UPDATE: Pettitte has groin strain, out 4-5 weeks

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9:11 PM:  Yankees GM Brian Cashman says Pettitte could be out four-to-five weeks due to the left groin strain that he suffered Sunday.  This from The Journal News.  Sergio Mitre, Dustin Moseley and prospect Ivan Nova are options to replace him.

5:13 PM:  Pettitte has been diagnosed with a Grade 1 strain of his left groin, according to Peter Botte of the New York Daily News.  Yanks manager Joe Girardi said that he’s likely to land on the disabled list.

2:48 PM:  Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse reports that Pettitte has a strained left groin.  He may need a 15-day stint on the disabled list.

2:44 PM:  According to Erik Boland of New York’s Newsday, Yankees veteran Andy Pettitte left Sunday’s start against the Rays in the middle of the third inning due to an apparent groin injury.  The lefty was ineffective before exiting, allowing six hits and three earned runs in 2.1 innings.  Dave Robertson replaced him.

The Yanks currently hold a two-game lead in the American League East over Tampa Bay, but losing Pettitte for an extended period of time and having to replace him with someone from the bullpen or farm system would obviously hurt. 

Pettitte is 11-2 this season with a 2.88 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP, even when you factor in Sunday’s shortened effort.  He has also fanned 90 batters in 115.2 innings while issuing only 38 walks.

Astros push ALCS to Game 7 with 7-1 stunner against Yankees

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There’s just something about playing in your home ballpark. The Astros decimated the Yankees at Minute Maid Park on Friday, riding seven scoreless innings from Justin Verlander and a pair of big runs from Jose Altuve to win 7-1 and force a Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

Through the first four innings, however, the teams looked equally matched. Luis Severino no-hit the Astros through 3 2/3 innings, losing his bid on Carlos Correa‘s line drive single in the fourth. The Astros returned in the fifth to do some real damage, drawing two walks and plating the first run of the night with Brian McCann‘s ground-rule double off of the right field wall. Things didn’t get any easier for Severino. Jose Altuve lined a two-RBI base hit into left field, upping Houston’s advantage to three runs.

Verlander, meanwhile, muted the Yankees’ offense with seven innings of five-hit, eight-strikeout ball. While he didn’t come close to matching his complete game effort in Game 2, he was still plenty dominant against a struggling New York lineup. No player reached past first base until the sixth inning, when a pair of base hits from Chase Headley and Didi Gregorius gave the Yankees their first runner in scoring position. That didn’t last long, though, as Gary Sanchez grounded out on a 3-0 slider to end the inning.

In the seventh, Houston’s ace got into another spot of trouble. He walked Greg Bird on six pitches to start the inning, then plunked Starlin Castro on the wrist. Aaron Hicks struck out, in part thanks to a questionable call by home plate umpire Jim Reynolds, but it was Todd Frazier who presented the biggest threat after returning an 0-1 fastball for a 403-foot fly out to left field. Luckily for Verlander, George Springer was there to bail him out with a leaping catch at the wall.

The Yankees kept things exciting in the eighth, too. Aaron Judge ripped his third postseason home run off of Brad Peacock, taking a 425-footer out to the train in left field to spoil the Astros’ shutout. That was the only real break the Yankees got, however, as Altuve, Alex Bregman and Evan Gattis returned in the bottom of the inning to tack on another four runs, including Altuve’s solo shot off of David Robertson:

Ken Giles handled the ninth, expending 23 pitches and giving up a base hit and a walk before retiring Frazier and Headley to end the game. Thanks to Houston’s winning efforts, the two teams will compete in their first seven-game Championship Series since 2004 — and this time, at least one of them is guaranteed to come away with a win.

Game 7 of the ALCS is set for Saturday at 8:00 PM ET. Houston right-hander Charlie Morton (14-7, 3.62 ERA) is scheduled to face southpaw CC Sabathia (14-5, 3.69 ERA).