NEW YORK (AP) — The decisive Game 5 of the AL Division Series between the Cleveland Guardians and New York Yankees did not start on time because of rain.

The game was scheduled to begin at 7:07 p.m. on Monday night, and Major League Baseball announced at about 6:20 p.m. that the start was being delayed.

An announcement by public-address announcer Paul Olden informed fans of the impending delay, and the grounds crew at Yankee Stadium covered the infield with the tarp just before 6:40 p.m. A steady rain started at 7:30 p.m.

“If weather is an issue, I don’t want to be powering through that necessarily,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said around 4 p.m.

Cleveland outfielder Myles Straw, who got into an angry confrontation with Yankees fans in April, exchanged football tosses with fans in the first and second decks during the delay, as did outfielder Will Brennan.

Aaron Civale was scheduled to pitch for the Guardians against Jameson Taillon.

Cleveland or New York will open the AL Championship Series at Houston on Wednesday night.

Game 2 of the series was rained out last Thursday at Yankee Stadium, pushing it back to Friday afternoon.

After losing last week’s opener, Cleveland won Games 2 and 3, overcoming a two-run deficit in the ninth inning to win Game 3 by 6-5. The Yankees won 4-2 on Sunday night in Cleveland to force the series back to New York.

The Yankees’ banged-up bullpen has been taxed, while Cleveland’s top relievers are fresh.

New York used Clay Holmes for 17 pitches and Wandy Peralta for seven on Sunday, a night after Peralta threw 27, Clarke Schmidt 12, Jonathan Loáisiga 15 and Lou Trivino seven. Peralta has pitched three straight days.

The Yankees are missing Chad Green, Scott Effress, Zack Britton, Michael King and Ron Marinaccio because of injuries, and Aroldis Chapman was dropped after failing to show up for a mandatory Oct. 7 workout.

Cleveland has not used its top relievers since Friday, when All-Star closer Emmanuel Classe threw 33 pitches after Trevor Stephan tossed 21 and James Karinchak 29.

The Guardians used Sam Hentges (31), Enyel De Los Santos (19) and Eli Morgan (12) on Saturday, and Morgan (23), Cody Morris (22) and Zach Plesac (11) on Sunday.

PLAYING THE FIELD

New York slugger Giancarlo Stanton could see time in left field in Houston if the Yankees advance. He has been limited to DH and pinch hitting, and he last played the outfield on July 21, before he went on the injured list for a month with left Achilles tendinitis.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Yankees: Marinaccio (right shin) and fellow RHP Frankie Montas (right shoulder inflammation) could be available if the Yankees face Houston. Marinaccio last pitched Oct. 2 and Montas on Sept 16. … OF Andrew Benintendi, who hasn’t played since Sept. 2, had an injection for his right wrist and probably would not be available against the Astros.

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