ALCS: New York Yankees edge Houston Astros to stay alive

Oct. 18 (UPI) — DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Hicks each blasted first-inning home runs and James Paxton pitched six strong innings as the New York Yankees defeated Houston 4-1 on Friday night at Yankee Stadium to trim the Astros’ lead in the AL Championship Series to 3-2.

After the Astros grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first following a wild pitch, LeMahieu belted a solo home run off Houston starter Justin Verlander in the bottom of the inning.

Later in the inning, Hicks smashed a three-run homer off the right-field foul pole to give the Yankees a 4-1 advantage. It marked his first home run since July after a lengthy injury absence.

Paxton held down the lead for the remainder of the game, allowing only one run on four hits across six innings. He struck out nine and walked four.

After Paxton was pulled from the game, the Yankees’ bullpen combined to give up only one hit and one walk in three innings. Aroldis Chapman entered the game in the ninth inning and earned the save.

Verlander shook off his rocky first inning and pitched seven innings, allowing four earned runs on five hits. He recorded nine strikeouts and walked none.

Game 6 of the best-of-seven series is scheduled for Saturday night at Minute Maid Park in Houston. The winner will play the wild-card Washington Nationals, who swept the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLCS, in the World Series.

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