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Giancarlo Stanton back in Yankees' lineup for ALCS Game 5

A leadoff blast by DJ LeMahieu and a tiebreaking three-run shot by Aaron Hicks in the first inning helped the Yankees beat the Astros, 4-1, in front of an electric crowd of 48,483 on a crisp night at the Stadium. (Credit: Newsday / Robert Cassidy/Greg Inserillo)

Aaron Boone said before ALCS Game 4 that he was “tempted” to put Giancarlo Stanton in that night’s lineup.

He made the move for Game 5, putting Stanton at DH and batting cleanup. He had not played since straining his right quadriceps in Game 1. In four playoff games, he had a .300/.467/.600 slash line.

Stanton went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts in the Yankees’ 4-1 victory in Game 5 on Friday night.

With the score tied at 1-1 in the first inning, Stanton struck out swinging with runners on second and third and none out. Aaron Hicks picked him up with a three-run homer off the rightfield foul pole.

“I was pretty encouraged by some of the progress I saw from him [Thursday],” Boone said before Game 5. “And then after the game late last night, he came by my office and [he] was just like, ‘Let’s go.’ So I was probably going to put him in today.”

Stanton played in only 18 regular-season games because of an assortment of injuries.

How close did he feel to 100 percent?

“We’re ready to go,” he said after taking batting practice. “There’s no percentages, this and that. We don’t have time for that. It’s a must-win. I’m in there to make an impact. That’s all I can do.”

The injury could not have come at a more inopportune time for Stanton, who had two hits, including a home run, in the Yankees’ Game 1 victory.

“That’s the most frustrating part of these past couple of days,” he said of watching the Yankees lose three straight. “But if I can be in there and contribute, that’s what we need. And we need it now.”

Stanton replaced Edwin Encarnacion, who had struggled since getting two hits in each of the first two ALDS victories over the Twins, going 1-for-19 with eight strikeouts. Boone said Encarnacion’s difficulties at the plate didn’t necessarily make his decision easier.

“I kind of debated over a few different options, considered having him [Encarnacion] in there today in the field,” Boone said. “There were a few different scenarios I was considering, but felt like this is the one for today that I settled on, and it doesn’t mean he won’t be back in there tomorrow.”

With Tim Healey

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