New York Yankees

Bronx Bombers explode on Justin Verlander and the Astros for early lead

The Yankees hit Justin Verlander for four runs in the bottom of the 1st inning of Game 5 as they hope to stay alive in the ALCS

The New York Yankees, in desperate need of some offense, finally got it off Justin Verlander and the Astros in Game 5 of the ALCS on Friday.

DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Hicks both hit home runs off Verlander as part of a four-run bottom of the first inning as the Yankees jumped out to an early lead seeking to avoid elimination.

After the Astros had scored on a wild pitch in the top half of the inning off Yankees starter James Paxton, LeMahieu led off the bottom half by taking a fastball from Verlander to the right-field bleachers to tie the game. It’s the seventh lead-off home run in Yankees postseason history and the first since Derek Jeter off the Angels’ Jered Weaver in the 2009 ALCS. Only Jeter and Phil Rizzuto had hit a lead-off home run at home in the postseason.

Aaron Judge followed LeMahieu’s home run with a single to left and went to third on a double down the left-field line by Gleyber Torres. With one out, Hicks hit a 3-2 slider from Verlander off the foul pole in right for a three-run homer.

The Yankees had been hitless in their last 15 at-bats with runners in scoring position in this series, their longest drought of the season, and just 4-27 across the four games. The four runs the Yankees scored in the inning equaled the total they had managed in their last 25 innings off Astros pitching.

For Verlander, hoping to put the Astros into the World Series for the second time in the last three years, it was the first time he’s allowed as many as four runs in an inning since joining the Astros. The last time he did it was on Aug. 15, 2017, while with the Detroit Tigers.

The Yankees currently lead the Astros 4-1 in the top of the third inning.

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