The Yankees got to Astros ace Dallas Keuchel during Game 5 of the ALCS on Wednesday, knocking him out in the fifth inning in their 5-0 victory.
Keuchel had the Yankees' number since that Wild Card Game start in 2015. But a different approach at the plate knocked him out of Game 5 of the ALCS in 4 2/3 innings.
The Yankees needed a win, and their gameplan worked in the Bronx.
"We needed to win here, and we were able to do that," Chase Headley told The Post's Ken Davidoff. "And obviously, to beat (Keuchel), you really do something if you're able to beat a pitcher like that."
That something was a patient, yet aggressive approach against the lefty. Keuchel doesn't overpower with speed, but his command of both his fastball and off-speed pitches makes him dangerous. In order to not fall into his trap of getting hitters to swing at balls out of the zone, the Yankees hitters needed to wait for a pitch in the zone and attack because they knew they wouldn't get many mistakes from Keuchel.
"See the ball in the middle of the plate and react from there," Todd Frazier said. "His ball moves so much, if I'm thinking middle of the plate, anything to the left or right most of the time is going to be a ball. That's how he wins games. He gets guys off their approach and swinging at balls. Today, when we got our strikes, we him them pretty hard."
Greg Bird came through with the first RBI of the game with a two-out single to score Starlin Castro. He preached discipline when going up against Keuchel as a lefty hitter.
"You've got to stay disciplined, but you've got to be aggressive," Bird said. "It kind of contradicts each other, but you've got to get him on the plate, and when you do, you'e got to make it hurt."
Keuchel threw 14 scoreless frames before the Yankees got to him, but when they did, it opened the flood gates. Headley explains how that first run jolted the Yankees' dugout, and the result was a complete shock to the Astros.
"He's as tough as anybody on us. And to really break through, in the second inning...to get a run, I thought that lifted everybody's spirits and gave us some confidence that we coudl get to him going forward," Headley said. "We knew we weren't going to bust it open and score seven off of him, but we could scratch a couple runs out, but that was going to be good enough with the way (Masahiro) Tanaka was throwing."
Keuchel fell behind five of the seven Yankee hitters that he gave up hits to, which was the result of grinding out at-bats.
"Against a guy like that, the only way you're going to break through is to grind them out, grind them out, grind them out," Headley said. "And finally we were able to break through."
The Yankees will likely use that same mentality against Game 6 starter Justin Verlander, who pitched a 13-strikeout, complete game in Game 2 of the series in Houston.