Masahiro Tanaka dazzles, Yankees blank Astros 5-0 to pull within one win of reaching World Series

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Masahiro Tanaka once again pitched a gem, leading the Yankees past the Astros 5-0 in Game 5 of the ALCS on Wednesday evening. The Yankees now hold a 3-2 series lead and have a chance to clinch a World Series berth on Friday.

The Astros had a few opportunities to score, but Tanaka executed when he needed to most. The right-hander held the Astros hitless in six at-bats with runners in scoring position. The Astros are now 2-for-19 (.105) with RISP since the start of Game 3 and 5-for-25 (.200) overall in the ALCS.

The Yankees opened the scoring in the second inning as Greg Bird knocked in Starlin Castro with a single. Aaron Judge added another run in the third inning with an RBI double. In the fifth, Gary Sanchez and Didi Gregorius each hit RBI singles to up the score to 4-0. Gary Sanchez tacked on a solo home run in the seventh. That proved to be more than enough run support for Tanaka.

Tanaka exited after seven innings, giving up just three hits and a walk with three strikeouts on 103 pitches. That matches his ALDS Game 3 start against the Indians in which he also tossed seven shutout innings.

Tommy Kahnle took over in the eighth, working an easy nine-pitch 1-2-3 inning. He returned to the mound in the ninth, working around a one-out double from Carlos Correa. He induced a ground out from Yuli Gurriel, then got Alex Bregman to line out to center field to end the game in a 5-0 victory for the Yankees.

Game 6 of the ALCS will start at 8 PM ET on Friday in Houston at Minute Maid Park. The Astros will attempt to stave off elimination by sending Justin Verlander to the mound. The Yankees will counter with Luis Severino. They will be attempting to return to the World Series for the first time since 2009, when they beat the Phillies in six games.

Yu Darvish lands on 10-day disabled list again with triceps tendinitis

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Bad news for the Cubs’ Yu Darvish: The right-hander is headed back to the disabled list with right triceps tendinitis, the team announced Saturday. It’s the second such assignment for Darvish this season, but the first time he’s been sidelined with arm issues. Neither the severity of his injury nor a concrete timeframe for his recovery has been revealed yet, but the move is retroactive to May 23 and will allow him to come off the DL by June 2, assuming all goes well.

Prior to the injury, Darvish went 1-3 in eight starts with a 4.95 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 11.0 SO/9 through 40 innings. Needless to say, these aren’t the kind of results the Cubs were hoping to see after inking the righty to a six-year, $126 million contract back in February, though the circumstances affecting his performances appear to have largely been out of his control. He missed a start in early May after coming down with the flu and has struggled to pitch beyond the fifth inning in five of his eight starts to date.

The Cubs recalled left-hander Randy Rosario from Triple-A Iowa in a corresponding move. Rosario has yet to amass more than five career innings in the majors, but has impressed at Triple-A so far this year: he maintained an 0.97 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 6.1 SO/9 through 19 1/3 innings in 2018. As for Darvish’s next scheduled turn in the rotation, Tyler Chatwood is lined up to take the mound when the Cubs face off against the Giants in the series finale on Sunday. A starter for Monday night’s game has yet to be determined.