Yankees force another game with Astros unable to put up enough runs

Astros playoff report presented by APG&E: Astros fall to Yankees in ALCS Game 5 as bats go quiet

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After taking a commanding 3-1 lead in the series by winning games 2, 3, and 4, the Yankees fought back with their backs against the wall to take Game 5 against the Astros 4-1 to extend the series at least one more game.

The most significant offense took place in the first inning, with both James Paxton and Justin Verlander settling in after that. However, it would be the Yankees who would capitalize on a bigger first inning, fueling them to the win. Here is how the game shook out:

Final Score: Yankees 4, Astros 1.

Series: Astros lead 3-2.

Winning Pitcher: James Paxton.

Losing Pitcher: Justin Verlander.

Astros score first, but Yankees tag Verlander with a huge response

After several errors in Game 4, the Astros were able to capitalize on fielding mishaps by the Yankees in the top of the first inning to take an immediate lead. George Springer started the game by grounding a ball through the middle of the infield, getting past James Paxton and unable to be fielded by Gleyber Torres, giving him a leadoff single.

He then moved to second on a passed ball, then on to third on a groundout by Jose Altuve before scoring on a wild pitch, giving Houston the quick 1-0 lead. New York responded with a big first inning of their own against Justin Verlander, getting a leadoff home run from DJ LeMahieu to tie the game before going on to get two baserunners to set up a three-run home run by Aaron Hicks to take a 4-1 lead.

Verlander settles in after the rough first inning to complete seven

The game would continue with the 4-1 score as both James Paxton and Justin Verlander rebounded from their first innings to hold the opposing offense in check. Paxton would surprisingly finish six strong innings, throwing effective pitches that resulted in nine strikeouts against Houston's bats.

Verlander, meanwhile, settled in after the four-run first inning and dominated through his remaining innings, although his offense would be unable to get him any runs while he was still in the game. He would go on to complete seven innings, allowing just one hit in innings two through seven. His final line: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 9 K, 2 HR.

Yankees live to see another day

With Paxton's night done, the Astros threatened in the top of the seventh against New York's bullpen, getting two on base with one out, but both would be left stranded to waste another scoring opportunity. They would then go down in order in the top of the eighth. Brad Peacock took over for Verlander to throw the bottom of the eighth, getting a 1-2-3 frame to send the game to the ninth.

In the top of the ninth, the Astros would come up empty once again, allowing the Yankees to stay alive in the series. The series now shifts to Houston, where the Astros will try to finish things on Saturday without going to a Game 7.

Up Next: With the Yankees forcing another game, the ALCS will move back to Houston for Game 6 and a Game 7 if needed. Game 6 will be Saturday at 7:08 PM Central, with both clubs expected to have a bullpen day.

The Astros playoff report is presented by APG&E.

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THE LEFT TURN

NASCAR: Quaker State 400 preview

Photo via: WikiCommons.

This week, the NASCAR cup series heads to Kentucky Motor Speedway for the Quaker State 400. Built in 2001, this track is a 1.5 mile tri-oval with a dog-leg on the front stretch. The most dangerous part of the track has to be turn three as the corner is flat compared to the other three corners that are banked. This has been a major point of contingency for these drivers as most of the cautions end up being there. Look for turn three to be a hot spot come Sunday. Last year, both the Busch brothers finished 1-2 in one of the most exciting finishes of the season so there will be a lot of hype for this race to live up to.

Last week at Indy, as we all expected the race was a crazy one. Over the course of the race's 160 laps, we saw many horrific accidents including a scary pit road accident involving Corey Lajoe, Ryan Blaney, Justin Allgier, Ryan Preece and others. The wreck started when everyone got stacked up entering the pits and the calamity was on from there. During the wreck Brennan Poole struck Rear Tire Changer Zach Price as he was trying to avoid the wrecking cars in front of him. After the incident fans and media alike all held their breath as they awaited news on his condition. But when the camera panned to him being loaded into the ambulance, there was a huge sigh of relief as he gave everyone a thumbs up signifying he was okay. Another scary moment was both Erik Jones and Alex Bowman's vicious crashes. Both cars had tire failures that sent their cars directly into the wall. Fortunately both drivers were okay but their days were over.

In the end, tire wear would end up claiming one more victim as it took out Denny Hamlin as well. With seven laps to go, the four-time winner this season was in prime position to get his fifth victory until his right front tire blew out, sending him hard into the turn 2 wall. This mishap handed the win to his main rival in the championship, Kevin Harvick, as he went on to claim his third Brickyard 400 victory and fourth win of the year. When it was all over, many questioned why there were so many tire failures and if new owner Roger Penske would make an effort to possibly widen the pit-road after the massive accident on Sunday.

Needless to say, there are a lot of questions on what will be different at Indy in 2021. When I talked to spotter Freddie Kraft on Tuesday, he gave a lot of good insights on both topics. When it came to the tire failures, he talked about how the increasing corner speeds at the racetrack has put a lot of pressure on these Goodyear tires which eventually led to them coming apart. As far as Pit-Road and what they can do to fix that, he talked about how it is difficult to make changes to a track that is so historical. Which makes sense, but he followed this up by saying that maybe it would be wise to give up a little history and move the wall over and make it wider. It will be interesting to see what NASCAR does in the coming months.

On Friday, Associated Press journalist Jenna Fryer revealed a bombshell announcement that 7-time champion and NASCAR's biggest name Jimmie Johnson, had tested positive for coronavirus. As everyone knows, the world is going through the worst pandemic it's ever faced in this lifetime. With the sport coming back and racing again, it was only a matter of time until one of the drivers came down with it. Unfortunately it had to be NASCAR's most recognizable driver. Thankfully, Jimmie made a full recovery and was cleared to return this weekend at Kentucky. This was a big scare for everyone in the NASCAR world, but I have to give a lot of credit to Johnson for being as forthright as he was about his diagnosis with everyone who he works with. It will be good to have Jimmie back on Sunday.

The driver that I have winning this weekend is Kyle Busch. While this season has been a disappointment for the defending champion, Kentucky would be a great place for him to turn it around. Ever since the cup series has started going there, Kyle has always been in contention to win. In fact, he won the first cup series race that was run at this track back in 2011. In his nine starts there, Kyle has finished outside the top ten only once and even then he finished 12th, back in 2016. Last season it appeared that Kyle was on his way to a third victory at this track, but he came up one spot short to his brother Kurt in a fantastic last lap duel. After a late race restart this weekend though, I see Kyle redeeming himself and capturing his first victory of 2020. Look for Kyle to get back on track come Sunday.


All stats and information used in this article are brought to you by the good folks at driveraverages.com and Racing-Reference.com, the best websites for all NASCAR stats.

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