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Alex Bregman’s three-run HR all Astros need to take big lead over Yankees in ALCS

Home runs: 3. Small ball: 2.

The Houston Astros produced runs on just one swing, but it was all they needed in their 3-2 victory on Thursday to take a 2-0 lead over the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series.

The Astros were hitless in their previous 19 at-bats with a runner in scoring position, so they made up for lost time as Alex Bregman hit a three-run home run to give Houston a 3-0 lead in the third. In his 5.1 innings, he allowed five hits and one walk while striking out six, and those three runs were all he allowed.

The Yankees immediately put their first two batters in scoring position though in the top of the fourth, thanks to two errors on the same double-play ball by Framber Valdez. Anthony Rizzo’s ground out put the Yankees on the board, and Gleyber Torres’ infield single cut the deficit to a run. That was all the damage they would do off Valdez, who struggled early on, as he made it look like the Yankees had never seen a curveball before when he got going. He struck out nine and allowed just four hits without walking a batter.

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The Yankees had 62-home run hitter Aaron Judge as the lead run at the plate with one out in the top of the eighth inning, but he flied out to right at the top of the wall. Harrison Bader tagged up to move to second, but Giancarlo Stanton struck out to end the threat.

In the top of the ninth, the lead run was at the plate again, this time with two outs in pinch-hitter Matt Carpenter – who entered the night 0-for-6 with six strikeouts in the postseason. He is now 0-for-7 with seven strikeouts, as Ryan Pressly punched out the side to earn the save.

YANKEES’ 17 STRIKEOUTS CONTRIBUTE TO WILD RECORD IN GAME 1 OF ALCS

It is becoming way too prevalent that home runs win – teams that out-homer their opponents in postseason games are 171-32 since 2016.

The Yankees are now 1-8 in Houston in the postseason since 2017. The Astros have taken them out of contention in each of their previous three postseason matchups, dating back to 2015.

Gerrit Cole will be on the bump for the Yanks in Game 3 on Saturday afternoon to avoid an almost insurmountable 3-0 deficit, while the Astros have not yet announced a starter.

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