The Yankees bats came to life on Monday night, including big home runs from Todd Frazier and Aaron Judge, and also got a great start from CC Sabathia to get a win in Game 3 of the ALCS.
The Yankees benefited from big hits and strong pitching to get their first win of the series in a dominating 8-1 win over the Astros in Game 3. Judge and Frazier both hit three-run homers while Sabathia pitched six innings while only allowing three hits to the Astros.
The top of the first inning got underway with George Springer swinging on the first pitch, which resulted in a groundout. Alex Bregman followed and despite an extended at-bat went down swinging, followed by Jose Altuve who also struck out, making it a 1-2-3 inning for Sabathia. Didi Gregorius put down a two-out bunt against Charlie Morton for a single but was caught leaning at first base to end the inning.
Evan Gattis drew a two-out walk in the top of the second but was left stranded as Sabathia was able to strike out Marwin Gonzalez to end the half inning. Starlin Castro reached on a two-out infield single in the bottom of the inning, followed by a bloop single by Aaron Hicks to center. Frazier capitalized on the situation, hitting an opposite-field homer to right field to give the Yankees the early 3-0 lead, their first lead of the series before Morton was able to get out of the inning.
Springer drew a two-out walk in the top of the third and moved to third on a single by Bregman, followed by a walk by Altuve to load the bases. Sabathia was able to strand all three, though, getting Carlos Correa to pop out to end the threat. Altuve made a fantastic diving stop on a ground ball by Gregorius and threw it over to first which was originally ruled not in time, but after a review was reversed for the second out of the inning. Morton got a groundout by Gary Sanchez to send the game to the fourth still 3-0 in the Yankees favor.
In the top of the fourth, Yuli Gurriel hit a ball to right field that carried nearly to the seats but was hauled in by Judge as he crashed into the wall. The Astros grounded and flew out to get Sabathia through the half inning on just seven pitches. Greg Bird led off the bottom of the inning with a ground rule double down the left field line, then moved to third on a fly out by Hicks. Frazier walked, putting runners on first and third with two-outs, followed by a single from Chase Headley to put the Yankees up 4-0. Morton hit Brett Gardner with a pitch to load the bases, prompting A.J. Hinch to go to Will Harris in the bullpen to face Judge. Frazier came across on a wild pitch, making it 5-0 Yankees before Judge hit his second postseason home run to give the Yankees a commanding 8-0 lead before Harris was able to finally get the last out of the inning.
The Astros stranded two more runners in the top of the fifth after a leadoff walk by Josh Reddick and single by George Springer. Collin McHugh came in in relief in the bottom of the inning and was able to get the first 1-2-3 inning of the night for Astros pitching.
Correa led off the sixth with an infield single, then advanced to third on a throwing error by Gregorious allowing Gonzalez to reach first with two outs. They became the seventh and eighth Astros stranded on base, however, as Reddick grounded out to end the top of the inning. McHugh was able to record another scoreless inning in the bottom half, leaving the score 8-0.
With CC Sabathia’s excellent night done, Adam Warren took over for the Yankees to start the seventh and was able to work around a leadoff walk to Cameron Maybin to get through the inning. McHugh returned for his third inning of work and put the Yankees down in order.
Adam Warren remained on the mound for the top of the eighth and despite a couple of loud outs to deep center field was able to get the Yankees three outs away from their first win of the series. Collin McHugh, despite issuing a walk, had another hitless inning in the bottom half, making it four straight for him on the night.
Dellin Betances came in to pitch the ninth for the Yankees, but after back-to-back walks was pulled in favor of Tommy Kahnle. Maybin singled to load the bases, then the Astros got their first run of the night on a walk to Bregman. Kahnle was able to end the threat by getting Altuve to ground into a double play to end the game and seal the 8-1 win for the Yankees.
Game 4: First pitch of Game 4 will be a little earlier tomorrow, scheduled for 4:08 PM Central and can be seen on FS1. The Yankees will start Sonny Gray who had a record of 10-12 this year with a 3.55 ERA. Gray’s first postseason start was not a great one, he was the starter in the 4-0 loss in Game 1 of the ALDS against the Indians where he went just three and one-third innings and gave up three runs and four walks. The starter for the Astros has not yet been announced but will likely be either Brad Peacock or Lance McCullers.