Stanton and Judge bash Yankees to defeat Guardians, move to ALCS


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NEW YORK — Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge stunned Cleveland with early homers, and the New York Yankees beat the Guardians 5-1 on Tuesday in Game 5 of their AL Division Series to set up another rematch with Houston for the pennant.

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Yankees manager Aaron Boone won his bet by starting Nestor Cortes on a three-day rest against Jameson Taillon, making the late switch after Monday night rain caused a postponement.

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Cleveland manager Terry Francona stayed the course with Aaron Civale instead of switching to 2020 Cy Young Award winner Shane Bieber during a short rest. Civale struggled to throw shots and the Guardians never recovered from Stanton’s three-run home run to just 21 shots.

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Cortes dominated with a three-hit run for five innings for the win, Jonathan Loaisiga, Clay Holmes and Wandy Peralta finished with a scoreless relief at five hits.

The sold-out crowd of 48,178 cheered for the Yankees when Myles Straw hit a grounder for the final. Second baseman Gleyber Torres stepped on the sack to finish it off, then imitated cradling a baby with the ball – a hit to Goalies slugger Josh Naylor, who made the move around the bases after a homer from Gerrit Cole in game 4.

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Taillon will start the AL Championship Series opener on Wednesday night in Houston, which will go with Justin Verlander. The AL game features the league’s top two regular-season teams in the Astros at 106 wins and the Yankees at 99 wins, a contrast to the NL championship between San Diego and Philadelphia.


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Houston beat the Yankees in a seven-game championship series in 2017 and over six games in 2019. The Astros won their first World Series title in 2017, but it was later discovered that they had used a video camera to signal opposing pitches to their batters.

The AL East New York champion, seeking his 28th title and first since 2009, could do without Aaron Hicks. The left fielder was taken out of the game after injuring his left knee in a third-inning collision with rookie shortstop Oswaldo Cabrera.

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AL champion Central Cleveland, the youngest team at the majors and with a $68 million payroll, a fraction of the Yankees’ $274 million, has gone without a championship since 1948. The Guardians led 2-1 in the best of five series before the The Yankees won 4-2 behind Cole on Sunday to force the series back to New York. Cole was warming up in the ninth inning of Game 5, just in case.

Cleveland has lost 11 straight postseason playoff games, a major league record. The Guardians seemed shocked by the early deficit and did not request a video review in the fourth inning when Andres Gimenez clearly beat a diving Anthony Rizzo to the first base sack,

Cortes, a fan favorite with his hesitation delivery he used in the fifth, allowed a run, struck out two and walked one while throwing 61 pitches.

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Stanton and Judge hit two home runs apiece in the series, and New York outscored Cleveland 9-3 while scoring 16 of its 20 runs on long balls. Judge became the first player with four homers in a win-win postseason game, breaking a tie with Yogi Berra, Moose Skowron, Stanton, Didi Gregorius and Troy O’Leary.

The rain had cleared and the game started with left and center field in bright sunshine on a 57-degree afternoon. There were empty seats strewn about for the 4:07 p.m. start, and fans booed Naylor whose exuberant “rock the baby” home run trot on Sunday caught New York’s attention.

Fans serenaded Naylor with rocking motions and chanted « Who’s Your Daddy! » as they did for Boston’s Pedro Martinez two decades earlier.

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Civale, a 27-year-old right-hander, was part of Cleveland’s rotation before being sidelined three times this season due to injury. He looked flustered, throwing just 12 of 26 pitches for strikes, getting just one swing-and-miss and only one out.

Torres walked on four forward pitches, Judge hit on a full curveball, and Civale hit Rizzo on the left thigh with a pitch.

Civale started Stanton with an outside curveball in the dirt, and pitching coach Carl Willis went to the mound. Civale threw a cutter that missed low and out. and wide receiver Austin Hedges set up in the low outside corner, Civale left a cutter and Stanton lined it out 379 feet into the short right-field porch, a drive that would be a home run in just three of 30 major league stadiums.

Civale faced only one more batter, leaving after Josh Donaldson’s single.

Judge hit a drive from the opposite field to the right in the second on a curveball from southpaw Sam Hentges, Judge’s 13th playoff homer. The Yankees are 27-2 when Stanton and Judge homer in the same game.

Jose Ramirez led Cleveland’s run with a sacrificial fly in the third after rookie Steven Kwan’s bloop single down the left field line, the play that caused Hicks’ injury. Kwan was 9 for 21 (.429) in the series.

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