Yankees crush Twins in opener
NEW YORK — DJ LeMahieu homered and drove in four runs, Gleyber Torres broke a tie with a two-run double and the New York Yankees extended their October mastery of the Minnesota Twins with a 10-4 victory Friday night in the AL Division Series opener.
Aaron Judge made two diving catches in right field as the AL East champions handed Minnesota its major league-record 14th consecutive playoff defeat — 11 of them to the Yankees since 2004. The second grab thwarted a potential rally and left grateful reliever Zack Britton with both hands on his head to end the top of the seventh, when the Twins were still within striking distance.
Brett Gardner also went deep for the Bronx Bombers in a playoff matchup between teams that finished neck-and-neck this year for the most home runs in baseball history. Minnesota’s Bomba Squad socked 307, one more than New York as both clubs blew away the previous mark of 267 set by the Yankees last year.
Astros down Rays
HOUSTON — Justin Verlander looked every bit the October ace, Jose Altuve polished his postseason resume and the Houston Astros kept rolling, beating the Tampa Bay Rays 6-2 Friday to open their AL Division Series.
The Astros, who won a franchise-record 107 games for the best record in the majors, began their quest for a second World Series title in three years against a Rays team that downed Oakland 5-1 in the wild-card game this week.
Verlander kept up his dominant run this year when he posted an MLB-most 21 wins, allowing just a soft single in seven shutout innings. He struck out eight and improved to 8-0 in 12 career ALDS appearances.
Rays starter Tyler Glasnow had given up just three singles when he walked Josh Reddick on four pitches to begin the fifth. He struck out George Springer, but Altuve then tagged him for a two-run homer, lining a fastball into the left field seats.
Braves even series
ATLANTA — Adding another chapter to his remarkable turnaround season, Mike Foltynewicz threw seven crisp innings before pinch-hitter Adam Duvall hit a two-run homer that carried the Atlanta Braves to a 3-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday, evening the NL Division Series at one game apiece.
Foltynewicz, who spent a good chunk of his summer in Triple-A after a miserable start, has been a different pitcher since returning from the minors. He went 6-1 with a 2.65 ERA over his last 10 starts — a dominating run that carried right into the postseason.
The best-of-five series now shifts to St. Louis, where Mike Soroka gets the ball for the Braves in Game 3 on Sunday against Adam Wainwright.