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ALCS: New York Yankees seize lead with 5-0 win over Houston Astros

By
Larry Fleisher, The Sports Xchange
New York Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka punches his baseball glove after pitching the 7th inning against the Houston Astros in Game 5 of the 2017 MLB Playoffs American League Championship Series Wednesday at Yankee Stadium in New York City. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
New York Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka punches his baseball glove after pitching the 7th inning against the Houston Astros in Game 5 of the 2017 MLB Playoffs American League Championship Series Wednesday at Yankee Stadium in New York City. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

NEW YORK -- Masahiro Tanaka pitched seven outstanding innings and the New York Yankees scored four runs against Dallas Keuchel in a 5-0 victory over the Houston Astros in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series on Wednesday.

The Yankees lead the best-of-seven series 3-2. They are one win from their 41st pennant and the first since beating the Los Angeles Angels in 2009.

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Game 6 is Friday in Houston and Justin Verlander awaits New York's lineup.

Tanaka (1-1) posted his second postseason win by allowing three hits and working out of a few minor threats. He struck out eight and walked one in a 103-pitch outing as New York improved to 6-0 at home in the postseason.

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Keuchel (1-1) took a 13-inning postseason scoreless streak against the Yankees into the game and it lasted one more inning before Greg Bird hit an RBI single.

Aaron Judge drove in his 10th run of the postseason with a double in the third before Gary Sanchez and Didi Gregorius added RBI singles in the fifth.

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New York's final run scored on Sanchez's third postseason homer in the seventh.

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Keuchel lost for the first time in five postseason starts. He allowed four runs and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings, getting knocked out early after holding the Yankees to one hit in seven scoreless innings during Game 1 last Friday.

The Yankees scored their first postseason run off Keuchel with two outs in the second. After Starlin Castro doubled to deep left, Bird lined a single to right field.

New York took a 2-0 lead with one out in the third as Brett Gardner raced home from first and executed a headfirst slide into the plate on Judge's double down the left field line.

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The Yankees extended it to 3-0 with two outs in the fifth. After a walk to Judge that put runners at first and second, Sanchez lined a single to left field and Chase Headley scored.

The lead grew to 4-0 when Gregorius placed a single up the middle just under Jose Altuve as the second baseman attempted to make a diving stop.

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Sanchez capped the scoring with a long homer into the left-field seats.

In between runs, Tanaka escaped a few times.

With the game still scoreless, Yuli Gurriel was on third with two outs in the second, but Tanaka retired Carlos Beltran and Marwin Gonzalez on groundouts.

Three innings later, the Astros put two on with one out, but Tanaka struck out George Springer and Josh Reddick, keeping Altuve and Carlos Correa from coming up with runners on.

NOTES: New York INF prospect Gleyber Torres began hitting after his recovery from Tommy John surgery on his left elbow. Torres tweeted a photo of himself in the cage that said: "After long months of recovery, I can finally hit again and that makes me super happy." ... Houston 2B Jose Altuve was on base for the ninth straight postseason game when he reached on an error in the first inning. ... Former New York and Houston LHP Andy Pettitte threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

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