Yankees thump Astros, cut ALCS lead down to 2-1: Final score, things to know
Aaron Judge and CC Sabathia had big games
The New York Yankees beat the Houston Astros 8-1 on Monday in Game 3 of the 2017 American League Championship Series (GameTracker). The Yankees now trail 2-1 in the best-of-seven series, with Game 4 scheduled for Tuesday evening.
Here's what you need to know about Game 3.
Judge breaks out
It's been a long postseason for Aaron Judge. He entered Monday .129/.270/.258 with 19 strikeouts in 31 postseason at-bats. .
Judge made two outstanding catches and -- oh, by the way -- hit this mammoth home run:
That's Judge's second homer of the postseason, but his first since the AL Wild Card Game, which feels like forever ago. The Yankees sure hope this gets him going -- they're going to need him if they're to complete this comeback.
Sabathia throws gem
One of the most pleasant storylines of the postseason thus far has been CC Sabathia's return to being a somewhat important part of the Yankees. That narrative continued with his latest start.
Sabathia wasn't perfect by any means, yet he recorded a quality start against baseball's best offense by tossing six innings, allowing three hits and four walks, and striking out five. Sabathia also accomplished a super-specific team feat:
On the postseason, Sabathia has now struck out 19 batters in 15 ⅔ innings. Impressive stuff from a fellow who, to this point in time, may or may not have thrown his final regular-season pitch.
Before Judge's homer stole the show, the Yankees got on the board thanks to a slightly less impressive home run -- a three-run shot in the second inning by Todd Frazier. Take a look:
As a horde of Yankees fans on Twitter noted, Frazier's home run had the appearance of a Yankee Stadium cheapie, but it actually traveled farther than the home run Carlos Correa hit in Game 2. Nonetheless, Frazier's homer was an oddity for him for reasons other than its appearance -- it's one of the few times he's exited stage right all season:
Perhaps Frazier figured there's no time like the present to do something crazy.
Yanks 2-out magic
Here's a fun fact: all the runs the Yankees scored on the night came with two outs. Here's a funner fact: the Yankees have been the kings of two-out runs all postseason long. In fact, they've already scored more two-out runs than the Chicago Cubs did last October:
You might remember that Cubs team -- they won the World Series in seven games.
Well before the game moved into boat-race territory, Didi Gregorius achieved a number of firsts in the first inning: his first bunt hit of the season, and later his first pickoff of the season.
The pickoff was particularly notable, if only because it stemmed from a Willie Mays Hayes-like slide that saw Gregorius' momentum come to a complete halt. Didn't matter all the same.
Yankees' odds improve
It should go without saying that the Yankees don't have great odds of winning the series. Historically, teams who take a 2-0 lead in a best-of-seven series tend to win more than 80 percent of the time. Still, the Yankees did improve their odds with a victory. Teams who have trailed 2-1 in a best-of-seven series have later won the series about 30 percent of the time.
Those aren't great odds by any means, but the Yankees have beat the odds more than any other franchise has throughout their duration:
On to Game 4
With that squared away, the Yankees will look to tie the series at two apiece on Tuesday. Sonny Gray will take the mound for New York. Houston hasn't announced its starter, Dallas Keuchel. The game will start at 5 p.m. ET.
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