The Indians’ lead only lasted an inning and a half. George Springer saw to that, hitting a one-out homer off of Mike Clevinger to tie things up at one in the fifth.
It was the first offering Springer saw — an 81 m.p.h. slider that hung more than it slid — and Springer turned it into this ninth career postseason homer, which is a new Astros team record.
Clevinger finished off the fifth inning, striking out Jose Altuve, walking Alex Bregman and then bearing down to strike out Yuli Gurriel, but he’s at 99 pitches now, so we’re likely to see Terry Francona go to the pen to begin the top of the sixth.
Here’s the Springer Dinger:
Robert Murray and MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported earlier, respectively, that the Phillies signed pitcher Francisco Liriano and infielder Neil Walker to minor league contracts. If he makes the major league roster, Liriano will earn a salary of $1.5 million with an additional $1.25 million available through performance incentives. Walker’s contract information is not yet known.
Liriano, 36, struggled from 2016-18 but enjoyed a productive year out of the bullpen for the Pirates this past season. He posted a 3.47 ERA with 63 strikeouts and 35 walks over 70 innings. The lefty was quite effective against same-handed batters, limiting fellow lefties to a .659 OPS. That would figure to be a key component if Liriano makes the Phillies’ Opening Day roster.
Walker, 34, hit .261/.344/.395 with eight home runs and 38 RBI over 381 plate appearances with the Marlins last year. The veteran is versastile, having played first, second, and third base along with both corner outfield spots in recent seasons. Despite Walker’s versatility, it is tough to see room on the Phillies’ roster for him, barring injuries to other players. It never hurts to have depth.