Aaron Judge and Todd Frazier both hit three-run home runs while CC Sabathia threw six solid innings as the Yankees blew out the Houston Astros 8-1 in Game 3 of the ALCS on Monday at Yankee Stadium. >> Read more
Despite being held to two runs and 10 hits in Games 1 and 2, the Yankees exploded for three runs in the second inning and five runs in the fourth as they remained undefeated at home in the postseason and cut the series deficit to 2-1.
After Starlin Castro and Aaron Hicks both hit two-out singles off Astros starter Charlie Morton in the bottom of the second inning, Frazier lunged to hit a 1-1 fastball over the right-field fence to give New York a 3-0 lead.
In the fourth inning, Chase Headley recorded the first hit by a Yankees designated hitter this postseason by driving in Greg Bird with a two-out single. Morton then hit Brett Gardner to load the bases and was replaced by Will Harris, who threw a wild pitch that scored Frazier and then surrendered a 371-foot home run to Judge that blew the game wide open.
The eight runs were more than enough support for Sabathia, who struck out five batters and allowed three hits and four walks in six scoreless innings.
Sabathia, who allowed two runs and five hits in 4 1/3 innings in Game 5 of the ALDS, retired eight of the first nine batters he faced before running into trouble in the third inning. He issued two two-out walks and a single to load the bases for Carlos Correa, who popped up to short to end the threat.
Adam Warren threw two scoreless innings of relief. Dellin Betances walked the only two batters he faced in the ninth inning before Tommy Kahnle entered, walked in a run and then induced a game-ending double play.
Morton allowed seven runs and six hits in 3 2/3 innings, while Colin McHugh pitched four scoreless innings of relief for Houston.
The script was perfectly set up: Sabathia, the Yankees' stopper on the mound and Judge back in the Bronx.
Sabathia was dazzling again, this time benefitting from a ton of run support to lock down a win. The Yankees seem to exude confidence with Sabathia on the mound, and with good reason. Sabathia moved to 10-0 with a 1.69 ERA in 13 starts (79 2/3 innings) this season including the postseason when following a loss.
The Yankees sure hope that he has at least one more start coming to him in Yankee Stadium this season. Regardless, it is becoming very clear that he has a chance to be a part of the 2018 Yankees' rotation after a solid regular season and an incredible postseason thus far.
Judge is simply a different player at home. It's not that he plays poorly on the road; he simply raises the bar a notch in Yankee Stadium. Despite two more strikeouts (21 for the postseason), Judge drilled a line drive into the left field seats for a three-run home run, his first of the ALCS and second of the postseason. The homer was wedged between two tremendous catches in right field -- the first, Judge was full-out running, then jumped and slammed into the wall, while the other saw him charging in and then laying out for a diving catch.
With two more games now ensured in Yankee Stadium, Judge could continue to pull out of a massive slump, and could help propel the Yankees back to Houston with the lead in the ALCS.
Sonny Gray (10-12, 3.55 ERA) will pitch for the Yankees and face Lance McCullers (7-4, 4.25 ERA) in Game 4 of the ALCS on Tuesday at 5:08 p.m. at Yankee Stadium.
Gray makes his first postseason appearance since allowing three runs and three hits in 3 1/3 innings in Game 1 of the ALDS on Oct. 5.
McCullers hasn't pitched for the Astros since Game 3 of their ALDS vs. the Red Sox when he allowed two runs and three hits in three innings.