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Astros hit 2 3-run HRs for 3-1 ALCS lead

(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

NEW YORK (AP) They have the pitching, and they don't need the pitches. Certainly, the Houston Astros have confidence for good reason on the brink of another World Series.

"It's Justin Verlander," reliever Ryan Pressly said.

George Springer and Carlos Correa each hit three-run homers and the Astros got another wild ace off the hook to beat the disheveled New York Yankees 8-3 Thursday night and reach the cusp of a second World Series visit in three years.

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Yanks sloppy, listless in Game 4 loss

NEW YORK (AP) CC Sabathia threw a cutter to George Springer and grimaced from the pain in his left shoulder, then covered his face with his glove as he walked to the dugout after what was likely the final pitch of his career.

Three-time Gold Glove winner DJ LeMahieu and Gleyber Torres each made a pair of errors.

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Hinch: Sign stealing suspicion 'a joke'

NEW YORK (AP) Astros manager AJ Hinch blew his own whistle Thursday on sign stealing and pitch tipping: He's had enough of allegations about Houston hitters going out of bounds to decipher what's coming at the plate.

Hinch eagerly weighed in again on an issue that won't seem to go away this postseason. He was asked before Game 4 of the AL Championship Series about reports that indicated the New York Yankees suspected the Astros of whistling from their dugout during the opener to communicate pitch selection to their batters.

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Cubs shake up front office roles

CHICAGO (AP) The Chicago Cubs shook up their player-development operation, with Matt Dorey taking over as senior vice president of player development and directors of pitching and hitting being appointed.

Dorey, Chicago's director of amateur scouting the past six years, was previously a scout for the Boston Red Sox and a college coach.

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Indians C Perez undergoes ankle surgery

CLEVELAND (AP) Indians catcher Roberto Perez had surgery to remove bone spurs in his right ankle.

The team said Perez underwent the arthroscopic procedure Thursday in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The 30-year-old Perez is expected to be fully recovered by spring training in February.

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Angels, Maddon agree to 3-year deal

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) Joe Maddon is back under the halo.

Maddon agreed to a three-year deal to become the Los Angeles Angels' manager on Wednesday, reuniting the World Series-winning former bench boss of the Chicago Cubs with the organization where he spent the first three decades of his baseball career.

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Boone: Sánchez 'excellent' behind plate

NEW YORK (AP) Yankees manager Aaron Boone wasn't sure Wednesday what his lineup for the next day's Game 4 of the AL Championship Series would look like.

Gary Sanchez will be behind the plate, though - whether many in the Bronx want it that way or not.

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Nats sweep Cards, reach 1st World Series

WASHINGTON (AP) As the Washington Nationals moved a party 86 years in the making from their ballpark's infield to a booze-filled clubhouse, manager Dave Martinez paused near the dugout and thrust the silver NL Championship Series trophy overhead, to the delight of loud, delirious fans still in the stands.

Who would have thought this was possible five months ago, when the team was flailing, trade talk was swirling around Washington and folks figured Martinez's job was in jeopardy?

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Ruth's 500th-HR bat up for auction

LOS ANGELES (AP) The bat used by Babe Ruth to slug his 500th career home run in 1929 is going up for auction, nearly 75 years after he gave it to a friend whose family has kept it ever since.

Ruth became the first player to reach the coveted plateau on Aug. 11, 1929, hitting a solo shot for the New York Yankees off Willis Hudlin at League Park in Cleveland.

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