The Tigers and Pirates played a tense game on Friday afternoon, one that eventually fell 13-10 in the Pirates’ favor following two four-run, ninth-inning rallies, an alarming injury to home plate umpire Mike Everitt, and Gregory Polanco‘s game-winning, three-run shot in the 13th. The real drama unfolded in the 10th inning, however. With the score knotted 10-10 and Nicholas Castellanos standing on second base, JaCoby Jones bounced a two-out single into left field. Castellanos charged toward home plate as left fielder Corey Dickerson fired the ball to catcher Francisco Cervelli. The tag was applied too late, Castellanos slid safely across the plate, and the Tigers swarmed the field to celebrate their first win of the year.
Or so they thought. Almost four minutes later, the Pirates’ challenge and subsequent replay review revealed that Cervelli had caught Castellanos just as he crossed the plate, nullifying the game-winning single, ending the inning and sending the game to the 11th. (And inspiring Ron Gardenhire’s first ejection since 2014.)
The game wouldn’t break in the Tigers’ favor again. The 11th and 12th passed uneventfully, and the Pirates took the lead again in the 13th following back-to-back singles from Adam Frazier and Josh Harrison and a 416-foot moonshot off the bat of Polanco. JaCoby Jones and James McCann eked out a pair of base hits in the bottom of the inning, but were left stranded after Pittsburgh’s Steven Brault whiffed Mikie Mahtook and Jose Iglesias to end the game.
The Tigers and Pirates will meet on Saturday for the second game in this series. Michael Fulmer and Trevor Williams are expected to take the mound and pitch a dual no-hitter, as a cumulative 13 relievers were expended during Friday’s five-hour, 27-minute affair.
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.