The Journal Gazette
 
 
Wednesday, October 13, 2021 1:00 am

Houston 10 Chicago 1

Astros make another trip to ALCS

Stars shine for 5th straight trip; will face Red Sox

JAY COHEN | Associated Press

CHICAGO – It was Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman once again.

The Houston Astros are going to the AL Championship Series for the fifth straight year. Their October-tested stars led the way.

Altuve hit a three-run homer and scored four times, and Houston eliminated the Chicago White Sox with a 10-1 victory in Game 4 of their AL Division Series on Tuesday.

“We don't get tired of this moment,” Correa said. “They're special, and we perform our best when October comes.”

Correa and Bregman each hit a two-run double as the Astros bounced back from Sunday night's 12-6 loss with their usual relentless brand of baseball. Michael Brantley had three hits and two RBI.

Next up for Altuve and company is Game 1 of the ALCS against former Astros bench coach Alex Cora and the Boston Red Sox on Friday in Houston. The Red Sox eliminated Tampa Bay with a 6-5 victory in Game 4 on Monday night.

“We're playing another good team,” Altuve said.

It's Houston's second ALCS under 72-year-old manager Dusty Baker, whose club got the best of 77-year-old Chicago skipper Tony La Russa. Baker replaced A.J. Hinch, who was fired in the fallout from the Astros' 2017 sign-stealing scandal that also resulted in a one-year ban for Cora.

A testy La Russa argued with umpire Tom Hallion after he felt Houston reliever Kendall Graveman hit José Abreu intentionally with two out in the eighth. Abreu was plunked 22 times during the regular season.

“There is a character choice there that they should answer for,” La Russa said. “Stupid, too.

“I'll be interested to see if they admit it. If they don't admit it, then they're very dishonest.”

Baker, who has sparred with La Russa in the past, said his team did not throw at Abreu intentionally.

“There was no reason for us to hit Abreu,” Baker said. “He hadn't done anything to us.”

Gavin Sheets connected for Chicago, becoming the third rookie in franchise history to homer in a postseason game. But Carlos Rodón was knocked out in the third inning of his first start since Sept. 29, and the AL Central champions left eight runners on base.

The White Sox also lost in the first round of the 2020 playoffs, dropping two of three in Oakland. Before this year, the franchise had never made consecutive postseason appearances.

Correa put Houston ahead to stay with his two-out double in the third, pulling Rodón's high 0-2 fastball into left. Houston added three more in the fourth for a 5-1 lead.

The big hits supplied more than enough offense for Lance McCullers Jr., who departed with right forearm tightness after four innings. Yimi García got three outs for the win.

“I don't think it has anything to do with my ligament,” McCullers said. “We'll have to just wait and see how I feel tomorrow and if we're going to get any imaging done, things like that.”

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