Playoffs roundup: Abreu powers Astros into 7th straight ALCS with 3-2 victory over Twins

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — José Abreu homered for the third time in two games, a two-run rocket in the fourth inning that launched the Houston Astros to their seventh straight AL Championship Series appearance with a 3-2 win that eliminated the Minnesota Twins in Game 4 of their Division Series on Wednesday night.

José Urquidy gave the playoff-tested Astros another solid postseason start, withstanding home runs by Royce Lewis in the first and Edouard Julien in the sixth to hand the ball to the bullpen.

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Hector Neris and Bryan Abreu combined for five strikeouts over 2 1/3 hitless innings. Ryan Pressly, traded by the Twins to Houston in 2018, struck out the side in the ninth for the save. He froze Max Kepler with a full-count fastball to end it, leaving former Astros star Carlos Correa on deck.

Houston will host in-state rival Texas in Game 1 of the ALCS on Sunday, with three-time Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander scheduled to pitch for the defending World Series champion Astros in his 36th career postseason start.

The Astros, who are 56-34 in the playoffs since 2017, hit 10 homers in the series. Abreu had eight RBIs.

Michael Brantley got Houston started with a solo homer in the second against Twins starter Joe Ryan.

Diamondbacks 4, Dodgers 2

PHOENIX (AP) — Geraldo Perdomo hit the first of Arizona’s record-setting four solo homers in the third inning, and the Diamondbacks swept the 100-win Los Angeles Dodgers out of the playoffs with a victory in Game 3 of their NL Division Series.

The D-backs return to the NL Championship Series for the first time since 2007, where they’ll face either the Phillies or Braves. Arizona — the No. 6 seed after squeezing into the NL playoff bracket with an 84-78 record — has won all five of its games during the postseason, sweeping aside both the Brewers in a best-of-three series and the Dodgers in a best-of-five.

The wild-card Diamondbacks won with brawn in this one, slugging a postseason-record four homers in the third off veteran righty Lance Lynn, all solo shots from Perdomo, Ketel Marte, Christian Walker and Gabriel Moreno.

The NL West champion Dodgers rallied for two runs in the seventh on two-out RBI singles from Chris Taylor and Kiké Hernández off side-armer Ryan Thompson, but lefty Andrew Saalfrank retired Austin Barnes on a groundout.

Paul Sewald closed it out for his fourth save of the postseason.

Phillies 10, Braves 2

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Bryce Harper answered Orlando Arcia’s mockery with a mammoth three-run homer and a solo shot, glaring at the shortstop on each trot around the bases, and Philadelphia routed Atlanta for a 2-1 lead in their best-of-five NL Division Series.

Nick Castellanos homered twice as the Phillies rebounded from their disappointing loss at Atlanta on Monday night. Trea Turner and Brandon Marsh also went deep.

Winning pitcher Aaron Nola and four relievers combined to push the 104-win Braves to the brink of elimination. The Phillies can advance to the NL Championship Series for the second straight season with a win at home Thursday.

Harper gave Philadelphia a 4-1 lead with a three-run drive off starter Bryce Elder in the third. The slugger has nine homers in the past two postseasons. J.T. Realmuto added a two-run double later in the inning.

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