NEW YORK (AFP) - Defending champion Houston and the Los Angeles Dodgers advanced in the Major League Baseball playoffs with lopsided road triumphs Monday while the Boston Red Sox routed the New York Yankees.
George Springer smashed two solo home runs in Houston’s 11-3 romp over the Cleveland Indians, while Manny Machado belted a three-run homer and a run-scoring double to power the Dodgers over the Atlanta Braves by a score of 6-2.
And Boston’s Brock Holt hit for the first playoff game cycle — a single, double, triple and homer — and drove in five runs as the Red Sox hammered out 18 hits in a 16-1 humbling of the host Yankees.
Houston completed a sweep of Cleveland in the best-of-five American League division series, holding the Tribe to six runs on 13 hits over three games.
The Astros will face either the Red Sox or Yankees in the best-of-seven American League Championship Series with the winner advancing to the World Series.
Andrew Benintendi smacked a three-run double to pace a seven-run fourth inning for the Red Sox, who led New York 2-1 and could advance by winning Tuesday.
The Astros outlasted the Dodgers in a seventh-game showdown to win last year’s World Series for their first championship and could yet face a rematch with Los Angeles.
The Dodgers eliminated the Braves in four games and will face the Milwaukee Brewers starting Friday in the National League Championship Series to decide the other World Series berth.
Springer’s solo homers in the fifth and eighth innings gave him eight homers in nine playoff games in a streak dating to last year’s title run, matching a major league playoff record shared by Reggie Jackson, Jim Thome and Carlos Beltran, who did it most recently in 2004.
A two-run double to left field by Marwin Gonzalez in the seventh put the Astros ahead 4-2 and Springer’s solo blast began a six-run eighth inning for Houston, which also included a three-run homer by Carlos Correa.
In Atlanta, the Dodgers took the lead in the first inning on Machado’s run-scoring double.
The Braves answered in the fourth on a two-run single to left field by pinch-hitter Kurt Suzuki.
But Los Angeles reclaimed the lead at 3-2 in the sixth when pinch-hitter David Freese, the 2011 World Series Most Valuable Player with the champion St. Louis Cardinals, smacked a two-run single to centerfield.
Machado blasted his three-run homer in the seventh for a 6-2 lead and Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen baffled Atlanta batters for the final outs.
Boston jumped ahead 3-0 after three innings before breaking open the game in the fourth.
Holt and Vazquez singled and Jackie Bradley walked to load the bases, prompting New York to remove Luis Severino for relief pitcher Lance Lynn, who walked Mookie Betts to plate another Boston run.