By Andrew Simon, David Adler, Manny Randhawa and Matt Kelly
One Game 5 was set up Wednesday. Another was settled.
Stephen Strasburg overcame an illness to stave off elimination, with help from a Michael A. Taylor grand slam, and the Nationals shut out the Cubs, 5-0, at Wrigley Field in Game 4 of the National League Division Series presented by T-Mobile. Washington will try to advance to the NL Championship Series presented by Camping World for the first time in club history on Thursday at Nationals Park, with the Dodgers waiting in the wings.
Later in the evening, the Yankees scored three early runs against Indians ace Corey Kluber and held on for a 5-2 victory at Progressive Field in Game 5 of the American League Division Series presented by Doosan. That made New York just the eighth team in Division Series history to rally from an 0-2 series deficit, and only the fifth to do it under the current 2-2-1 format (out of 43 who fell into that hole).
The Yanks advance to face the Astros in the AL Championship Series presented by Camping World, which begins Friday.
Here are some notable facts and figures to know from a wild Wednesday of postseason action.
Yanks complete trip back from brink
• The Yankees and Indians' pitchers combined for 125 strikeouts in Games 1 through 5, setting a record for five-game postseason series. The previous record was 111 combined punchouts by the Dodgers and Mets in the 2015 NLDS.
New York and Cleveland pitchers combined for 31 strikeouts in Game 5, also setting a benchmark for the most combined punchouts in a nine-inning postseason game. The previous mark was 28 strikeouts by the Astros and Royals in Game 4 of the 2015 ALDS.
The Yanks are the first team to win a nine-inning postseason game while striking out at least 16 times.
• Coming into this postseason, teams that won the first two games at home in a Division Series with the current 2-2-1 format had gone on to win the series 22 of 24 times. The Astros and Dodgers extended that record to 24-2. But the Indians could not keep the trend going. They join the 2003 A's (vs. Red Sox) and 1999 Indians (vs. Red Sox) in that club.
• What home-field advantage? With the Yankees' victory, road teams improved to 18-13 all-time in Division Series Game 5s, including 15-6 since 2002. The Yanks joined the 2012 Giants (vs. Reds), 2003 Red Sox and 1999 Red Sox as the only teams to finish off a comeback from a 2-0 Division Series deficit by winning Game 5 on the road.
Surprisingly, the Yankees' victory means home teams are 53-53 in winner-take-all games in postseason history.
• Going back to 1999, the Tribe is 3-17 in potential postseason clinchers, having lost six in a row since finishing off the ALCS against the Blue Jays last year.
• Didi Gregorius went deep twice against Kluber, homering in the first and third innings. It marked the second multi-homer performance this postseason, after Jose Altuve hit three in Game 1 of the Astros' ALDS matchup with the Red Sox. Gregorius is the 17th player in Yankees history to hit multiple home runs in a playoff game -- Babe Ruth (four), Bernie Williams (two), Lou Gehrig (two) and Mickey Mantle (two) all did it more than once -- and the first since Raul Ibanez in Game 3 of the 2012 ALDS vs. the Orioles.
• Only eight players before Gregorius had homered at least twice in a winner-take-all postseason game. Two of those players were Yanks: Yogi Berra in Game 7 of the 1956 World Series and Jason Giambi in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS.
• Following his home run against Minnesota in the AL Wild Card Game, Gregorius is now the first player to hit as many as three homers in winner-take-all contests in a single postseason.
• Until this series, Kluber had never allowed multiple home runs in consecutive starts. Game 5 also marked his third straight postseason start having allowed multiple homers, going back to Game 7 of last year's World Series.
• Kluber allowed a home run on his trademark curveball for the second straight game -- Gregorius' second homer in Game 5 and Aaron Hicks' homer in Game 2 both came against his curve. Kluber only allowed two home runs on his curveball in the 2017 regular season. Hitters had slugged just .149 against his curveball all season, the lowest mark among regular starting pitchers.
• Kluber could not complete four innings in either of his ALDS starts -- he lasted just 3 2/3 innings in Game 5, after going 2 2/3 innings in Game 2. He had never in his career gone back-to-back starts in which he did not complete four innings.
• In the second inning, Jacoby Ellsbury reached base on a catcher's interference -- which he's done more than any other player in MLB history. Ellsbury is the all-time catcher's interference record-holder, with 31 drawn in the regular season. He's also now the only player to have drawn multiple postseason catcher's interferences -- he also had one in Game 1 of the 2009 ALDS, when he was still with the Red Sox.
• Four straight one-out singles by the Indians in the fifth brought in two runs, and David Robertson from the bullpen. Still, Yankees starter CC Sabathia finished his night with nine strikeouts. That tied the left-hander's career high in the postseason, set in a complete game against the Orioles in Game 5 of the 2012 ALDS. It also set a postseason record for the most by any pitcher who completed fewer than five innings.
• Andrew Miller fulfilled his fireman role again for Cleveland, coming on in relief of Kluber in the fourth and holding the Yankees scoreless over two innings of relief. Miller struck out five Yanks, making him the first pitcher in history to notch three postseason relief appearances with at least five strikeouts. The other two for Miller came in Games 1 and 2 of the 2016 ALCS against the Blue Jays.
