Previously, Yankees manager Aaron Boone said the Astros’ arrival in town in the coming days would lead to “a series of shots in the arm.” For eight innings, however, it felt like a shot in the arm. grim prediction.
But then the Yankees lit up what was a transcendent season. Trailing 6-3 and hitless since the first inning, they broke out for four runs late in the ninth inning, sending a crowd of 44,071 Astros laughing in their seats and then out of the stadium believing anything is possible. , reveling in a 7-6 win on Thursday against a team they love to hate.
Aaron Hicks hit a three-run home run closer to Ryan Pressly, who came in and quickly walked the first two batters he faced, setting up Hicks’ line drive in the right field seats . Aaron Judge, who went to an arbitration hearing with the Yankees on Friday, hit game-winning reliever Ryne Stanek, continuing his magical, MVP-worthy season.
“It’s a pretty special game for June,” Boone said.
“We don’t want to lose, you know,” Hicks said. “We are a team that will continue to fight until the end, until the last withdrawal. We’ll believe we still have a chance.”
If the next three games in this series are anything like the opener, this is a fascinating showcase of the two teams with the best records in the American League. The Yankees are 52-18, the third best start in franchise history after 70 games. It matches the third-best start after 70 games of any major league team in the past 93 years. This one might have been the toughest and most dramatic of them all.
The Astros got the upper hand early against Jameson Taillon, struggling with a rare ineffective outing. Before recording a first-inning out, he gave up a three-run homer to Alex Bregman. The Yankees responded late in the first with Giancarlo Stanton’s three-pointer on Astros starter Framber Valdez, but what looked like it could turn into a fight never happened. Valdez settled and the Yankees didn’t get another hit until the ninth inning.
Yordan Alvarez, who hit two home runs against the Mets on Wednesday night in Houston, hit a three-run homer against Taillon in the third inning. Valdez retired 14 straight batters for the Yankees and they didn’t threaten to score until the eighth inning, when right fielder Kyle Tucker chased Anthony Rizzo’s drive and made a leaping catch, holding on despite being crushed against the wall.
Three times in the past seven years, the Astros have eliminated the Yankees from the playoffs, including the 2017 ALCS, which the Astros won in seven games. When it was revealed that the Astros were embroiled in a sign-stealing scandal this season – possibly robbing the Yankees of a World Series appearance – the Astros instantly became enemies of the state (of New York ). Jose Altuve was mocked before and during every at-bat and he responded with two doubles and a single.
The Yankees were down 11-2 heading into the ninth inning.
“We’re never out of a game,” Judge said.
It looked like the Astros would quiet the crowd, but their bullpen got them in. Pressly walked Stanton and Gleyber Torres to start the bottom of the ninth and Hicks then threw his third homer of the season. After Jose Trevino picked center, Pressly was called out for Stanek, who put Joey Gallo out and then, with two outs, made the crucial mistake of running DJ LeMahieu.
This brought Judge to the plate. Stanek trailed 3-0 and looked like he was circling the MLB home run leader. Judge was given the go-ahead and drove the ball into left field, sending LeMahieu home with the winning run and sending the players in the Yankees dugout sinking downfield to mob Judge.
Three relievers – Lucas Luetge, Albert Abreu and Miguel Castro – pitched 3 ¹/₃ scoreless innings to allow the comeback to materialize and give the Yankees their baseball-highs ninth win of the season.