Altuve hits game winner as Astros outgun Yankees to reach World Series

Houston (AFP) –


Jose Altuve hit a two-run walk off homer to lift the Houston Astros to a 6-4 win Saturday over the New York Yankees and punch their ticket to the World Series for the second time in three years.

Altuve's dramatic blast with two outs in the bottom of the ninth came after the Yankees DJ LeMahieu had tied the contest with a home run in the top half of the inning.

His performance was backed up by superb defence from outfielders Josh Reddick and Michael Brantley, who made game saving diving catches in back-to-back late innings for the Astros to clinch the AL Championship series in six games.

The Astros, who captured the World Series title in 2017, will host the upstart Washington Nationals in the championship series starting Tuesday.

Altuve's homer travelled 407 feet to left field and scored teammate George Springer, who walked to start Houston's half of the inning.

Reddick made a clutch diving catch in the top of the sixth off the bat of Brett Gardner to preserve the Astros' lead with the Yankees runners in scoring position.

Not to be outdone, Brantley made a similar diving catch in right field but he had the gumption to throw a laser to first base to catch New York baserunner Aaron Judge for the double play to end the top of the seventh inning.

Yuli Gurriel smashed a three run homer in the first inning to open the scoring and the Astros also turned a double play to end the top half of the eighth inning and preserve a two run lead.

Houston starter Brad Peacock pitched 1 2/3 innings giving up two hits and one run before the relievers took over. The bullpen kept New York in check until LeMahieu tied it in the ninth with a two-run homer to right field.

Yankees starting pitcher Chad Green lasted just one inning after he surrendered the home run to Gurriel. Green allowed two hits and three runs and walked one.

First baseman LeMahieu won a 10-pitch confrontation, which included fouling off four two-strike pitches.

When Astros closer Roberto Osuna left a pitch over the middle of the plate, LeMahieu drilled it 351 feet the opposite way just over the right field fence for a game-tying home run that silenced the crowd.