For the third straight game, Yankee Stadium was electric, and so was the starting pitching. Masahiro Tanaka froze a potent Houston Astros lineup in a 5-0 Game 5 victory. The Yankees now take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series.
The autumn has belonged to Masahiro Tanaka. Since striking out 15 Blue Jays in the final series of the regular season, Tanaka’s been nearly untouchable, shutting down prodigious Cleveland and Astros lineups in his first two postseason starts. Tonight, he was as good as ever, throwing seven innings of shutout ball.
Tanaka owned the bottom of the zone, with eight strikeouts and ten ground ball outs. Even when the Astros briefly threatened, it never looked like Tanaka wavered at all. Yuli Gurriel laced a double to lead off the second, and Tanaka didn’t care, because he induced three straight ground balls to strand the runner. In the fifth, two Astros reached only to watch Tanaka strike out George Springer and Josh Reddick. Just a masterful performance from Masahiro all night.
Meanwhile, if you’ve followed the Yankees at all the past week, you’ve heard that they haven’t hit Dallas Keuchel well. The soft-tossing lefty has been torturous to New York, but the league’s second-best offense made the adjustment early.
Starlin Castro doubled in the second, and Greg Bird immediately knocked him home to give the Yankees a quick 1-0 lead. The run was the first Keuchel has surrendered in his postseason career against the Bronx Bombers, and it was just the beginning. The third inning saw an RBI double from Aaron Judge, putting the Yankees up 2-0. Two innings later, the Bombers finally broke Keuchel and sealed the win.
The sequence went like this: Chase Headley singled and advanced to second on an Alex Bregman throwing error. After retiring Brett Gardner, Keuchel was left facing Aaron Judge with a base open and two outs. An unintentional-intentional walk followed, leaving Gary Sanchez at the plate. Just like last night, our catcher cashed in a huge run, this time with an RBI single. Didi Gregorius kept the line rolling with a single of his own, and it was 4-0, with Dallas freakin’ Keuchel sitting in the dugout.
After all that, it was back to Gary for the dagger in the seventh:
Gary Sanchez delivered the laser beam pic.twitter.com/Oxap0Cg2fN— Today in MLB (@TodayintheMLB) October 19, 2017
Tommy Kahnle worked the final two innings, giving up just a hit as the Yankees completed the shutout. After two sluggish games to open the series, the Yankees have now outscored Houston 19-5 in the three games at Yankee Stadium, and 21-9 overall. Thursday is a much needed rest day before the Yankees’ first chance at eliminating the Astros on Friday night. We’ll see a rematch of Game 2, with Luis Severino taking on Justin Verlander at 8pm EDT.