• Brett Gardner added insurance for New York in the top of the ninth, muscling a single to right that ended up driving home two runs after an error by Indians right fielder Jay Bruce. Gardner's hit came on the 12th pitch of his at-bat against Tribe closer Cody Allen, tying teammate Chase Headley's 12-pitch walk against Miller in Game 1 for the longest plate appearance by any player in the 2017 postseason so far.
• Aaron Judge had another four-strikeout game Wednesday, marking his fourth "golden sombrero" already this October -- a record for any player over an entire postseason career, let alone a single series. Judge's 16 strikeouts over the five games against the Indians are also a record for a player in any single postseason series.
• Aroldis Chapman sent the Yankees on to the ALCS by completing the final two innings. It was the seventh time in the Divisional Era (since 1995) that a pitcher notched a scoreless save of at least two innings in a postseason clincher. Most recently Jeurys Familia did it for the Mets against the Dodgers in Game 5 of the 2015 NLDS. The Yanks' Mariano Rivera did it twice in the ALDS -- in 1999's Game 3 against the Rangers and 2001's Game 5 against the A's.
Nats back Stras, force Game 5
• With seven scoreless innings, Strasburg's career postseason ERA is now 0.47 (one earned run in 19 innings over three starts). The 29-year-old right-hander owns the lowest postseason ERA among active starting pitchers who have made at least three postseason starts. The Cubs' Kyle Hendricks (1.98 ERA in eight starts) is second, followed by Matt Cain (2.10 ERA in eight starts), Madison Bumgarner (2.11 ERA in 14 starts) and Dallas Keuchel (2.29 ERA in three starts).
• With 12 strikeouts to go with his 10 from Game 1, Strasburg tied Justin Verlander's record of 22 strikeouts in a Division Series, which was set in 2012 while with the Tigers. He also joined Verlander ('12 and '13 Tigers) and Cliff Lee ('10 Rangers) as the only pitchers to reach double-digit strikeouts twice in the same Division Series. The only other pitchers to do it in any postseason series are Mike Mussina (1997 ALCS for Orioles), Bob Gibson ('67 and '68 World Series for Cardinals) and Sandy Koufax ('65 World Series for Dodgers).
Strasburg also joined Verlander (2013 ALDS) and Koufax (1965 World Series) as the only pitchers to strike out at least 10 batters and allow no earned runs in multiple starts in the same postseason series.
• After Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle followed Strasburg with a scoreless inning each, the Nationals had their first postseason shutout in club history. In franchise history, the Expos tossed two in 1981 -- in Game 5 of the NLDS against the Phillies and Game 2 of the NLCS against the Dodgers. Both were solo efforts, by Steve Rogers and Ray Burris, respectively.
• Entering Game 4, Strasburg had gotten zero runs of support over 12 career postseason innings pitched. The only active pitcher to have pitched more postseason innings without a run of support was the Yankees' Sonny Gray (16 1/3 innings pitched). That changed when the Nationals scored a run in the third inning and four in the eighth.
• Taylor provided the Nationals with some much-needed breathing room in the eighth, lifting a grand slam to right field off Wade Davis for a 5-0 lead. It was the first postseason slam in franchise history, which includes the Expos. Taking into account a Jayson Werth strikeout in the fourth inning, the Nats had been 1-for-11 with a single, a hit by pitch, three RBIs and six strikeouts in bases-loaded situations in the postseason (since 2012).
• Davis previously had not allowed a homer in 24 career postseason relief outings, which consisted of 29 1/3 innings. His only home run allowed in the playoffs came in his first career postseason game -- when he was still a starter for the Rays in 2010. That home run was hit by Texas' Nelson Cruz in Game 4 of the ALDS.
Davis had allowed just one grand slam in his career, also as a starter. That was on July 10, 2013, with the Royals against the Yanks' Lyle Overbay.
• In the second inning, Addison Russell came close to knocking a two-run homer off Strasburg that would have given the Cubs a lead. But thanks to the weather at Wrigley Field, the ball got knocked down harmlessly, just in front of the ivy, for a flyout. With an exit velocity of 96.0 mph and a launch angle of 30 degrees, according to Statcast™, batted balls like Russell's aren't always a home run -- but they can be, and they have been at Wrigley before. Since Statcast™ started tracking in 2015, 17 of 79 similar batted balls to Russell's hit at Wrigley Field -- those within two mph of exit velocity and two degrees of launch angle -- have been home runs (24.1 percent). By right-handed hitters specifically, 13 of 47 (27.7 percent) have been homers.
• Kris Bryant became the first player in Cubs postseason history to strike out four times in a game. Bryant has a pair of four-strikeout games in the regular season, but both came in 2015.
• Jon Lester not only gave the Cubs 3 2/3 strong innings of relief, but also overcame his infamous throwing issues to pick Ryan Zimmerman off first base in the eighth on a play that was overturned upon review. After recording 24 pickoffs over his first six MLB seasons, the lefty had just three since 2012, including one this year (June 3 vs. the Cardinals' Tommy Pham). He had never picked off a runner in the postseason.