World Series, Game 4: Royals vs. Giants lineups

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With the Royals up 2-1 over the Giants in the 2014 World Series, here are the lineups for Game 4 tonight in San Francisco. First pitch is slated for 8:07 p.m. ET:

Royals:
SS Alcides Escobar
LF Alex Gordon
RF Lorenzo Cain
1B Eric Hosmer
3B Mike Moustakas
2B Omar Infante
C Salvador Perez
CF Jarrod Dyson
SP Jason Vargas

Royals manager Ned Yost is back with the same lineup he used in Game 3 last night. That means that Alex Gordon is in the No. 2 spot once again while Jarrod Dyson is in center field and Mike Moustakas is batting fifth for the second straight day. Nori Aoki and Billy Butler remain on the bench.

Giants:
CF Gregor Blanco
2B Joe Panik
C Buster Posey
RF Hunter Pence
3B Pablo Sandoval
1B Brandon Belt
LF Juan Perez
SS Brandon Crawford
SP Ryan Vogelsong

While the Royals are sticking with their lineup from Game 3, Giants manager Bruce Bochy is making some changes with left-hander Jason Vargas on the hill for Kansas City. Juan Perez will make his second start of the postseason in left field, pushing Travis Ishikawa to the bench. Michael Morse apparently isn’t ready to play the field quite yet. The change will make the defense stronger at the very least. That could be critical with some tricky winds expected. Meanwhile, Hunter Pence and Pablo Sandoval have flip-flopped in the order.

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.