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Yanks complete heroic comeback, face Astros

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By AFP

Chicago – Didi Gregorius smacked two home runs and the New York Yankees advanced in the Major League Baseball playoffs Wednesday by defeating Cleveland 5-2 while Washington kept its title hopes alive facing elimination as well.

After losing the first two games, the Yankees rallied to defeat the Indians 3-2 in the best-of-five American League Division Series.

Gregorius smacked a solo homer in the first inning and a two-run homer in the third to give the Yankees a 3-0 lead. And after the Indians trimmed the margin to a single run, Brett Gardner added a two-run single in the ninth inning to produce the final margin.

NY relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman, right, hugs catcher Gary Sanchez. (AP | Manila Bulletin)

NY relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman, right, hugs catcher Gary Sanchez. (AP | Manila Bulletin)

”Didi is the one that set the tone,” said Gardner. ”Didi had two big homers for us. Huge win.”

The victory lifted New York into the best-of-seven American League Championship Series against the Houston Astros that opens Friday in Texas. Houston went 5-2 during the regular season against the Yankees.

In the National League, Washington’s Michael A. Taylor smashed a grand slam in the eighth inning to power the Nationals over the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs 5-0, leveling the best-of-five National League Division Series at 2-2.

The victory set up a winner-take-all fifth game Thursday at Washington, with the victor advancing to the National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. That best-of-seven showdown begins Saturday in California.

Nationals right-handed pitcher Stephen Strasburg, who had been the focus of a pre-game drama about whether he would take the mound for the biggest game of his career, collected his first playoff triumph despite battling fever and chills a day earlier.

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