Yankees rout Astros to reduce ALCS deficit
Can the New York Yankees mount consecutive playoff series comeback after trailing two games to none? The Bronx Bombers took the first step on Monday, topping the Houston Astros 8-1 in game three of the American League Championship Series.Â
The Yankees rallied from down 2-0 to beat theÂ Cleveland IndiansÂ in the AL Division Series, and now thanks to CC Sabathia, Aaron Judge and Co., New York are right back in the series with two more games at Yankee Stadium, where they had the AL's best home record.Â
Teams that lose the first two games of a best-of-seven series come back to win only 16.2 percent of the time, but if the Yankees' bats can get hot like in game three, look out.Â
JUDGE ENJOYS BREAKOUT GAME
Did Judge's outfield collision finally wake him up? Only half-joking, but Judge madeÂ fans forget about the rest of his playoff struggles after robbing Astros' Yuli Gurriel of a hit when he leapt and caught a line drive before colliding with the right-field wall in the fourth inning. In the bottom half of the inning, Judge came to the plate owning a dismalÂ four-for-31 batting line with 20 strikeouts this postseason, theÂ most before the World Series all-time.
The slugger broke out of his slump with a three-run homer to give the Yankees an 8-0 lead but he was not done. Following his first homer since the wildcard game, Judge again flashed his leather in the fifth, robbingÂ Cameron MaybinÂ of a hit with a diving grab. Judge was not the only one to end a slump. Chase Headley's RBI hit wasÂ the first by a Yankees designated hitterÂ this postseason.
SABATHIA IS YANKEES' GO-TO PITCHER
When the Yankees need a win, they turn to the veteran southpaw. Entering Monday's game, Sabathia wasÂ 9-0 with a 1.71 ERA in 10 starts following Yankees defeats. He was solid in game five of the ALDS and wasÂ dependable again on Monday, spinning six shutout innings with three hits allowed and five strikeouts.Â Sabathia did walk four, including two in the third inning that loaded the bases for the Astros in a then three-run game. ButÂ Sabathia was able to get Carlos Correa to pop out on a fastball to end the inning en route to a historic outing. At 37 years andÂ 87-days-old, Sabathia becameÂ the oldest pitcher with six scoreless inningsÂ in the postseason since Pedro MartÃnez in 2009 NLCS game two.
FRAZIER SINGLE-HANDEDLY LIFTS YANKEES TO EARLY LEAD
Pun intended. The Yankees slugger took advantage of his power and short porch in right field to give New York a 3-0 lead in the second inning with an opposite-field home run. Frazier, who entered with a .389 average and five extra-base hits off Morton, somehow connected on a low-and-away fastball with a reaching swing, managing to hit the ball just 307 feet for the homerÂ despite his right hand coming off the bat.
The home run was the last of three surprising two-out hits for the Yankees in the second inning.Â Starling Castro started the two-out rally with a soft single andÂ Aaron Hicks moved him to second with another softÂ bloop single. It may not have been pretty but the struggling Yankees offence will take any production they can get.Â
ALL RISE FOR YOUR HONOURABLE JUDGE
The All-Star unleashed against the Astros.
ASTROS AT YANKEES
Astros manager A.J. Hinch has yet to name a starter for Tuesday's game four and said it was unlikely he would start ace DallasÂ Keuchel. The Yankees are turning to Sonny Gray, who owns aÂ 5.56 ERA at home with his new teamÂ since coming to New York at the trade deadline.Â