HOUSTON (AP) - Carlos Correa and the Houston Astros are relentless at the plate and in the field.
That’s why they are so tough to beat in the playoffs.
Correa hit a two-run double during Houston’s five-run seventh inning, and the Astros beat the Chicago White Sox 9-4 on Friday for a 2-0 lead in their AL Division Series.
Kyle Tucker homered and drove in three runs as the Astros moved within one win of their fifth straight appearance in the AL Championship Series. Alex Bregman had two hits and scored twice, and Jose Altuve made a couple of big plays.
Game 3 of the best-of-five series is Sunday night in Chicago.
The Astros grabbed the lead for good on Yordan Alvarez’s tiebreaking RBI single off Aaron Bummer (0-1) with one out in the seventh. Craig Kimbrel then took over and retired Yuli Gurriel before Correa’s drive to right sailed just past a sprinting Leury García.
Correa screamed and gestured to the crowd to yell with him as he reached second. The star shortstop is eligible for free agency after this season, and it’s going to be quite costly for the AL West champion Astros to keep him.
Tucker then punctuated the inning with a two-run shot into the seats in left, lifting Houston to a 9-4 lead.
The Astros rolled to a 6-1 win in Game 1 behind a splendid start by Lance McCullers Jr. Framber Valdez struggled in Game 2, allowing four runs and seven hits in 4 1/3 innings.
The White Sox grabbed a 4-2 lead with three runs in the fifth. Luis Robert and José Abreu each hit an RBI single, and Yasmani Grandal added a sacrifice fly.
But the Astros tied it in the bottom half on Yuli Gurriel’s two-run single. It was the first hit of the series for the AL batting champion.
The loss drops the AL Central champion White Sox to 0-6 in Houston this season. They are trying to avoid another early postseason exit after they were eliminated by Oakland in the first round last year.
Robert and Tim Anderson had three hits apiece. Abreu, who had been slowed by flu-like symptoms, had two hits and drove in a run.
White Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito permitted four runs and three hits in 4 1/3 innings. He tied a season-high with five walks in his second career playoff start.
Giolito threw complete games in his previous two starts against the Astros, including a three-hitter in a 10-1 victory on July 17.
Houston’s bullpen shut down the White Sox after the early exit by Valdez, with five relievers combining for 4 2/3 innings of four-hit ball. Ryne Stanek (1-0) worked the seventh for the win.
Alvarez, who homered and drove in two runs in Game 1, has been great for the Astros in his return to the postseason. The 2019 AL Rookie of the Year returned this season after being relegated to watching the team’s playoff run on television last year after having surgery on both knees.
Following an off day, rookie Luis Garcia (11-8, 3.30 ERA) starts for Houston in Game 3. The White Sox have yet to name a starter for that game.