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Tanaka bests Keuchel, Yankees go up 3-2

(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

NEW YORK (AP) Masahiro Tanaka pitched seven innings of three-hit ball and the New York Yankees finally solved Houston Astros nemesis Dallas Keuchel, beating the ace lefty 5-0 on Wednesday for a 3-2 lead in the AL Championship Series.

Gary Sanchez hit an RBI single off Keuchel and later homered to help the wild-card Yankees win for the third straight day at home and move within one victory of their first trip to the World Series since 2009.

The teams head back to Houston for Game 6 on Friday night, when Justin Verlander and the reeling Astros will try to regain their footing following an off day and force a decisive Game 7. Luis Severino is scheduled to start for New York.

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Dodgers eye sweep of Cubs, World Series

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs have a history of coming from behind when their season is on the line.

If the Cubs -- who erased a three-games-to-one deficit in the 2016 World Series to capture their first championship since 1908 -- are to return to the Fall Classic, they will have to pull off a comeback achieved just once in baseball history.

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Slumping Astros eager to return home

NEW YORK (AP) The Houston Astros will be happy to get home after a three-day bashing in the Bronx that left Jose Altuve flinging his bat and Josh Reddick slamming his helmet.

Not even Dallas Keuchel could prevent New York from sweeping three games at Yankee Stadium and returning to Texas with a 3-2 lead in the AL Championship Series. Game 6 is Friday night.

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La Russa leaving role with Diamondbacks

PHOENIX (AP) Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa is leaving the Arizona Diamondbacks organization.

La Russa served as chief baseball officer from 2015 to 2016 and became chief baseball analyst when the new regime of general manager Mike Hazen and manager Torey Lovullo arrived last spring.

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Twins to decline '18 option on P Perkins

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) The Minnesota Twins have told reliever Glen Perkins they will decline their $6.5 million option on his contract for 2018 and pay him a $700,000 buyout.

The Twins announced the decision Wednesday, moving Perkins closer to retirement.

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Ethier 'honors the game,' then rewarded

CHICAGO (AP) Andre Ethier put his teammates on notice before the first pitch of the playoffs: win the World Series or watch one of the best seasons in Dodgers history go down as a bust.

Then he put his bat where his mouth was.

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BoSox's Ramirez, Rodriguez have surgery

BOSTON (AP) The Red Sox say designated hitter Hanley Ramirez and pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez are recovering from offseason surgical procedures.

The team said Tuesday that Ramirez underwent an arthroscopic procedure on his left shoulder, and Rodriguez had ligament reconstruction in his right knee. Both surgeries were performed by Dr. James Andrews in Florida.

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Cubs' Maddon stands by not using Davis

CHICAGO (AP) Cubs manager Joe Maddon stood by his decision not to use All-Star closer Wade Davis in Chicago's loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 2 of the NL Championship Series and questioned the criticism coming his way.

Maddon insisted Monday that Davis was only available for one inning in a save situation. He dismissed the second guessing, a day after John Lackey gave up a three-run homer to Justin Turner in the ninth to send Los Angeles to a 4-1 win and a 2-0 series lead.

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Dodgers' dominant 'pen is baffling Cubs

LOS ANGELES (AP) A year ago, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was attempting to get through the late innings of tight playoff games with long appearances by closer Kenley Jansen, a hodgepodge of veteran relievers and one desperate bailout from ace Clayton Kershaw.

One October later, Los Angeles' bullpen is downright dominant as the team steamrolls toward the World Series.

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