YANKEES TO FACE ASTROS FOR THE AMERICAN LEAGUE PENNANT

Matthew Tallarini, Chief Correspondent, WORLD BASEBALL NETWORK

12:40 PM

For the third time in the last six years, the New York Yankees will face the Houston Astros for the American League Championship Series.  Last night, the Bronx Bombers beat the newly minted Cleveland Guardians by a score of 5-1 in Game 5 of the ALDS.  Aaron Boone called upon pitcher Nestor Cortes to stop the bleeding for the Yankees in front of their home crowd.  In the meantime, Terry Francona would stick with Aaron Civale, his original starting pitcher choice, after the game was called off during Monday night’s two hour rain delay. The Yankees resume their campaign towards the pennant visiting Minute Maid Park in Houston on October 19th at 7:37pm.

Giancarlo Stanton rose to the occasion early as he put the Yankees on the board first with a three run home run off Civale to right center field in the bottom of the first.  That would be the end of Civale’s short outing as he recorded just one out during the inning.  Francona would have to go to the bullpen early in a do or die scenario for the Guardians, looking to stay in the game as he went to relief pitcher Sam Hentges. 

Aaron Judge would follow up the next inning with driving a fly ball into the right center field stands as the Yankees extended their lead to 4-0.  The Guardians would get on the board during the third inning as Jose Ramirez would drive a sacrifice fly to center field allowing Austin Hedges to score Cleveland’s lone run of the game.  Nestor Cortes remained calm and collected during his performance as he pitched the ball carefully around the Guardians offense.  He would go on with five innings, three hits allowed, one earned run, one walk, and two strikeouts as his contribution towards the win. In the bottom of the fifth inning, the Yankees would capitalize on a RBI single to center field by Anthony Rizzo driving Gleyber Torres to capture a 5-0 lead. This would be the Yankee’s last run of the evening, leaving the rest of the lift to their bullpen.

Jonathan Loaisiga entered the game in the sixth inning keeping the Guardians offense at ease, not letting them cross against him during his two relief innings.  Loaisiga allowed only three hits and recorded two strikeouts during his appearance.  The Yankees worked their bullpen strategy from the late innings on as Clay Holmes entered the eighth to keep the Guardians from scoring.  Holmes struck out Amed Rosario as the first batter of the inning on a 1-2 slider.  He would then get Cleveland batters Jose Ramirez on a routine ground ball to Anthony Rizzo at first base, and Oscar Gonzalez with a strike on a full-count sinker. These three outs ensured the Yankees moved closer to advancing.  Wandy Peralta started the ninth inning by pitching to Josh Naylor as he grounded out to first baseman Anthony Rizzo.  A few batters later, Peralta would get Andres Gimenez to strike out swinging on a 0-2 sinker for the second out of the ninth.   

Center-fielder Myles Straw would be the last hope for the Guardians but he grounded out to Isiah Kiner-Falefa. This followed up by Gleyber Torres at second to secure a ground-ball out as the Yankees went on to win 5-1, advancing to the ALCS. The New York Yankees will face the Houston Astros in a best of seven series to start off Game 1 in Houston, Texas.  The Yankees will go with starting pitcher Jameson Tailon while the Houston Astros will call upon Justin Verlander to take the mound for Game 1.