NEW YORK -- Back in the Bronx, the big guys delivered.
Greeted by an array of "All Rise" signs in a ballpark that fits their style, Aaron Judge hit a three-run home run and made a pair of sparkling catches, leading CC Sabathia and the New York Yankees over the Houston Astros 8-1 Monday night and cutting their deficit to 2-1 in the American League Championship Series.
Todd Frazier hit a go-ahead, three-run home run into the short porch in right field in the second against Charlie Morton.
The 6-7 Judge entered in a 4-for-31 (.129) postseason slump that included 1 home run, 4 RBI and 19 strikeouts. The slugger capped a five-run fourth with a laser of a drive to left field off Will Harris, and he robbed Yuri Gurriel and Cameron Maybin of extra-base hits.
Sabathia, almost as big at 6-6, allowed three hits over six scoreless innings for his first postseason victory in five years. The Yankees stopped a seven-game ALCS losing streak dating to Sabathia's victory over Texas in 2010.
After a pair of 2-1 losses in Houston, the Yankees led 8-0 after four innings. The Yankees are 4-0 at home this postseason.
"Just the energy, the fans," Sabathia said. "They've been bringing it every night in the playoffs, and you can feed off of that."
Houston scored on a bases-loaded walk in the ninth before Jose Altuve grounded into a game-ending double play with the bases loaded.
Sonny Gray starts Game 4 for New York on 11 days' rest today against Lance McCullers.
Frazier got the Yankees rolling, taking an awkward hack at a low, outside fastball and slicing it into the seats.
"That was unorthodox, but I'll take a hundred like that," Frazier said. "The wind was going a little crazy."
Judge used his height and long left arm to make a leaping catch with his left shoulder slamming into the right-field wall against Gurriel starting the fourth.
"He'll go through a wall for you," Frazier said.
Being a rookie, he politely waited outside the dugout for all the veterans to descend the steps after the third out -- as he always does -- then capped a five-run bottom half of the inning with a laser that just cleared the left-field wall.
Then in the fifth, he sprinted into short right for a diving backhand catch of Maybin's fly ball.
Sabathia relied on the sharp, slow slider that has helped revive the former flame-thrower's career.
Pitching with caution to Houston's dangerous lineup, he walked four, struck out five and pitched shutout ball for the first time in 21 career postseason starts. During the regular season, he was 9-0 in 10 starts after Yankees' losses.
"Smoke and mirrors," Sabathia said.
Adam Warren followed with two hitless innings. Houston has just 15 hits over the first three games and is batting .169 in the matchup.
Morton was chased after 3⅔ innings and allowed 7 runs and 6 hits -- including three infield singles, a bloop single to center, a double that Maybin allowed to fall in left and Frazier's home run.
Frazier entered 7 for 18 against Morton with 2 home runs. With Frank Sinatra's version of "Fly Me to the Moon" as his walk-up music, Frazier hit not quite a moonshot in the second inning, driving a pitch just 18½ inches above the dirt 365 feet with pretty much just his left arm. That gave the Yankees their first lead of the series.
He remembers sitting in the seats at old Yankee Stadium watching Jim Leyritz's 15th-inning home that beat Seattle in the 1995 playoffs.
"It's such a cool feeling," Frazier said. "Goosebumps."
Starting eight right-handed batters against Sabathia, Houston loaded the bases with two outs in the third on a pair of two-out walks around Alex Bregman's single. But Carlos Correa popped out on a fastball in on his fists.
"I know he likes to get his hands extended," Sabathia said.
New York broke open the game in the bottom half of the fourth inning. Chase Headley hit a run-scoring infield single -- ending an 0-for-28 slide by New York designated hitters in the postseason. Brett Gardner was hit on a leg by a pitch, loading the bases, and Harris came in and threw a wild pitch that allowed Frazier to come home from third.
Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge leaps to snag a fly ball by Astros designated hitter Yuli Gurriel during the fourth inning of Game 3 of the ALCS on Monday in New York. New York won 8-1 and trails in the series 2-1.
"Judge did what Judge has done 50-plus times, which is hit the ball out of the ballpark when he gets a pitch to hit," Astros Manager A.J. Hinch said.
Sports on 10/17/2017
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