Josh Harrison is quickly climbing the list of must-watch players. The Pirates’ super-utilityman and National League All-Star dipped and dived his way out of a rundown in the tenth inning against the Mets on June 27, though he did not score. The next inning, he belted a walk-off RBI double.
Harrison has done it again. The speedster deftly avoided Rockies catcher Wilin Rosario’s tag in a run-down in the sixth inning of today’s game in Colorado. The Pirates had already plated two to begin the top of the sixth against Rockies starter Tommy Kahnle thanks to a game-tying two-run home run from Travis Snider. Harrison then reached on a single to shallow center.
With Gregory Polanco at the plate, Harrison stole second base. Only one problem: he overslid the base and shortstop Josh Rutledge was guarding the return path. That’s when the action began:
Harrison would later score on an Ike Davis double to give the Pirates a 5-4 lead. In the eighth inning, Harrison broke a 5-5 tie, hitting a solo home run to right center. He finished 4-for-6 with an RBI single, a double, the solo home run, and two stolen bases in the Pirates’ 7-5 win. The guy is a heap of fun to watch.
Harrison has a .294/.330/.447 slash line with six home runs, 33 RBI, and 12 stolen bases in 302 plate appearances this season.
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.