HOUSTON ( Associated Press) — Yordan Alvarez flexed his mighty bat again, propelled a two-run homer off Luis Castillo by two runs, and the Houston Astros beat the Seattle Mariners 4-2 on Thursday night. American League Division Series 2–0.
Alvarez was the hero of Game 1 with a three-run shot on Robbie Ray, eventual winner of the AL Cy Young Trophy, with two outs in the ninth inning.
That hit gave Houston an 8-7 victory in a game the Astros lost by four.
Castillo, received from the Reds before the trade deadline, arrived in the match after a 7 1/3 scoreless innings against Toronto in the wild-card round. This time, the Dominican allowed an early home run by Kyle Tucker, although he gave up some more and entered the sixth inning to lead 2–1.
But with two outs, Jeremy Pea took a single. The ball fell between second baseman Adam Frazier and Dominican center fielder Julio Rodriguez.
Castillo bent down and slapped his feet in a display of despair that a spontaneous ball had been hit.
Next came Alvarez, who found a pitch at 98 mph and sent the ball through left field and into the gantry as the Astros took a 3–2 lead.
Alvarez, who had 37 homers in the regular season, circled around the bases with TV cameras pointing at his parents, who are in their first postseason series since arriving from Cuba in August. The left-hander pointed to that spot in the stands as he reached home plate.
Then, he mimicked the power swing with which he kept the Astros within their sixth straight American League Championship Series victory.
For the Mariners, Dominican Julio Rodriguez 5-1, Carlos Santana 3-1 with an RBI. Eugenio Suarez of Venezuela scored 3-0 with one run.
Venezuela’s Jose Altuve 4-0 for the Astros. Dominican Jeremy Pea scored two runs at 3-2. Cubans’ Yordan Alvarez scored 3–1 and two RBIs, Yuli Guriel 3–0, Aldamis Diaz 3–1. Puerto Rican Martin Maldonado 3-0.