Astros bash past A’s, win ALDS in four games

LOS ANGELES — The Houston Astros hit four more home runs Thursday and advanced to their fourth consecutive American League Championship Series with an 11-6 victory over the Oakland Athletics at Dodger Stadium.Houston, which took the best-of-five AL Division Series in four games, will meet the Tampa Bay Rays or the New York Yankees for the league title beginning Sunday in San Diego.Michael Brantley homered twice, giving the Astros their third player with a multi-homer game in four ALDS contests. Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve also hit home runs in Game 4. Correa went deep twice in the series opener, and George Springer hit a pair of home runs in Game 2.The 24 home runs combined between the teams set a division series record, breaking the previous mark of 22 set by the New York Yankees and Seattle Mariners in 1995. It also was the most homers in a series of five games or fewer, regardless of round.The A’s received two home runs from Ramon Laureano and initially set the division series record for home runs by a single team with 12. The Astros matched it when Altuve went deep with the game in hand in the seventh inning.After blowing a three-run lead and losing in Game 3 to extend the series, the Astros jumped out to a 7-4 lead in the fifth inning Thursday and finished off the A’s from there.Oakland looked determined early, taking a 3-0 lead in the second inning on a three-run blast from Laureano. A’s players credited Laureano for inspiring their Game 3 victory after he gave a speech in the dugout when Oakland fell behind.However, his early blast could not slow the Astros’ offense, which scored five times in the fourth to take the lead. Altuve led off the inning with a walk before Brantley hit a two-run blast to right center field. Correa added a three-run shot to left for the lead.