Judge Aaron re-states case, raises New York Yankees to Houston Astros on eve of arbitration hearing

Judge Aaron re-states case, raises New York Yankees to Houston Astros on eve of arbitration hearing

NEW YORK — Aaron Judge doubled down a game-winning single on the eve of his umpire clash, capping a four-run ninth inning that included Aaron Hicks’ tie, three-run homer against Ryan Pressly in the Yankees’ 7- New York 6 win over the Houston Astros on Thursday night.

Batting with two against Ryne Stanek, Judge smoked a 3-0 splitter in the left field corner to score Jose Trevino from second base. It was the Yankees’ ninth win in 70 games this season — their most since 1943 — and one that seemed highly unlikely when they went into the final inning with just two hits.

New York won the opener of a much-anticipated four-game series between the American League’s top two teams, winning for the 19th time in 22 games to improve to 52-18 – the third-best start in 70 games in the majors since 1930.

New York also extended its home winning streak to 15 games, the team’s longest since 1961.

The Yankees entered Thursday tied for the lead in the major leagues with 20 comeback wins. No. 21 might be the most memorable.

Giancarlo Stanton, who hit a three-run homer in the first inning, started the ninth with a walk against Pressly, and Gleyber Torres fired another in a plate appearance that included a long delay because Torres had something in his eye.

Hicks, who hit the switch, then dug in from the left side and smashed a no-doubt right, just the third hit for the Yankees all night and the first since the Stanton Homer. It was Hicks’ third homer of the season.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa followed with shot No. 4, an infield single stopped by diving shortstop Mauricio Dubon, but was then sent off trying to steal the second – a close call confirmed via replay.

Trevino then fielded a one-out single, prompting manager Dusty Baker to retire Pressly (1-2). Trevino also hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning of a 5-4 win at Tampa Bay on Wednesday night.

Pressly, a two-time All-Star, entered with a 5.71 ERA in 18 career appearances against the Yankees, including the playoffs.

Stanek walked DJ LeMahieu, then fell behind Judge 3-0 as fans sang the slugger’s serenade with “MVP!” songs.

“I knew I was going to get the job done,” Judge said after his third career success and his second this season. “That’s when this game is at its best, moments like this. The crowd is on, the game is on the line. These are the moments in your backyard that you crave.”

Miguel Castro (4-0) picked up the win.

Next up: an unusual in-season arbitration hearing on Friday – decisions are usually made in the offseason but have been pushed back past opening day due to the sport’s labor lockdown. Judge is asking for a salary of $21 million, while New York offered $17 million in his final season before reaching free agency.

The judge said earlier in the week that he was looking forward to the hearing. It’s easy to see why.

He leads the majors with 27 homers and is fifth with 53 RBIs.

The Astros’ Alex Bregman and Stanton traded three-run homers in the first inning, and Houston’s Yordan Alvarez hit another three-run shot in the third against Yankees starter Jameson Taillon.

Framber Valdez leveled off after a turbulent first inning, Jose Altuve had three hits and right fielder Kyle Tucker stole a potential homer in the eighth inning for Houston, but the Astros fell to 43-26 in a rare overnight for the main bullpen of the majors. .

Stanton became the first player to hit Valdez’s elite curveball this season, and the southpaw walked away from his best shot after that – with stellar results. With a heavy dose of pellets, Valdez struck out seven over six innings, allowing only the three runs on two hits, both in the first inning.

Valdez looked set to go deeper into the game until Anthony Rizzo hit a 16-pitch walk in the sixth inning. Valdez was retired after 101 pitches.

Hector Neris threw a perfect seventh and Tucker helped Rafael Montero past the eighth. After the judge reached third baseman Bregman’s error, Rizzo smoked what he thought was a two-run right homer. As Rizzo jogs first, Tucker leaps into the wall and grabs the drive line for the third out.

Taillon allowed a season-high six points, snapping a stellar first half after years of health issues. Houston had 10 hits in 5⅔ innings against the right-hander.

Fans have been feisty for the renewal of a thriving baseball rivalry — Houston has knocked the Yankees out of three playoff series since 2015, including in its scandal-ridden 2017 World Series run.

Bronx fans were thrilled when Taillon dove Altuve early in the game, but fell back in their seats when Bregman homered to left field moments later. The lull ended when Stanton responded with his late-inning drive.

Alvarez, who homered twice against the Mets on Wednesday night, hit a 113-mph low line into Yankee Stadium’s short right-field porch in the third. Alvarez’s 22 home runs trail only Judge’s 27 for the major league lead.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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