Series comeback complete as Yankees strike early and late

Sports | 13 Oct 2017

Didi Gregorius hit two home runs and the New York Yankees advanced in the Major League Baseball playoffs by defeating Cleveland 5-2 while the Washington Nationals kept their 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 belted a solo homer in the first inning and a two-run homer in the third to give the Yankees a 3-0 lead. After the home team trimmed the margin to one run, Brett Gardner hit a run-scoring single in the ninth inning. A fifth run was scored on the play as Todd Frazier raced home on a throwing error.

"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 AL championship series against the Houston Astros starting tomorrow (HK time) in Texas. Houston won five of their seven regular-season meetings with the Yankees.

After Gregorius launched the Yankees to the early lead, the Indians answered in the fourth as Austin Jackson singled, advanced on a Jay Bruce single and scored on a Roberto Perez single.

Giovanny Urshela singled in Bruce to pull Cleveland within 3-2 and the Yankees removed pitcher CC Sabathia for David Robertson, who induced an inning-ending double play.

Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman got the final six outs.

In the National League, Washington's Michael Taylor smashed a grand slam in the eighth inning to power the Nationals over the World Series champions Chicago Cubs 5-0.

That leveled the division series at 2-2 and set up a decider this morning in Washington.

Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg collected his first playoff triumph despite battling fever and chills a day earlier.

Strasburg struck out 12 and surrendered only three hits with two walks over seven shutout innings.

He kept the Cubs hitless for the first 5 2/3 innings.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

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