The New York Yankees managed to stay alive in the American League Championship Series and force their way back to Houston, where another tough test awaits. The Yankees will try to force a decisive Game 7 when they visit the Houston Astros for Game 6 on Saturday.
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New York stared down Cy Young candidate Justin Verlander in Game 5 and did all the damage they would require in the first inning, when DJ LeMahieu belted a solo homer leading off the frame and Aaron Hicks added a three-run blast later in the inning. Hicks' homer marked the fifth time in the series that a Yankees batter managed a hit with a runner in scoring position, while lefty James Paxton and a trio of relievers made the runs stand up for a 4-1 triumph. Both teams will be weary with a rainout Wednesday cancelling the travel day between Games 5 and 6, and the Astros, who need one win in the final two games at home to clinch their second AL pennant in three years, will head into Saturday's contest relying on the bullpen to close out the series. Houston manager AJ Hinch told reporters after Game 5 that he would be unlikely to use ace Gerrit Cole until a possible Game 7, when he would be on regular rest, and New York manager Aaron Boone confirmed that he would save Luis Severino for Sunday.
TV: 8:08 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1
PITCHING MATCHUP: Yankees RH Chad Green (1-0, 3.18 ERA) vs. Astros RH Jose Urquidy (0-0, 0.00)
Green made 15 of his 54 appearances during the regular season as an opener and is the most likely to kick off the game on Saturday. The 28-year-old logged a total of 5 2/3 innings in five appearances so far during the postseason and held the opposition scoreless until Thursday, when he surrendered a home run to Carlos Correa. Veteran left-hander J.A. Happ, who started 30 games during the regular season but made both of his postseason appearances as a reliever, could log multiple innings in Game 6 before turning things over to Tommy Kahnle, Zack Britton and Aroldis Chapman at the back of the bullpen.
Urquidy last pitched at Tampa Bay on Oct. 8 - striking out three over 1 2/3 scoreless innings - but started in seven of his nine appearances during the regular season while pitching to a 3.95 ERA. Houston also added veteran right-hander Brad Peacock to the roster for the ALCS and could give him his first action of the 2019 postseason, though he last pitched on Sept. 29 and was used exclusively as a reliever after returning from a shoulder injury in August. Will Harris, Josh James, Bryan Abreu and company will all be available to help get the ball to closer Roberto Osuna.
1. Astros rookie slugger LF Yordan Alvarez is 1-for-19 with 10 strikeouts in the series.
2. Yankees OF Giancarlo Stanton (quad) returned for Game 5 after sitting out the previous three games and went 0-for-3 with a pair of strikeouts while serving as the DH.
3. Teams going home holding a 3-2 series lead in a 2-3-2 format win the series 76 percent of the time.
PREDICTION: Astros 6, Yankees 5 Bet Now
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