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Masa and The Kid – Yankees take Game 1 of ALCS in Houston

Masahiro Tanaka was built for the postseason. His six inning, one hit shutout effort wasn’t surprising in the least bit considering he’s one of the best postseason pitchers in MLB history. Statistically, Tanaka has the third-lowest postseason ERA in baseball history, only behind Sandy Koufax and Christy Mathewson.

Tanaka’s clutch gene has been well-documented, but he took it to another level on Saturday night with a World Class effort. He had his fastball working in all directions and his splitter was crisp. He worked in and out of trouble with multiple double plays, including a fantastic assist from Aaron Judge in right field. Judge fielded down a line drive in right field and after an Alex Bregman slip on the way back to first, was able to throw a strike to D.J. Lemahieu, who stretched and picked Judge’s throw for the double play.

Tanaka faced the minimum amount of batters thanks to those double plays and his night was done after six innings despite pitching less than 70 pitches. Adam Ottavino spelled him, working out of an error made by both Didi Gregorius and Gleyber Torres when they let an easy double play grounder go right past them.

Zack Britton pitched a clean eighth inning and Jonathan Loaisiga came in for mop-up duty in the ninth after the Yankees were already up 7-0. It was a rousing victory in a place where the Yankees struggled for many years. The Astros being 60-21 at home this season is impressive and what’s even more impressive is that the Yankees shut them out there.

The star of the show on the offensive side was Gleyber Torres. The 22 year old budding superstar is the youngest player in MLB history to have a 5 RBI game. Torres had two doubles and a home run. He was pretty much a one-man wrecking crew. His bloop hit with the bases loaded put the game out of reach at 5-0.

Giancarlo Stanton and Gio Urshela contributed the other two RBIs, both on solo home runs. Stanton has started to get into a groove, hitting a hard single to the left side of the infield and crushing a home run into the Astros’ bullpen. The seven run lead was insurmountable for what’s usually a potent Astros’ lineup.

Regardless, the Yankees pounded Zack Greinke and took care of business in what’s the most important game of the series. No one really knows if momentum carries from game to game but it can’t hurt to take Game One against one of the best teams at home in recent memory.

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