Yankees vs. Astros: James Paxton, Aaron Hicks help Yankees stay alive, force ALCS Game 6

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. 

Turning point

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.

What's next

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.

Live updates
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all scoring in first inning. Amazing.

October 19, 2019, 2:10 AM

a Yankees night playoff game is over at 10:09 p.m. ET. A sight to behold.

October 19, 2019, 2:10 AM

Yankees win 4-1 in less than three hours. We'll have a Game 6 in Houston on Saturday night. Aroldis Chapman needed just nine pitches to get the save. Given how much rest he's had lately, he should be good for more than three outs on Saturday.

October 19, 2019, 2:10 AM

two of the best offensive teams in baseball but each game the losing team has generated very little offense

October 19, 2019, 2:06 AM

Yeah the accusations of bias against national announcers are uniformly dumb.

October 19, 2019, 2:04 AM

the dumbest crap ever is claiming he's in love with Madison Bumgarner or Kyle Schwarber or Clayton Kershaw or Justin Verlander and lord, we could keep going

October 19, 2019, 1:55 AM

He's perfectly fine. Baseball fans hear their own guys all season and then when someone doesn't have a horse in the race, they claim he's biased against their team.

October 19, 2019, 1:54 AM

Swaggy play too.

Nice play by Reddick.

October 19, 2019, 1:47 AM

very. The one pitch to Hicks any different and we're tied

October 19, 2019, 1:41 AM

Impressive how Verlander flipped the switch from "no fastball command" to "dominant" during the course of this start.

October 19, 2019, 1:40 AM

really wouldn't argue with either team scoring runs since there haven't been any in a while

October 19, 2019, 1:39 AM

Big threat dodged there, and the Astros have used up three more offensive outs.

October 19, 2019, 1:33 AM

Potential tying run for the Astros will come to the plate with one out in the seventh.

October 19, 2019, 1:26 AM

Coming into this frame, the Yankees had an 88.6 percent chance of winning Game 5.

October 19, 2019, 1:24 AM

Tom E Kahnle coming into the game now.

October 19, 2019, 1:18 AM

The Yankees have good dugout jackets.

October 19, 2019, 1:16 AM


October 19, 2019, 1:16 AM

hilarious line. Once a young Cubs player asked him for change for a hundred dollar bill. Soriano: "hundreds are change"

October 19, 2019, 1:15 AM

yes, I love Soriano

October 19, 2019, 1:15 AM

October 19, 2019, 1:14 AM

Alonso Soriano's here. Fans loved it when they showed him on the board. He was such a fun player in his prime.

October 19, 2019, 1:12 AM
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