Yankees earn split in Baltimore to remain atop AL East

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There was nothing settled in Baltimore this weekend: the Yankees crushed the Orioles 13-3 on Sunday to earn a split of the four-game series and maintain a one-game lead in the AL East.

Curtis Granderson and Derek Jeter homered in the rout.

The Yankees took a 5-0 lead in a four-run fourth inning that included a pair of bases-loaded walks. Baltimore came right back with three runs in the bottom of the frame, but that amounted to all of the team’s scoring on the day. The Yankees turned it into a laugher by scoring two in the seventh and five in the eighth.

Granderson became the first Yankee since at least 1918 to knock in five runs in a game in which he didn’t start. He pinch-hit for Andruw Jones after the Orioles replaced left-hander Zach Britton and had a solo homer, a two-run single and a two-run double in his three at-bats.

The Cubs’ David DeJesus and the Athletics’ Seth Smith have also had five-RBI games off the bench this year.

Joba Chamberlain got his first win of the year for the Yankees after relieving Freddy Garcia in the fourth and pitching 1 2/3 scoreless innings.

While nothing was settled in the standings this weekend, it will likely prove to be a costly series for both teams. Nick Markakis is out six weeks with a broken thumb after being hit by a CC Sabathia pitch, and Mark Teixeira could be done for at least the regular season after aggravating his calf Saturday night.

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).