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Astros use long ball to take 2-1 series lead on Twins

MINNEAPOLIS — Jose Abreu hit one postseason home run in nine seasons with his former team.

On Tuesday, he hit two homers with his new club, helping the Astros cruise to a 9-1 win over the Minnesota Twins in Game 3 of the American League Division Series, moving Houston one victory away from advancing.

The former Chicago White Sox slugger finished 2-for-5 with five RBIs.

“This is a ballpark that I know well,” Abreu said.

Yordan Alvarez finished 3-for-5 with two doubles, a homer and an RBI for the Astros, who grabbed a 2-1 advantage in the best-of-five series. Alex Bregman went 2-for-5 with a home run and two RBIs.

Willi Castro drove in the lone run for the Twins, who lost at home for the first time in three games this postseason.

Houston will try to close out the series on the road in Game 4 on Wednesday.

“That’s the kind of club we have,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “It’s a very confident club, not a cocky club. We don’t showboat too much. We just play.”

Astros right-hander Cristian Javier (1-0) struck out nine batters in five scoreless innings. He walked five but allowed only one hit.

Twins right-hander Sonny Gray (1-1) surrendered five runs (four earned) on eight hits in four innings. He walked one and struck out six.

The Astros attacked Gray for four runs in the first inning.

Kyle Tucker opened the scoring with an RBI single to left field to drive in Jose Altuve. Tucker’s hit put runners on first and third base with one out for Abreu, who crushed a 442-foot homer to left field to increase Houston’s advantage to 4-0.

“Before you know, it was 4-0, and that was a big part of the game,” Gray said. “The crowd did what they could. They did a great job of trying to get us back in it, but they came out and just kind of shut it down for us pretty early. Then we were fighting an uphill battle from there.”

Houston made it 5-0 in the fifth. Bregman led off the inning with a shot just past the wall in left field for his 16th career playoff homer and his first this postseason.

Bregman notched his second RBI of the game one inning later. He ripped a one-out single to center field to score Jeremy Pena, who reached on a leadoff walk and advanced to third on a single by Martin Maldonado.

The Twins cut the deficit to 6-1 in the sixth. Carlos Correa singled, advanced to second on a walk by Matt Wallner and scored on a single to right by Castro.

Alvarez ripped a solo homer in the ninth. It was his 10th career postseason blast and fourth in three games this series.

After Tucker walked, Abreu finished the scoring with a two-run shot. He turned on a 91-mph fastball for a 440-foot home run to left-center field for his second long ball of the game.

–Tom Musick, Field Level Media

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