Judge, Hicks lead Yankees in late rally over Astros as Braves, Dodgers win

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Aaron Judge hit a game-winning single to cap a four-run ninth inning for the New York Yankees in their 7-6 win over the Houston Astros on Thursday.

Aaron Hicks started the late rally for the Pinstripes, tying the game with a three-run home run off Astros closer Ryan Pressly.

Alex Bregman and Giancarlo Stanton traded three-run homers in the first inning, while Yordan Alvarez also added a three-run shot in the third off Jameson Taillon to put the Astros ahead.

The Yankees took the opener of a highly anticipated four-game series between the American League's two best records with the win, as the Astros kick off a six-game stand in New York, taking both games from the Mets earlier this week in Houston.

The American League leaders moved to 52-18 for the season and claimed their 19th win in the past 22 games, heading into Judge's in-season salary arbitration on Friday.

Swanson seals win for Braves

Dansby Swanson hit two home runs for the Atlanta Braves, who were able to hold out against the San Francisco Giants in a 7-6 victory.

Swanson had three hits and three RBIs as the Braves built a 7-1 lead coming into the fifth inning. Six Giants players scored multiple hits, with Austin Slater's home run starting the rally in the fifth.

They were not able to capitalise on the higher hit count however, as the Braves moved 11 games over .500 with their 18th win in the past month.

Freeman fires Dodgers to victory

Freddie Freeman's form continued in the absence of Mookie Betts, leading the way for the Los Angeles Dodgers in their 10-5 win over the Cincinnati Reds.

Freeman claimed a home run and three RBIs, moving his OBP for the season to a team-leading .386, while Max Muncy and Trea Turner each tallied three hits.

Clayton Kershaw allowed just one run and seven hits in six innings for the National League West leaders, striking out seven in 80 pitches and lowering his ERA for the season to 2.00.

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