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Altuve’s walkoff blast ends Yankees season in ALCS

HOUSTON — DJ LeMahieu gave the Yankees life with a game-tying two-run blast in the ninth, but Jose Altuve quickly ended any hope of a comeback with a two-run home run of his own, off Aroldis Chapman, to send the Astros to their second World Series in three years.

Chapman easily got Houston’s 8-9 hitters out, but a walk to George Springer set-up Altuve for the game-winning blast in the bottom of the ninth inning. This now locks in a matchup between the Astros and the Washington Nationals in this year’s World Series.

On the other hand, it’s a heartbreaking end to the season for the 103-win Yankees. They came into the year with the highest of expectations and ultimately fell short of their goal.

The night did not start out well with Chad Green allowing a three-run home run to Yuli Gurriel to open the ball game, but like they always do, the Yankees began chipping away.

Gary Sanchez stroked an RBI-single in the second for the Yankees’ first run, while Gio Urshela homered in the fourth to cut the deficit to just a single run.

The Bombers, however, were unable to score more off a shaky Jose Urquidy before the pitcher eventually settled in and made quick work of the Yankee batters.

Houston then padded its lead in the sixth when Altuve came in to score on an Alex Bregman force out. It was some questionable defense from the Yankees, who were not playing the infield in at the time.

Careless play once again plagued the Yankees in the seventh when it looked like a chance to rally back. Aaron Judge led-off the frame with a single but after Gleyber Torres fouled out, Aaron Hicks blooped a fly ball to left field that Michael Brantley miraculously caught. To add salt to the wound, bad baserunning by Judge allowed Brantley to double him up at first and end the inning.

With Roberto Osuna on the mound in the ninth, it looked all but over for the Bombers. Urshela singled to start it off but Brett Gardner struckout to leave New York with two more chances.

Then DJ happened. In what turned out to be an amazing ten-pitch at-bat, LeMahieu tied the game with one swing, lifting a home run that just went over the glove of a leaping George Springer. It brought the energy back to the dugout and gave Yankee fans everywhere hope.

However, in the bottom of the ninth, Altuve got to Chapman. Looking back, it was weird of Chapman not to pitch around Altuve, knowing Jake Marisnick, who had just come in for defense was on deck. But what’s done is done and the Yankees have all offseason to think about what could’ve been.

Brian Cashman will have a lot of interesting decisions to make this Winter, which include the free agency of guys like Didi Gregorius and Dellin Betances. CC Sabathia will also be retired and same could be said for Brett Gardner and Edwin Encarnacion if they choose to go that route.

The biggest question mark, though, will be whether or not the Yankees will finally be willing to open their wallet for an elite pitcher like Gerrit Cole. Only time will tell.

See you all next Spring.