A game away from elimination in the American League Championship Series against the Astros, the Yankees entered Friday night’s Game 5 needing to win three games in three days. New York hoped left-hander James Paxton would be able to go deep into the game, saving the bullpen for the possible Games 6 and 7 (with no restful travel day in between due to Wednesday’s Game 4 rainout) to come.
Paxton knew what was on the line and came through, leaving the game with the Yankees up 4-1 after six innings at Yankee Stadium.
At first, it looked like Paxton’s start was going to be similar to his Game 2 outing, when he lasted just 2 1/3 innings and allowed one run while walking two. After that 3-2 loss it was reported that he was tipping his pitches, which Paxton and manager Aaron Boone both denied. After a rocky start, Friday night became a far different story for the lefty.