Yankees vs. Guardians score: Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge homer as New York wins do-or-die Game 5
The Yankees ousted the AL Central champs and advanced to face the Astros in the ALCS
NEW YORK -- The ALDS is finally over and the New York Yankees are heading to the ALCS. Tuesday afternoon the Yankees bested the Cleveland Guardians in the winner-take-all Game 5 at Yankee Stadium (NYY 5, CLE 1). They now head to Houston to face the Astros for the American League pennant, while Cleveland heads home. The best-of-five ALDS went the distance and also featured two rainouts across eight days.
The decision to start Nestor Cortes worked out wonderfully for New York, and the Yankees' two towering power hitters -- Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge -- put runs on the board early to give them breathing room. The Guardians were playing from behind all game, and the decision to start Aaron Civale over Shane Bieber on short rest backfired spectacularly.
Here are five takeaways from Game 5, plus a look at what's next.
1. Stanton hit another October homer
When the Guardians opted to start Civale in Game 5 rather than Bieber on short rest, it certainly came through as a questionable decision. Bieber is one of the game's very best pitchers, and when your season is on the line, you want your best out there. Instead, Cleveland went with Civale, their homer-prone No. 4 starter.
"We just feel like it's the right thing to do for him and us," manager Terry Francona said prior to Game 5 when asked about not using Bieber on short rest in a winner-take-all game.
The decision to start Civale backfired immediately. He opened the game with a four-pitch walk to Gleyber Torres, hit Anthony Rizzo with a two-strike pitch,. Here is Stanton's rocket dinger:
The home run was Stanton's second of the series and his 11th in 23 career postseason games, tied with Carlos Beltrán for the most homers through 23 career postseason games. Stanton has gone deep 10 times in his last 15 postseason games. With that homer, the Yankees scored a first-inning run(s) in three of the five ALDS games.
2. Judge hit a milestone homer
It was a season of milestones for Judge and the 62-homer man made more history in Game 5. His second-inning solo homer gave the Yankees a 4-0 lead,. That's the most in history. Here is Judge's Game 5 blast:
Judge had previously gone deep in the 2017 and 2018 AL Wild Card Games, and Game 5 of the 2020 ALDS. His fourth winner-take-all homer broke a tie with Stanton, Yogi Berra, Didi Gregorius, Troy O'Leary, and Moose Skowron. They all had three each. O'Leary is the only one of those players who never played for the Yankees.
3. Cortes went five innings
The two starting pitcher decisions could not have worked out any differently. Rather than use Monday night's rainout to start Bieber on short rest Tuesday, the Guardians stuck with Civale, who gave up three runs and got one out. Cleveland's bullpen did do fine work holding the Yankees down though -- four relievers limited New York to two runs in 7 2/3 innings.
The Yankees, meanwhile, used the rainout to start Cortes on short rest in Game 5, and he was marvelous. He held the Guardians to one run in five innings and needed only 61 pitches to do it. On short rest, the Yankees couldn't have expected anything more from Nasty Nestor. He was terrific.
Cleveland had two chances to get back into the game. First, the Guardians loaded the bases with one out in the third, but got only one run on a José Ramírez sacrifice fly. Then, in the sixth, they put the first two runners on base, but two ground outs and a strikeout killed the rally without a run crossing the plate. Those were their best opportunities to get back into Game 5.
The Guardians otherwise never threatened against Cortes and three Yankees relievers (Jonathan Loáisiga, Clay Holmes, Wandy Peralta). Peralta, it should be noted, faced Josh Naylor and Giménez in all five ALDS games. They are Cleveland's top two lefty bat and Peralta held them to 0 for 8 with four strikeouts and a double play. Can't do any better than that. Peralta is the first pitcher ever to appear in all five in a single ALDS.
One team went with its rested No. 4 starter and another went with its fatigued No. 2 starter. The team that rolled the dice with its best available pitcher won Game 5 and is going to the ALCS.
4. The Guardians had a bad non-challenge
It was a rough ALDS for Cleveland's replay coordinator. The Guardians went 0 for 2 on challenges in Game 2 even though both calls were obviously correct upon the first replay viewing and never should have been challenged (videos). Then, in Game 5, the Guardians did not challenge Andrés Giménez's would-be infield single in the fourth inning. Rizzo came up short at first base.
The Guardians were down 4-1 at the time. They needed all the baserunners they could get. Maybe nothing comes of that (there were two outs in the inning), but you have to at least try a challenge, don't you? Even if you believe he was out, that's certainly close enough to challenge. Not everything needs to be a slam dunk. No shame in trying a toss up. Alas.
5. Cleveland's historic losing streak continues
With the Game 5 loss, Cleveland has now lost 11 consecutive postseason elimination games, extending the longest such losing streak in baseball history. It dates all the way back to Game 7 of the 1997 World Series. Cleveland has also lost eight consecutive winner-take-all postseason games. Here are their last 11 postseason elimination games:
- 2022 ALDS Game 5: 5-1 loss to Yankees (winner-take-all)
- 2020 AL Wild Card Series Game 2: 10-9 loss to Yankees
- 2018 ALDS Game 3: 11-3 loss to Astros
- 2017 ALDS Game 5: 5-2 loss to Yankees (winner-take-all)
- 2016 World Series Game 7: 8-7 loss to Cubs (winner-take-all)
- 2013 AL Wild Card Game: 4-0 loss to Rays (winner-take-all)
- 2007 ALCS Game 7: 11-2 loss to Red Sox (winner-take-all)
- 2001 ALDS Game 5: 3-1 loss to Mariners (winner-take-all)
- 1999 ALDS Game 5: 12-8 loss to Red Sox (winner-take-all)
- 1998 ALCS Game 6: 9-5 loss to Yankees
- 1997 World Series Game 7: 3-2 loss to Marlins (winner-take-all)
There are some real heartbreakers in there, including Edgar Renteria's championship-clinching walk-off single in 1997 and the World Series loss in 2016. Cleveland still has not won a postseason elimination game since Game 6 of the 1997 World Series a quarter-century ago. They'll have to wait until 2023 to exorcise those demons (or they could just not play an elimination game).
6. Up next
For the Guardians, the offseason. They've been eliminated. The Yankees now move on to play the Astros in the ALCS. That series begins Wednesday night at Minute Maid Park. It will be the third time in the last six years the Yankees and Astros have met in the ALCS, with the Astros winning their 2017 and 2019 matchups. Justin Verlander (18-4, 1.75 ERA) and Jameson Taillon (14-5, 3.96 ERA) will be the Game 1 starters. The winner of the Astros vs. Yankees ALCS will take on the winner of the Padres vs. Phillies NLCS in the World Series.
Yankees win, advance
The Yankees win 5-1. They'll go on to play the Astros in the ALCS beginning tomorrow. The Guardians will go home.
Maile with a knock
If Myles Straw can reach, the Guardians will have the tying run up.
One out to go
Peralta fans Gimenez. It'll be up to Luke Maile to keep Cleveland's season alive.
Guardians get a baserunner
Arias with an infield hit. Cleveland will need more offense here.
Two outs to go
Naylor makes an out to begin the ninth.
Cole is warming up
If you want some sizzle for the ninth, Gerrit Cole is throwing in the bullpen.
To the ninth
It'll be Naylor, Arias, and Gimenez. Cleveland needs four runs before they make three outs.
Yankees threatening here in the eighth
Two runners on now with two outs.
Holmes has 1-2-3 inning
Guardians are now down to their final three outs. Getting late early in Cleveland.
Holmes is in versus the middle of the order.