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Stanton, Judge power Yankees past Guardians, into ALCS

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New York Yankees designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton (27) is congratulated by outfielder Aaron Judge after hitting a three-run home run against the Cleveland Guardians in Game 5 of their American League Division Series on Tuesday at Yankee Stadium in New York. Photo by Ray Stubblebine/UPI
New York Yankees designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton (27) is congratulated by outfielder Aaron Judge after hitting a three-run home run against the Cleveland Guardians in Game 5 of their American League Division Series on Tuesday at Yankee Stadium in New York. Photo by Ray Stubblebine/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 19 (UPI) -- Giancarlo Stanton smashed a three-run homer in the first inning to spark a dominant win over the Cleveland Guardians in an ALDS finale, guiding the New York Yankees into an ALCS matchup with the Houston Astros.

The designated hitter's 379-foot shot to right, paired with a 394-foot solo blast from outfielder Aaron Judge in the second, gave the Yankees an insurmountable lead in the 5-1 triumph Tuesday at Yankee Stadium in New York.

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"We definitely had to throw the first punch in a game like this," Stanton told reporters. "There were runners in scoring position. I just had to make sure I got a good pitch to hit."

Yankees starter Nestor Cortes allowed just three hits and one run over five innings to stifle the Guardians offense. Judge went 2 for 4 with an RBI and a run scored. The 2022 MLB home run champion was the only Yankees player to record more than one hit in Game 5.

"I felt a lot of pressure," Cortes said. "I knew our season was on the line. ... I was a little nervous because I knew the fans were waiting for our victory. It was an incredible atmosphere and incredible feeling."

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Guardians starter Aaron Civale lasted for just 1/3 of an inning. He allowed two hits and three runs, with a walk and a strikeout, in the first.

Civale walked Yankees second baseman Gleyber Torres to start the bottom of the first. He then struck out Judge, before hitting first baseman Anthony Rizzo with a pitch. Stanton smacked his three-run shot three pitches later.

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Judge hit his long ball off a 1-0 curveball from Guardians reliever Sam Hentges in the bottom of the second.

Veteran third baseman Jose Ramirez plated the Guardians' lone run with an RBI sacrifice fly in the top of the third. Rizzo drove in the final run of the night when he plated Torres with an RBI single in the bottom of the fifth.

Yankees relievers Jonathan Loasigia, Clay Holmes and Wandy Peralta allowed just five hits and no runs over the final four innings to clinch the victory.

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The Yankees will battle the Astros in Game 1 of the best-of-seven game ALCS at 7:37 p.m. EDT Wednesday at Minute Maid Park in Houston. The winner of the series will meet the Philadelphia Phillies or San Diego Padres in the World Seres. The Phillies own a 1-0 lead in the NLCS.

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New York Yankees beat Cleveland Guardians for ALDS title

The New York Yankees' Giancarlo Stanton (L) is congratulated by Aaron Judge after hitting a three-run homer in the first inning to give the Yankees a 3-0 lead against the Cleveland Guardians in Game 5 of their American League Division Series at Yankee Stadium in New York City on Tuesday. The Yankees beat the Guardians 5-1. Photo by Ray Stubblebine/UPI | License Photo

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