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Astros soar, post 2-0 edge

LOS ANGELES (AFP) — Houston Astros banked on Alex Bregman’s three-run home run and Framber Valdez’s steady pitching to book a 3-2 victory over the New York Yankees to take a commanding lead in their Major League Baseball playoff series on Thursday.

With the win, the Astros grabbed a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven American League Championship Series. Game 3 is set on Saturday in New York.

The Yankees have their work cut out at home against a team that has been their nemesis in recent post-seasons. The Astros, in the ALCS for the sixth straight season, have eliminated the Yankees from the playoffs twice in that span, in 2017 and 2019.

Bregman’s homer was all the backing Valdez needed. The left-handed hurler struck out nine, his only mistakes fielding errors that allowed the Yankees to score two unearned runs in the fourth inning.

He bobbled a slow ground ball from Giancarlo Stanton then made a wild throw to first, putting runners at first and third.

Anthony Rizzo and Gleyber Torres took advantage, driving in two Yankees runs.

By then, Bregman had already put the Astros ahead, crushing a two-out fastball from Yankees starting pitcher Luis Severino 360 feet and over the left-field wall at Minute Maid Park.

It was Bregman’s 14th career post-season homer, but he wasn’t aware until after the game that it gave him the most among third baseman ever in the playoffs, surpassing longtime Dodger Justin Turner.

“He’s one of the best pitchers in the game and I was just fortunate enough to put a good swing on it,” Bregman said.

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