Here Come the Yankees — ALCS Game 5: NY 4 Houston 1

The Yankees got all their runs in the 1st inning, exploding for a game-tying homer by DJ LeMahieu and a 3-run bomb by Aaron Hicks that hit the right-field foul poll, and James Paxton recovered from a shaky 1st inning to pitch scintillating baseball through 6 innings and get the Yanks this win on an exhilarating, chilly October Friday night at Yankee Stadium.

The Hicks homer followed an Aaron Judge single and Gleyber Torres double — 4 hits by the first 5 batters against Justin Verlander. The Yankee offense had Exploded and Yankee Stadium Exploded as well.

Justin Verlander settled down after the Hicks homer and shut down the Yankees on 1 hit the next 6 innings. That only progressively increased the tension in the air, and made the game more exhilarating for those in attendance (and those watching on tv).

The Bleachers

In the Bleachers you stand throughout the whole game. Whole Game. You do not sit down. And you will get showered with beer on big moments. Every pitch is life and death. And it is one big family, the closeness of the bodies making it warm on this cold October night. We were in Left Field Bleachers, Section 237, row 12.


In the 6th, Paxton walked Carlos Correa with 1 out, then struck out big home run hitter Yordan Alvarez. Manager Aaron Boone came out to ask him if he was ok. Yankee Stadium chanted to keep Paxton in the game. Paxton told Boone, “I’m good, let’s go!” Boone left him in. Yankee Stadium exploded in cheers as Boone left the mound leaving him in. (This, in addition to Paxton’s brilliant performance, became much talked about on post-game Sports talk radio such as the Steve Somers show.)

Robinson Chirinos to hit a fly ball to left that was caught at the warning track by Brett Gardner. Phew.

The Yankee Bullpen

With the 4-1 lead, the Yankee bullpen came in stifled Houston — Tommy Kahnle came in for the 7th and got the first out but then allowed a single by George Springer and a walk to Jose Altuve and was gone — Aaron Boone was taking no prisoners. In came Zack Britton to face the lefty Michael Brantley, who promptly hit a grounder that the Yanks just missed turning into a double play. Then Alex Bregman lined out to Hicks in center.

Britton motored through the 8th, a 1-2-3 inning, with 2 strikeouts. And then it was Aroldis Chapman for a no-sweat 9th, 1-2-3 and the old ballgame. As Chapman got the final out, the Yankee Stadium left field bleachers exploded with fanfare and a beer shower was had by all. So if you go, bring a hat.


Giancarlo Stanton was finally back in the lineup after being injured in the first game of the series; he went 0-3 with 2 strikeouts. Gary Sanchez also went 0-3, with 3 strikeouts. Gio Urshela and Brett Gardner also went 0-3. Noted that all of that was off the very tough Justin Verlander.

The Boxscore


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