Yankees survive another day with Game 5 win
Don’t count the New York Yankees out yet.
Behind a four-run first-inning rally against Justin Verlander and a bounce back outing from James Paxton, New York kept its season alive with a 4-1 victory against the Houston Astros in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series.
The Astros still lead the series 3-2, meaning the Yankees will face another must-win in Game 6 on Saturday at Minute Maid Park.
All of the game’s scoring came in the first inning. After Houston scored one in the top half, DJ LeMahieu greeted Verlander with a rocket home run to the short porch in right field. Aaron Judge and Gleyber Torres followed with a pair of solid hits, which set the stage for Aaron Hicks to deliver New York’s biggest blast of the series. The outfielder lined a three-run home run off the right-field foul pole to give the Yankees the lead.
Paxton deserves credit for maintaining order in the first inning. The veteran left-hander’s outing got off to a sloppy start following his own misplay, a passed ball by catcher Gary Sanchez and a walk to Michael Brantley. That set the table for Houston’s lone run. Paxton avoided further damage and was able to clean things up moving forward, stringing together five scoreless innings to close out his outing.
Tommy Kahnle, Zack Britton and Aroldis Chapman combined for three innings of scoreless relief to guarantee a return to Houston.
WHO MADE THE DIFFERENCE
Paxton’s 112 pitches were the most in a game by any Yankee pitcher this season.
— Jeff Quagliata (@yestoresearch) October 19, 2019
The prized offseason acquisition went six innings, allowing one run on four hits to go along with four walks and nine strikeouts.
Hicks’ home run may have been a season-saver for New York. There was no bigger or more must-see moment in Game 5.
WHAT THEY’LL BE TALKING ABOUT
The Yankees resilience was on display again. We saw it throughout the regular season. Despite a record-setting number of injuries, many of which occurred to key, every day players, the Yankees managed to win 103 games. Now, with their backs against the wall in October, the Yankees found a way to solve Verlander and slow down Houston’s offense just enough to stay alive.
Can they do it again in Game 6?
Winning was the only thing that mattered on Friday. Going into Game 6, manager Aaron Boone might have to consider changing up his lineup. Giancarlo Stanton returned from a quad issue but was unproductive, going 0 for 3 with two strikeouts. Catcher Gary Sanchez is struggling mightily as well. He was 0 for 3 with three strikeouts and is 2 for 20 overall in the series.
Due to the rain out on Wednesday, the teams will immediately fly to Houston for Game 6. First pitch is scheduled for 8:08 p.m. ET. All indications are that both teams will go with bullpen games rather than rush Game 3 starters Gerrit Cole and Luis Severino back on short rest.