Houston sinks Chicago and caresses the SC

HOUSTON – Carlos Correa and the Astros are looking relentless on the bat and on defense. This is why it is so difficult to beat them in the playoffs.

The Puerto Rican hit a two-run double during a five-touchdown attack in the seventh inning, and Houston beat the Chicago White Sox 9-4 on Friday night to extend their AL Division Series lead to 2-0.

Kyle Tucker hit a home run and produced three runs to bring the Astros within one win of playing the AL Championship Series for the fifth time in a row.

Alex Bregman had two hits and a couple of runs scored, while Jose Altuve made a couple of great plays.

The third game of the series is scheduled for Sunday in Chicago.

The Astros finally took the lead in the seventh inning with one out when Yordan Alvarez hit an RBI single off Aaron Bummer (0-1).

Craig Kimbrell quickly climbed onto the mound and retired Cuban Yuli Gurriel before Correa’s drive sent the ball into right field, just out of reach of Leury Garcia.

Correa yelled and gestured for the audience to increase the decibels after reaching second. The star shortstop could be declared a free agent after this season, and it would be costly to keep him for the West Division monarchs Astros.

Tucker capped the big inning with a two-run homer, which deposited the ball between the seats in left field, for Houston to take the lead 9-4.

The Astros won the first game 6-1, thanks to a good start from Lance McCullers Jr. In contrast, Framber Valdez struggled in the second game, allowing four runs and seven hits in 4 1/3 innings.

The White Sox took a 4-2 lead with three runs in the fifth inning. Cubans Luis Robert and José Abreu each contributed RBI singles, and compatriot Yasmani Grandal added a sacrifice fly.

But the Astros tied for the bottom on a two-run single by Gurriel. It was the first hit of the series for the American League batting champion.

Central Division champion Chicago fell to 0-6 in Houston this season. He’s trying to avoid another early elimination, after losing to Oakland last year in the first round.

For the White Sox, the Cubans Robert 4-3 with two runs scored and one RBI, Abreu 4-2 with an RBI, Grandal 3-0, Yoán Moncada 4-0. The Dominicans Eloy Jiménez 4-1 with an RBI, Garcia 4-1 with a run scored. The Venezuelan César Hernández 1-0.

For the Astros, the Venezuelan Altuve 4-1 with two runs scored. The Cubans Álvarez 2-1 with one scored and one RBI, Gurriel 4-1 with one scored and two produced. The Puerto Ricans Correa 3-1 with two runs scored and two RBIs, Martín Maldonado 4-0.