Victory over Yankees gives Astros belief ahead of possible postseason matchup

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Yordan Alvarez was full of belief that the Houston Astros could beat the New York Yankees, even before they went out and swept a double-header.

Houston claimed two wins over the American League leaders on Thursday, triumphing 3-2 and 7-5 respectively at Minute Maid Park.

That puts the Astros to within two and a half games of the Yankees, with the best records in the American League having gone head-to-head.

The Astros have now moved to a 5-2 record for the season against the Yankees, who have now lost seven of their past 10 games.

Alvarez homered in the second game and, along with Alex Bregman, combined for five RBIs as Houston won for the 61st time this season.

"I'm not going to say it doesn't mean anything," Alvarez told reporters.

"They're a really good team, but we also know we're a really good team as well.

"Beating them feels good, but we know that we’re capable of doing it."

The next time the teams face off could be in the postseason, with the Astros - thanks to their positive season series record - holding home-field advantage should that be the case.

"We were trying to chase a team and wanted to really win this first game, and that put us in a position that if we end up tied, we won the tiebreaker," said Astros coach Dusty Baker after the first game, having taken a risk by utilising his best pitchers in the early encounter.

"We really didn't want to take that into the second game. We went through our bullpen in the first game and that's why it was important for us to win it."

The Astros and Yankees faced off in the 2017 American League Championship Series, with the home team winning all seven games and Houston triumphing. Two years later, the Astros again succeeded, this time thanks to a walk-off home run from Jose Altuve in Game 6.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone understands the recent history of the rivalry, though his hope of claiming two victories failed to come to fruition.

"I'm aware of that, but it doesn't change the fact that we're going to try to win this game and win the night game," Boone said before the games.

"We're in the business of being the best team we can be right now and trying to win every time we are out there."

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