The Houston Astros, a surprise success early in the Major League Baseball season before cooling off, will get to keep playing after knocking out the New York Yankees 3-0 in a one-game wild card playoff.
Solo home runs by Colby Rasmus in the second inning and Carlos Guzman in the fourth inning gave Houston an early lead, and starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel gave up just three hits while striking out seven in six innings of work.
Both home runs came off of the Yankees’ Masahiro Tanaka. Carlos Beltran and Alex Rodriguez, batting third and fourth, struck out four times.
The Astros will open the divisional series against the Kansas City Royals on Thursday, with the game airing on Fox Sports 1.
The Astros last advanced in 2005, before the wild card games were added. They eventually lost in the World Series to the Chicago White Sox. That was also the team’s most recent trip to the playoffs, with a decade of futility — including three 100-loss years — between then and this season.
For the Yankees, the loss will make this the team’s sixth straight season falling short of the World Series, the longest gap since a long dry spell from 1982 to 1995.
At a press conference after the game, New York manager Joe Girardi said his team had struggled against left-handed pitching all season, and that the season had been hard on the Yankees, with several playing through injuries.