out of this."
Sean Manaea took the loss for the Athletics, giving up four runs on five hits in 4 ⅓ innings.
The Astros, who reached the postseason with a 29-31 record, can finish off the sweep Wednesday afternoon. Houston manager Dusty Baker announced after Tuesday's game that Jose Urquidy will take the mound, with Zack Greinke experiencing arm soreness.
The Athletics are yet to announce a starter for Game 3, but Jesus Luzardo and Frankie Montas are the two top choices.
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