Martin Maldonado is congratulated by José Altuve after his solo home run in the fifth inning. (Ashley Landis)
George Springer hit two home runs, Puerto Rican wide receiver Martín “Machete” Maldonado added a solo homer and the Houston Astros were within one victory of returning to the American League Championship Series with a 5-2 win over the Oakland Athletics. in the second game of the Division Series held at Dodger Stadium.
Up 2-0, Houston will have a chance to eliminate AL West champion Oakland on Wednesday. The Astros won the first game 10-5 with two homers by Puerto Rican shortstop Carlos Correa.
Correa also contributed in the second with an RBI in the fourth after a ground out in first to advance the runner from third base to plate.
Starter Framber Valdez scored the win with a five-hit, two-run ball in seven innings.
The Astros are 4-0 in the playoffs after advancing in the wild-card series with two wins over the Minnesota Twins, monarchs of the AL Central.
Springer ultimately gave the Astros the lead with a two-run fire with two outs in the third inning. For the second day in a row, the thermometer reached 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 Celsius) at Dodger Stadium.
Maldonado's solo home run in the fifth act ended the work of Sean Manaea, who took the loss in his first postseason appearance. Venezuelan Yusmeiro Petit took the mound and soon allowed Springer's second home run of the game, extending Houston's lead to 5-2.
Maldonado yelled and raised his right arm to celebrate from the dugout.
Springer's 17 home runs in the postseason allowed him to overtake Nelson Cruz and Jim Thome for the most in a player's first 54 games in the playoffs . Five of Springer's home runs in the postseason have come at Dodger Stadium, where the Astros beat Los Angeles in Game 7 of the 2017 World Series.
Houston improved to 7-3 at Dodger Stadium since that Fall Classic. Mike Fiers, current pitcher for the Athletics, revealed last year that his former team had resorted to stealing signals in 2017. It sparked a scandal and sparked animosity from fans and rivals against the Astros.
For the Astros, the Venezuelan José Altuve 3-0. Strap 3-0 with an RBI, Maldonado 3-1 with a run scored and a RBI.
For the Athletics, Ramón Laureano 3-0.