Frazier, Judge power Yankees over Astros

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Todd Frazier of the New York Yankees celebrates hitting a 3-run home run against the Houston Astros during the second inning in Game Three of the American League Championship Series, at Yankee Stadium in New York, on October 16, 2017

Home runs from Todd Frazier and Aaron Judge powered the New York Yankees to an 8-1 victory over the Houston Astros on Monday and back into their American League Championship Series.

After dropping the first two games of the best-of-seven series in Houston, the Yankees bounced back before a sell-out crowd of 49,373 at Yankee Stadium to trim the Astros' series lead to 2-1.

Aaron Judge, the rookie sensation and AL Most Valuable Player candidate, broke out of his playoff slump with a two-out, three-run home run off of Astros relief pitcher Charlie Morton that highlighted a five-run fourth inning.

Judge came up big defensively as well, with a leaping catch into the right field wall in the top of the fourth that denied Yuli Gurriel at least an extra base hit and possibly a home run.

Judge's diving catch of a ball hit by Cameron Maybin gave the Yankees their first out of the fifth.

Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia pitched six gritty, scoreless innings.

Frazier gave Sabathia some early breathing room with a two-out, three-run homer off of Astros starting pitcher Charlie Morton in the bottom of the second inning.

Judge came into the game in a 4-for-31 slump in these playoffs -- including 19 strikeouts -- said he was pleased to provide support for Sabathia.

"It felt good to put a couple more runs on the board for CC," Judge said of his home run. "He was working his butt off, did a great job tonight, and just to add those extra couple of runs was huge for us."

Sabathia allowed three hits in six scoreless innings, striking out five. He's 10-0 this season when pitching following a Yankees defeat.

The 37-year old pitcher was making his 22nd post-season start, and produced his first scoreless playoff outing.

"It's weird," he said. "Me being 37, smoke and mirrors, getting a shutout. "I wanted to come out and try to give it everything I could to throw strikes and have a good performance."

New York took the lead in the second. Starlin Castro sparked the two-out rally with an infield single. Aaron Hicks followed with a single to left-center before third baseman Frazier smacked a fastball that was down and outside into the right field stands.

"That home run I hit, it was unorthodox, but I'll take a hundred like it," he said.

- 'Swing happy' -

While the Astros' big bats struggled -- Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa were a combined 1-for-8 at the plate -- Houston avoided being blanked when they posted their lone run in the ninth on a bases-loaded walk by Alex Bregman.

"CC was really good because he didn't make a lot of mistakes," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "He can pitch with the elevated fastball. He's got a pretty good breaking ball, especially when he gets you in the swing mode.

"We were a little swing happy tonight against him and he took advantage of being able to pitch to the outer parts of the strike zone."

The Yankees will try to level the series when they host game four on Tuesday.

The winner of the series will face either the Los Angeles Dodgers or Chicago Cubs in the World Series.

The Dodgers lead the reigning champion Cubs 2-0 in the National League Championship Series with game three on Tuesday in Chicago.