The 2022 MLB playoffs are down to just four teams, each vying for a spot in this year's World Series.
The American League Championship Series shifted to the Bronx for Game 3 but saw similar results as the Houston Astros pushed the New York Yankees to the brink of elimination with a 5-0 win on Saturday.
After splitting the opening two games in San Diego, the Philadelphia Phillies have taken both home games over the San Diego Padres. Game 4 on Saturday started wildly with both teams combining for seven runs in the first inning. The game remained back and forth until the Phillies unleashed the big bats and broke it open with a four-run fifth inning.
Astros lead series 3-0
The Astros are a monster juggernaut that looks hard to stop. The depth of Houston's rotation shined on Saturday night when Cristian Javier shut down the Yankees' lineup over the course of 5⅓ innings, allowing just one hit while walking three and striking out five. Houston saw contributions from up and down the lineup, with the totality of the Astros' RBIs coming from their bottom three hitters: Trey Mancini, Christian Vazquez and Chas McCormick, who started the scoring with a two-run homer in the second inning, capitalizing off an outfield error that resulted from a miscommunication.
Meanwhile, New York's offense looked lifeless, managing just three hits all night. While Yankees ace Gerrit Cole looked sharp in the early innings -- the lone runs unearned after the error by Harrison Bader, things began to fall apart in the sixth when the Astros loaded the bases via an Alex Bregman double, Kyle Tucker walk and Yuli Gurriel single. Yankees manager Aaron Boone yanked Cole for Lou Trivino, who allowed all three inherited runners to score. That gave Cole a final line of five runs (three earned), two walks and seven strikeouts in five innings. Given the performance from Javier, Cole needed to be in top form, and he came up short. -- Joon Lee
Astros piling on
After Mancini hit a sacrifice fly to bring in Alex Bregman, Christian Vazquez singled in two more runs. According to ESPN Stats & Information research, Houston has never lost a postseason game in which it scored five or more runs.
THIS train keeps rolling. pic.twitter.com/xOYlI0FMT4— Houston Astros (@astros) October 22, 2022
Yankees starter Gerrit Cole Gerrit Cole exited after allowing five runs, which is tied for the most he has ever allowed in a postseason appearance.
Yankees blunder leads to Astros home run
After a miscommunication by Yankees outfielders Aaron Judge and Harrison Bader allowed Christian Vazquez on base, Chas McCormick launched a two-run shot to put Houston on the board first. It's McCormick's second home run of the series.
Who brought the drip? pic.twitter.com/AYqEdFFKSY— Houston Astros (@astros) October 22, 2022
Philadelphia Phillies 10, San Diego Padres 6
Phillies lead series 3-1
A 4-0 deficit in a playoff game usually feels like the end of the story, especially in this 2022 postseason when runs have been scarce. But the good news for the Phillies: They had nine innings to make up that deficit after the Padres scored four in the top of the first -- and a star-studded lineup to mash baseballs. And boy did they mash. Bryce Harper, Kyle Schwarber, J.T. Realmuto and Nick Castellanos -- all free agents who have been part of the Phillies' spending spree in recent years -- each delivered at least two hits or scored at least two runs. Schwarber and Realmuto both homered and Harper drilled two doubles.
But it was the homegrown kid who delivered the two biggest hits of the night. Rhys Hoskins hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the first off Mike Clevinger to quickly make it 4-2 as fans were still recovering from that disastrous top of the first and then tied the score at 6 with a two-run, 417-foot, fifth-inning homer off Sean Manaea -- merely tossing his bat up in the air this time rather than slamming it into the ground as he did earlier this postseason.
The curious thing about the home run: Why Padres manager Bob Melvin had the left-handed Manaea in the game to face the right-handed Hoskins. Manaea had struggled in the second half with a 6.44 ERA, was bumped from the playoff rotation and was making his first appearance of the postseason. The Padres had a rested bullpen. While it made some sense to use Manaea to start the fifth against the left-handed Brandon Marsh and Schwarber, as soon Manaea walked Schwarber he should have been out of the game with Hoskins and Realmuto due up. Instead, a struggling pitcher -- rather than one of the Padres' flame-throwing relievers -- was left in to face the heart of the Phillies' order.
Hoskins homered, Realmuto walked and Harper laced the go-ahead double to left-center to drive in Realmuto for the go-ahead run. Only then did Melvin finally take out Manaea. In this era when managers now manage with the utmost of urgency, it was a curious lack of urgency. Schwarber and Realmuto would add insurance home runs. Yes, the Padres aren't done, but they face elimination on Sunday with Zack Wheeler going for the Phillies - coming off his brilliant seven-inning, one-hit effort in Game 1. This series might not make it back to San Diego. -- David Schoenfield
Realmuto adds to the lead
BEST. CATCHER. IN. BASEBALL. pic.twitter.com/uOgwIqjkkP— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) October 23, 2022
Schwarber does it again
GREAT JOB KYLE pic.twitter.com/NLHUf99miQ— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) October 23, 2022
112.5 mph. 429 ft https://t.co/ejUOmniuLS— Jesse Rogers (@JesseRogersESPN) October 23, 2022
Hoskins and Harper, oh my
RHYS RHYS RHYS RHYS RHYS RHYS pic.twitter.com/WxDey3P70C— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) October 23, 2022
BRYCE GIVES US THE LEAD!!!!!!!— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) October 23, 2022
THERE'S A REASON HE'S THE MV3 pic.twitter.com/nktsUr6sMf— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) October 23, 2022
Soto goes deep
Juan Soto with his first of the postseason. Phillies had stormed back to tie it 4-4 but now 6-4 Pads. Top 5— Jesse Rogers (@JesseRogersESPN) October 23, 2022
Phillies tie it up
What a start
It was a wild first inning in Game 4 between the Phillies and Padres as both starting pitchers were pulled for just the second time in postseason history.
Phillies lefty Bailey Falter gave up four runs in the top of the inning while getting just two outs while Padres righty Mike Clevinger was sent to the showers in the bottom of the first without getting anyone out. The result was a combined, seven run inning with the Padres coming out on top, 4-3.
It was the first time both starters were pulled that early in a playoff game since Game 4 of the 1932 World Series. -- Jesse Rogers
MV3 is at it again pic.twitter.com/qW4OpWSPp9— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) October 23, 2022
Padres add to their lead
Manny mashes one
Manny Machado opens the scoring in Game 4 with a 379-foot solo dinger in the top of the first. According to ESPN Stats & Information, it's his sixth postseason home run as a Padre, passing Ken Caminiti for the most career playoff homers in franchise history.
Back in the office pic.twitter.com/Sn5ClDtvb7— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) October 22, 2022