After a Monday night dampened by rain, Game 5 of the ALDS between the New York Yankees and Cleveland Guardians Tuesday afternoon got off to a bang for the home team thanks to Giancarlo Stanton.
Guardians starter Aaron Civale was going to have a short leash by manager Terry Francona in this win-or-go-home battle, but Stanton made it much shorter than Cleveland would have liked.
After Civale allowed two runners to reach base in the first inning — Gleyber Torres walked on four pitches and Anthony Rizzo was hit by a pitch — Stanton mashed an outside cutter into the right-field seats to make it 3-0 Yankees from the jump.
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Stanton had a home run earlier this season off Civale July 2 in Cleveland, where he went 2-for-4 on the day.
Josh Donaldson hit an infield single right after the three Yankees rounded the bases, and that was all for Civale. Francona walked out of the dugout and brought in Sam Hentges after Civale recorded a single out, striking out Aaron Judge on a 3-2 curveball.
The Yankees weren’t done. Judge hit a hanging curveball from Hentges in the vicinity of where Stanton hit his home run to add to the Yankees’ total with a solo homer, making it 4-0.
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Stanton and Judge both have two homers in this series now, but they have both struggled entering Game 5. Judge was 2-for-16, and Stanton was 1-for-12.
Francona is going to have to be cautious the rest of the game. Every pitcher will be available in this elimination game, and the Guardians have all their high-leverage guys at the back end of the bullpen fresh, including All-Star closer Emmanuel Clase.
It’s early, but the Yankees wanted to jump on Civale, who had a 10.00 ERA in two starts against New York this season after giving up 10 earned runs on 12 hits, including three homers.
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There’s a lot of baseball left, though, for a Guardians team that has shown an affinity for a dramatic comeback already this series. Game 3 went to them in Cleveland after they scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth to walk it off.
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The winner of this game heads to Houston to face the Astros on Wednesday in Game 1 of the ALCS.