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Astros take commanding 3-1 ALCS lead over Yankees. Springer, Correa homers key 8-3 win.

Zack Greinke, bullpen hold Yankees

MLB: ALCS-Houston Astros at New York Yankees Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The Astros just won their third straight game in the ALCS, the last two in the contrary confines of Yankees stadium. They took Game 2 by the stingiest of margins, 3-2, on an extra inning walk-off homer, they won the second 4-1, and they took tonight’s contest 8-3.

So, in order, a one run win, a three run win, and last night, a five run win.

Any bets that today the Astros win by seven behind Justin Verlander?

The difference between last night’s game and the previous two was that tonight the Astros had men on base when they hit their dingers. It helps. Game two was decided by Springer and Correa solo shots, but tonight they each had three run homers, more than enough run production to provide the margin for victory.

But let us not forget another fine job by the pitching staff, especially starter Zack Greinke who, although not getting deep into the game, kept the Yankees at bay by preventing them from capitalizing on their scoring opportunities. That’s a fancy way of saying he was clutch, or maybe the Yankees weren’t.

The Yankees smelled blood in the first inning, but all they got was a small scratch. Greinke, usually a master of control, had trouble with the strike zone to start the game. He allowed three walks and a bloop single, and walked in a run for the Yankees. However, he stranded the bases loaded with a strikeout of Gary Sanchez, depriving the Yankees of a chance to blow the game open early.

After that Greinke would shut the Yankees down through 3.1 more innings until helped arrived in the fifth.

Meanwhile the Astros took the lead in the third inning on a George Springer home run that scored Robinson Chirinos, who had walked, and Josh Reddick, who singled in front of Springer. It was Springer’s 13th career post-season homer.

In the fifth inning the Yankees stranded the bases full again, this time with not even one run to show for it. Greinke gave up a single to the pesky DJ LeMahieu, and then a walk to Aaron Judge. Manager AJ Hinch then lifted Greinke for Ryan Pressly, a very risky move considering Pressly’s recent knee surgery and post-season meltdowns.

Pressly promptly walked the first batter he faced to load the bases, but he then struck out Gleyber Torres and Edwin Encarnacion to end the inning.

A return to All Star from for Ryan Pressly is a major key for success in this series and the World Series likely to come. Pressly seemed to have his normal velocity and good action on the breaking ball, a great harbinger.

The Astros added three more runs in the sixth inning on Carlos Correa’s three run homer. Before Correa’s shot, Alex Bregman reached base on an error by first baseman Lemahieu, one of four by the Yankees last night. This was followed a Yordan Alvarez single, his first hit of the series, followed by the Correa homer, his second of the series.

These were Correa’s 30th career post-season RBI, the most of any Astro in history.

The Astros added a run in the eighth inning after a Bregman lead-off double was followed by two Yankee errors that allowed him to score. They added their final run in the ninth when Jose Altuve got on base on an error and then scored on a Michael Brantley single.

Besides the two run homer allowed by Josh James to Gary Sanchez in the sixth inning, the bullpen had another remarkably successful game. After James, Will Harris, Joe Smith and Roberto Osuna all held the Yankees scoreless.

Turns out, the bullpen has proven not to be the Astros’ weak link in this series that many feared it would be.

It was another game of wasted offensive opportunities for both teams, but especially the Yankees. They were 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position, and left the bases loaded twice, getting only one run out of those situations.

But the Astros were 3 for 14 with RISP, and also left the bases loaded twice, scoring nothing from either opportunity.

Today we get a reprise of the Game 2 pitching match up, Justin Verlander vs James Paxton.

Game time 7:07 CDT

Box score and videos HERE