’Stro Stories is posting live updates here from Minute Maid Park of game 2 of the American League Championship Series, as well as on Twitter.
6:10 p.m.; Ace Aroldis Chapman came to the mound in the bottom of the ninth. The batter? Josh Reddick, who struck out swinging. But Chapman wasn't even close to being out of trouble. To the loudest of chants of "M-V-P," Jose Altuve stepped up to the plate and singled on the first pitch! With the winning run at first base, the stands were literally shaking as Carlos Correa came up to bat. He took the count to 3-2 before hitting a double that no Astros fan will soon forget. As soon as the ball dropped into the outfield, Altuve took off, flying around the bases and reaching home even as the ball got away from catcher Sanchez. Astros win!!!
6:00 p.m.: With Astros reliever Ken Giles warming up in the bullpen (and Aroldis Chapman warming up in the Yanks' pen), Verlander came back to the mound in the ninth, facing Judge who, after a tense at-bat, flied out to center. That brought up Gregorius, who singled up the middle. Sanchez flied out to Reddick in shallow center, and with two outs in the ninth, it was first baseman Bird's turn at the plate. Bird grounded out to end the inning, and the Astros come to the plate with a chance to win it in the 9th!
5:45 p.m.: Okay, bottom of the eighth: up stepped Alex Bregman, who lined out to right field. After that, McCann struck out looking, and Springer grounded to the first baseman to end the inning.
5:40 p.m.: Approaching his 100th pitch, the 34-year-old Verlander struck out Frazier looking in the top of the eighth, prompting complaints from both the hitter and Yankees manager Joe Girardi. That brought up Headley, who also struck out. Again on their feet, the Minute Maid crowd hadn't been louder all day when Verlander faced Gardner, striking the left fielder out. Yes, you read that right, Verlander struck out the side in the eighth inning. Astros fans, awestruck, could hardly believe that JV's performance wouldn't be a game-changing moment.
5:30 p.m.: Yankee reliever David Robertson, who came in to replace Kahnle in the bottom of the seventh, faced the 4-5-6 hitters in the 'Stros line-up, Correa, Gonzalez and Gurriel. Carlos flied out sharply to left center but Gardner was perfectly placed to catch it. Next, Marwin struck out, and Yuli cracked a double to left field! But Beltran grounded out to end the inning.
5:20 p.m.: With Verlander still on the mound, having thrown 80+ pitches, Sanchez struck out to begin to the top of the 7th. Bird followed, and he walked. That brought up Castro, who gave Verlander his 10th strikeout, and Hicks flied out to right to end the inning.
5:10 p.m.: Kahnle faced the top of the 'Stros order in the bottom of the sixth and Springer, who grounded out to third. Josh Reddick, up next, took the count to 3-2 and then flied out to left, and Altuve struck out to end the inning.
5:00 p.m.: Gardner and Judge led off the top of the sixth by striking out. Gregorius followed by flying out to shallow left field, and the inning was over.
4:50 p.m.: In the bottom of the fifth, Tommy Kahnle came in to relieve Yanks starter Severino (who'd been hit on the hand in a previous inning) and faced the 'Stros' 7-8-9 batters. Beltran started the inning by flying out to center, which brought up Bregman, who walked. Following that, McCann grounded out to end the inning.
4:40 p.m.: In the top of the 5th, the first batter Verlander faced was Bird, who ended up being his 5th strikeout victim of the day, while the next batter, Castro, was the 6th. That brought up Hicks, who stroked a sharply hit ball to left center that Springer briefly bobbled, and Hicks ended up at second. Frazier followed, hitting a ball to center that allowed Hicks to score even as it was lodged in the outfield fence. Astros 1, Yankees 1. (Eventually, Frazier's hit was ruled a ground-rule double.) Following that, Headley flied out sharply to Springer to end the inning.
4:30 p.m.: After Altuve bounced out to second, Correa followed with a homer to right! Astros 1, Yankees 0. Following that, Gonzalez flied out to the first baseman. Gurriel hit a hard ground ball to the pitcher, but Severino recovered, throwing to first to end the inning.
4:20 p.m.: Judge led off the top of the 4th for the Yanks by grounding out to Bregman at third. Gregorius flied out to Marwin Gonzalez in left, and Sanchez followed. The Yanks catcher flied out to Reddick in right to end the inning.
4:10 p.m.: Astros catcher Brian McCann flied out to shallow center to start the bottom of the third, and he was followed by the top of the order. Springer fouled out to the catcher, bringing up Reddick. Josh bounced out to the pitcher to end the inning.
4:05 p.m.: Yanks third baseman Todd Frazier flied out to start the top of the third, and his effort was followed by a beautiful catch by Josh Reddick after a deep drive by DH Chase Headley to right. That brought up the top of the order and Gardner, who hit what was ostensibly a triple, but after Reddick relayed the ball from right to Correa, the Astros shortstop fired to third and though the umpire initially called Gardner safe, the Astros asked for a replay and Gardner was out!
3:50 p.m.: Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel led off the bottom of the second by taking the count all the way to 3-2 before being walked. That brought up DH Carlos Beltran who popped out to shallow right. Astros' third baseman Alex Bregman followed, and he took the count to 2-2 before grounding into a double-play to end the inning.
3:40 p.m.: Yanks catcher Gary Sanchez struck out to open the second inning. He was followed by first baseman Greg Bird, who hit a high pop-up that was caught by Altuve. Second baseman Starlin Castro grounded softly to Altuve, whose throw was not in time, and Castro was awarded an infield single. But then Yanks center fielder struck out to retire the side.
3:25 p.m.: After George Springer flied out to right and Josh Reddick to left, Jose Altuve singled into center to get things going. Next up was Carlos Correa, who took the count to 3-2 before walking. That brought up Marwin Gonzalez on with runners on first and second with two out. Marwin grounded out to the pitcher to end the inning.
3:15 p.m.: Okay, we are under way at Minute Maid Park, and Yankee left fielder Brett Gardner struck out to begin the game. Following that, Yankee right fielder Aaron Judge also struck out, and shortstop Didi Gregorius flied out to Jose Altuve to end the inning.