Before the game, it was announced that (surprise!) Giancarlo Stanton was good enough to play, and he replaced Edwin Encarnacion in the lineup as the DH. Didn’t make any difference, though.
CC was taken off the roster, and his career is officially over. Ben Heller replaced him.
The Yanks only got five hits in the game, but four came in the first inning, two of them homers, and it was enough was James Paxton threw a gem and the Yanks forced a Game 6 tonight in Houston with a 4-1 victory.
The top of the first was sloppy. An infield single that looked as if it should have been fielded by Paxton. A PB to move the runner up. A groundout to move him to third. A walk, a WP that allowed the runner to score and move the other to second. With Justin Verlander pitching for Houston, you wondered if one or two runs would be enough for him to close out the series.
Two lineouts to the outfield ended the inning.
D.J. LeMahieu tied up the game right away by hitting Verlander’s second pitch of the game for a HR. Aaron Judge walked and Gleyber Torres doubled Judge to third. Stanton struck out, and the fear was that the Yanks were on their way to wasting a big chance.
But Aaron Hicks lined one off of the right field foul pole for a three-run HR and the Yanks were up 4-1.
Both starters settled down after that, but because of Hicks’ shot, the Yanks had the upper hand.
With two out in the bottom of the sixth, Robinson Chirinos hit one deep to left that, for a moment, looked like it would cut the Yankees’ lead to 4-3. But just like with Didi Gregorius’ drive for the Yankees the other night, it died just short of the fence.
Tommy Kahnle got into a little trouble in the top of the seventh, but Zack Britton cleaned up the mess and he and Aroldis Chapman closed it out.
No starters have been announced for Game 6 yet, as it appears both teams will be using “openers” in a battle of the bullpens. It appears as if Chad Green may start, but after him (only one inning?) the Yanks may turn to the likes of Happ, Cessa, Loaisiga, even Heller to piece it to Britton and Chapman. Both teams would be holding back their aces for a potential Game 7—Gerrit Cole for Houston, Luis Severino for the Yankees.
Gary Sanchez may want to get away from the Bronx cheers. Sanchez, slumping badly, was 0 for 3 with 3 strikeouts. He is 2 for 20 with 11 strikeouts in the series.
Hicks 3-run HR
Paxton (WIN) 6 IP, 1 R, 4 H, 4 W, 9 K.
Kahnle (HOLD) 1/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 W, 0 K.
Britton (HOLD) 1 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K.
Chapman (SAVE) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K.
So each team has won a blowout, each team has won a 4-1 game. That 3-2, 11 inning loss by the Yanks to Houston in Game 2 is the one thing separating the two teams right now. The Yanks have scored 17 runs in the five games and are hitting .199. Houston has scored 16 runs and is hitting .178.
Just a thought. With Houston not having any lefties at all on their staff for this round, maybe the Yanks should have or could have found a way to get Mike Ford on the roster? I understand, you weren’t taking him over Edwin Encarnacion, but Edwin’s 1 for 15 with 8 strikeouts in the series. As they say, hindsight is always 100%.