So much for that extra off day messing up the Giants’ rhythm. Right fielder Andrew McCutchen had himself a banner night during Saturday’s 14-inning showdown against the Dodgers, notching six hits and delivering the game-winning, three-run homer to push the Giants above .500.
Hours before the game’s explosive conclusion, however, McCutchen put the Giants on the board with an RBI double in the first inning. He returned in the fourth with a leadoff single, eventually coming around to score on Buster Posey‘s first home run of the season — a 389-footer into the left field bleachers.
McCutchen roped another pair of base hits off of Pedro Baez in the fifth and Kenta Maeda in the seventh, but his success at the plate didn’t translate into any additional runs. Following Brandon Belt‘s sixth-inning RBI double and Chase Utley‘s game-tying solo shot in the seventh, neither team added to their totals for the next six straight innings. In the 12th, with Kenley Jansen on the mound, McCutchen laced another single into right field and tied the career-high mark he set back in May 2010, with five hits. (The last Giants player to collect 5+ hits in a single game? Brandon Crawford, with a franchise-record seven hits against the Marlins in 2016.)
While he didn’t manage to go a perfect 7-for-7 to tie Crawford’s record, McCutchen saved his best at-bat for last. In the bottom of the 14th, down 5-4 with runners on the corners and no outs, he labored through a 12-pitch at-bat against rookie right-hander Wilmer Font. McCutchen never reached a full count, instead fouling off eight pitches in order to keep the Giants’ hopes alive. He didn’t allow Buster Posey another opportunity to play the hero, either, finally selecting a 94-mph fastball and cranking it to left field for a 377-foot, dugout-clearing, walk-off home run:
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.