ALCS Game 2: Yankees pull starter James Paxton in the third inning

New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone showed just how quick his hook can be in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series against the Houston Astros.

Boone lifted starter James Paxton before he could even get out of the third inning. The Astros were only up 1-0, but Paxton was under pressure in the third after two singles put runners at first and second with Alex Bregman coming up to hit with one out.

Paxton, who generally slots as New York’s No. 1 starter, didn’t deliver an ace-like performance. He threw 51 pitches to get seven outs. The Astros scored in the second inning after a single by Bregman, a walk to Yordan Alvarez and a double by Carlos Correa.

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New York Yankees starter James Paxton didn't make it out of the third inning in Game 2 of the ALCS. (Getty Images)
New York Yankees starter James Paxton didn't make it out of the third inning in Game 2 of the ALCS. (Getty Images)

Boone’s decision worked, though, as reliever Chad Green got Bregman to fly out to left and Alvarez to pop out. It just set up the Yankees to have to empty their bullpen to win Game 2. The good news is they’re the best team left in the postseason to win that way.

Meanwhile, Justin Verlander pitched three perfect innings to start the game for Houston, but that quickly came to an end in the fourth, as Verlander issued a walk and Aaron Judge made him pay with a two-run homer. That gave the Yankees a 2-1 lead.

Bullpens ended up looming large in this one, as the game extended to the 11th inning and the Yankees used eight relievers. It was J.A. Happ who ended up allowing a walk-off homer to Carlos Correa to give the Astros a 3-2 win.

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Mike Oz is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @mikeoz

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