Royals bat around in the third inning, take a 4-1 lead against the Giants

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The Royals did not hit the ball terribly hard in the top of the third inning against Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong, but they used their speed and place discipline to create a rally and score four runs. After starter Jason Vargas hit a fly ball to deep center field for the first out after a decent at-bat, Alcides Escobar singled to center field. Escobar was erased on a 3-6 fielder’s choice ground ball by Alex Gordon, but Gordon promptly stole second base — the Royals’ first stolen base of the World Series, oddly enough.

Lorenzo Cain hit a weak ground ball to shortstop and had just enough speed to beat out Brandon Crawford’s throw, though he pulled up after lunging at the first base bag. He stayed in the game. Gordon had advanced to third in the meantime. Eric Hosmer chopped a grounder to first baseman Brandon Belt, who threw to Vogelsong covering the bag, but it wasn’t in time. Vogelsong didn’t appear to have the best footwork covering the bag but it was a tough play.

Vogelsong then walked Mike Moustakas on four pitches to load the bases. Manager Bruce Bochy sent reliever Jean Machi to warm up. The meltdown continued. With a 2-2 count, Omar Infante grounded a single up the middle, plating two runs to give the Royals a 3-1 lead. Vogelsong fell behind Salvador Perez 3-0, pumped a get-me-over fastball for a strike, then surrendered a single to center field for yet another Royals run.

Bochy strolled out from the dugout to take the baseball from Vogelsong. Machi came in and walked Jarrod Dyson to load the bases again. Vargas worked a 3-2 count and tossed his bat as if he had drawn a bases-loaded walk. He got about 30 feet down the line before he was made aware of his error. Laughing off the embarrassing moment, Vargas then took strike three looking to end the inning.

Vogelsong finishes his night having allowed four runs on seven hits and a walk with two strikeouts in 2 2/3 innings.

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

Gio Urshela
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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.