Tony Cingrani making slow progress from back spasms

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Tony Cingrani hasn’t pitched since September 10 due to back spasms and it’s possible the Reds will have to get by without him for the rest of the regular season.

Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports that progress for Cingrani has been slow and that attempts for him to throw have not gone well. The Reds elected to have him continue his rehab in Cincinnati rather than accompany the team to Pittsburgh this weekend. He’s expected to be evaluated when the team returns home next week.

“It’s progressed, but I didn’t want it to get worse just to come here,” Reds head trainer Paul Lessard said on Friday. “He’s tried to go off a mound, but it’s still tender. That’s why we didn’t want to continue to keep going off a mound.”

Cingrani, 24, owns a 2.92 ERA and 120/43 K/BB ratio over 104 2/3 innings in his rookie season. Fortunately for the Reds, Johnny Cueto had a very encouraging performance in his return from the disabled list on Monday against the Astros.

Yankees keep ALCS hopes alive with 4-1 win over Astros

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The Yankees defeated the Astros 4-1 during Game 5 of the American League Championship Series on Friday night, staving off a potential postseason elimination and forcing the series to at least six games.

In just the third playoff appearance of his career, Yankees southpaw James Paxton turned in another impressive performance, limiting the Astros to four hits and four walks over six innings of one-run ball. According to MLB Stats, his nine strikeouts made him the second Yankees lefty to record multiple starts of 8+ strikeouts in the same postseason campaign, two decades after David Wells did so for the 1998 championship-winning club.

Paxton’s strong outing was backed by a handful of runs from DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Hicks, both of whom went deep against Astros ace Justin Verlander in the bottom of the first inning. LeMahieu’s leadoff solo shot marked his first postseason home run since Game 1 of the ALDS, while Hicks’ three-run 347-footer was his first home run of any variety since July 24 (and his first in the playoffs since the 2017 ALDS).

Neither team managed a single run after the first inning, leaving the two pitching staffs to duke it out for eight quick innings. Verlander outlasted Paxton — taking the game through the seventh with five hits, four runs, and nine strikeouts — but even with a flawless contribution from Brad Peacock in the eighth, there was little the hurlers could do to help the Astros solve Paxton and an airtight Yankees bullpen.

With the win, the Yankees will try to push the series to a full seven games in order to snatch the AL pennant from the Astros. They’ll have to do in Houston, however, as the Astros will regain home field advantage when Game 6 kicks off on Saturday at 8:08 PM EDT. Neither starter has been announced yet; per Houston skipper A.J. Hinch, it will likely be a bullpen day.