all scoring in first inning. Amazing.
The New York Yankees defeated the Houston Astros 4-1 in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series on Friday, forcing a Game 6 on Saturday. The Yankees still trail in the best-of-seven series, 3-2. The series will now shift back to Houston for Saturday's Game 6.
Here's a recap of Game 5.
Why the Yankees won
A combination of reasons, beginning with James Paxton's outing. Paxton delivered six innings, permitting four hits and four walks but just one run. He fanned nine on 112 pitches. The Yankees bullpen then held the lead for three innings, with Zack Britton tossing 1 2/3 perfect frames. Offensively, the Yankees received all their offense in the first inning behind a DJ LeMahieu solo shot and a three-run dinger from Aaron Hicks.
Why the Astros lost
The bottom of the first inning, basically. Justin Verlander was, otherwise, quite good: seven innings, five hits, four runs, and nine strikeouts with no walks. The Astros struck first with George Springer reaching on an infield single, advancing on a passed ball and groundout, then scoring on a wild pitch. And that was that. You can't win if you can't score and you can't score without making the most of your offensive opportunities.
We'll go with Hicks' home run. He gave the Yankees a multi-run lead and it proved to be the difference-maker. It also got the Yankees crowd back into the game after a disappointing top half of the first, and permitted Aaron Boone to let Paxton work deeper than he did in Game 2. The home run added 15 percent of win probability for the Yankees, giving them a 78.5 percent percent win expectancy. It was the only play of the game to exceed .100 WPA.
Highlight of the Game
It has to be Hicks home run. Take a look:
That's a fun moment -- unless you're an Astros fan, anyway.
The Yankees and Astros will head to Houston ahead of Saturday night's Game 6. A Yankees win will force a winner-take-all Game 7 on Sunday. An Astros win will punch their ticket to the World Series, where they'd play the Washington Nationals.
We were with you the whole game providing updates and analysis. You can relive Game 5 below.