Aaron Hicks Comes Up Clutch as Yankees Force Game 6 vs. Astros

By , RADIO.COM Sports

The Yankees live to see another day.

Facing elimination in Game 5 of the ALCS and Justin Verlander — who owned a 4-0 postseason record against the Bombers entering the game —the Yankees’ offense finally came through as DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Hicks both homered in a four-run first inning en route to a 4-1 victory to force a Game 6 in Houston on Saturday.

LeMahieu injected life into the team and Yankee Stadium after they had fallen behind 1-0 in a sloppy top half of the first inning by leading off with an opposite field home run to tie things up.

Aaron Judge and Gleyber Torres each followed with a single and double, respectively, while Giancarlo Stanton struck out to bring up Hicks with two on and one out.

The switch-hitting slugger worked the count full before jumping on a hanging slider to send it down the right field line and off the foul pole. Hicks knew the ball was gone the moment he made contact, dropping his bat and slowly walking out of the box as the stadium went into a frenzy.

It was all the support the Bombers would need.

James Paxton settled down and threw six innings, striking out nine and allowing just four hits and a run on 112 pitches. Manager Aaron Boone appeared ready to take Paxton out with two outs in the fifth with a runner on base, but the southpaw stayed in the game for Robinson Chirinos, who flied out to the wall in leftfield to end the threat.

Tommy Kahnle, Zack Britton and Aroldis Chapman combined to allow just one hit over the final three innings to secure the victory.

Both the Yankees and Astros plan to use an opener for Game 6, which will be underway at Minute Maid Park at 8:08 p.m. ET.

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