Published: Sat, October 19, 2019
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Scrappy Yankees win Game 5

Scrappy Yankees win Game 5

But somehow, with the Yankees' backs against the wall in Game 5 of the ALCS, it was Hicks delivering the biggest hit of the night, a three-run home run off of Justin Verlander that proved to be the difference in a 4-1 win over the Astros.

After lasting just 2 1/3 innings in Game 2, Paxton struck out nine in six innings, allowing four hits and four walks.

Verlander managed to strike out Giancarlo Stanton, back in the lineup as a designated hitter, but Hicks belted a three-run home run off the right field foul pole.

Center fielder Aaron Hicks followed up on LeMahieu's opening gambit with a three-run homer that sent fans into a frenzy.

After the Astros grabbed a 1-0 lead Friday against James Paxton in the top of the first, Verlander gave up four hits to his first five batters - three for extra bases. NY trailed 3-1 in the best-of-seven series, and, even if the Yankees had advanced, Sabathia would not be eligible to return to the active roster.

After saving their season with strong pitching on Friday, the New York Yankees will hope to push the American League Championship Series as far as it can go by winning a bullpen battle in Game 6 on Saturday. However, Hinch said that Cole, his Cy Young candidate who has not lost a start since May 22, will not get the call in what would have been his first career start on three days' rest.

Tanaka allowed four runs - three earned - for NY, his most in eight postseason starts. I needed to see the fastball to get comfortable, and that's kind of where the confidence started to build that all I needed to do was see the pitch and read the pitch.

All the scoring came in the first inning. "It definitely had a lot more spin on it than I thought, but it was able to stay fair and put us up right there".

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NY trailed 3-1 in the best-of-seven series, and even if the Yankees advance, Sabathia would not be eligible to return for the World Series.

Houston's Zack Greinke (18-5, 2.93 ERA) is scheduled to take on New York's Masahiro Tanaka (11-9, 4.45 ERA).

The official word from the team is that Sabathia suffered a "left shoulder injury", the announcement coming after an 8-3 defeat to the Astros that left the Yankees just one loss.

"I'm extremely confident in our bullpen", Verlander said.

The win sent both teams back to Houston for a quick-turnaround game made necessary by a rainout Wednesday. Hardly a prized jewel in Houston's farm system entering the year, the 24-year-old from Mexico hadn't pitched above Class A before this season, yet he shot through Double-A and Triple-A to crack the postseason roster.

"Ultimately, the goal is to create those opportunities", Boone said.

Both teams will save their ace starting pitchers - New York's Luis Severino and Houston's Gerrit Cole - to pitch Game 7 on full rest.

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