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Sunday, Jul 22, 2018
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Astros rout Yankees to force Game 7 of AL Championship Series

HOUSTON — Justin Verlander pitched seven shutout innings to outduel Luis Severino for the second time, and the Astros bats came alive in their return home as Houston routed the Yankees 7-1 Friday night and forced a decisive Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

The Yankees' C.C. Sabathia (14-5) faces Houston's Charlie Morton (14-7) at 8 p.m. Saturday (FS1) at Minute Maid Park.

After losing three in a row at Yankee Stadium while scoring a total of five runs, the Astros turned again to Verlander, who pitched a complete game in Game 2 of the ALCS. The veteran right-hander delivered again, with a little help from his defense.

Houston knocked out Severino during a three-run fifth inning. After walks to Alex Bregman and Evan Gattis, Brian McCann made his first hit of the ALCS a big one, a one-out ground rule double that broke a scoreless tie. One out later, following a walk to Josh Reddick that loaded the bases, Jose Altuve singled sharply to left to bring in two and make it 3-0.

That was more than enough for Verlander, though he had to work out of trouble in the seventh. After putting the first two Yankees on with a walk and a hit batter, Verlander struck out Aaron Hicks on a sharp slider to end a 10-pitch at-bat. George Springer then saved at least one run by leaping at the track to snag Todd Frazier's long drive to centerfield.

Verlander, who appeared to think the ball was headed out, gave Springer an emphatic salute then waited to greet him after the inning ended.

Aaron Judge homered in the eighth for the Yankees.

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