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Justin Verlander (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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Yankees can’t solve Verlander, Astros force ALCS Game 7

ALCS Game 7 is Saturday night in Houston. The winner advances to the World Series.

The American League Championship Series returned to Houston Friday night with the New York Yankees needing one game to advance to the World Series. That win did not come Friday as the Astros, behind starting pitcher Justin Verlander, defeated New York to force a Game 7.

For the second time this series, Verlander dominated the Yankees. This was the type of moment the Astros envisioned when they acquired Verlander from the Detroit Tigers at the MLB Trade Deadline. The veteran kept the Yankees off the scoreboard through seven innings, while giving up five hits and one walk. He struck out eight.

After throwing over 120 pitches in a Game 2 win, Verlander was visibly running out of gas near the end of the seventh, having thrown 99 in this game.

The Yankees had a chance in the seventh, down 3-0, when they had two runners on and one out. Todd Frazier drove a Verlander pitch deep to centerfield. George Springer, however, leaped against the wall, robbing Frazier of an extra-base hit and the Yankees of some runs.

Yankees starter Luis Severino starting off the game matching Verlander zero-for-zero. In fact, he was probably out-pitching Verlander until the fifth. He had not allowed a hit until a two-out single by Carlos Correa. In any game, walks will come back to haunt you, and that’s what happened to Severino.

Severino led off the fifth by walking Alex Bregman. He then issued a one-out walk to Evan Gattis. Former Yankee catcher Brian McCann then doubled in a run (his first hit of the series). Another walk loaded the bases. MPV candidate Jose Altuve then laced a two-out, two-run hit to give Houston the 3-0 lead.

Chad Green relieved Severino and was once again dominant, throwing 2 1/3 scoreless innings, striking out three.

The Yankees pulled within 3-1 after their own MVP candidate, Aaron Judge, crushed a solo home run. That was as close as New York would get.

David Robertson took the mound in the eighth and gave up four runs on four hits and was unable to record an out. Dellin Betances took over and pitched a scoreless inning, but the Astros had already built a 7-1 lead.

Whats Next?

The series now goes to Game 7, Saturday night at 8:08pm. The Yankees will have veteran left-hander C.C. Sabathia on the mound against Astros starter Charlie Morton. Sabathia has not lost a game following a Yankees loss all season. He is 10-0 in such games this season, including the postseason.

Saturday’s game will be the fifth elimination game the Yankees have played already this postseason, obviously winning all to this point.

The winner of Game 7 will advance to play the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series. Game 1 is scheduled for Tuesday night in LA.

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