I'll be brutally honest. I did not think the Yankees would win this game. In fact, I tweeted the following just before Chris Young hit the three-run home run that would ultimately be the difference maker:
Only three possible outcomes: solo homer in the ninth; tie the game but lose in extras, or my favorite: nothing.— Matt Provenzano (@mattprov94) June 27, 2015
I was exaggerating a bit, but there's a grain of truth here. The offense has been lively, but they have had an inability to come from behind (evidenced by their prolific first inning scoring, for example), and when they do come back, an excruciating loss in extra innings likely follows. They have lost four of five extra inning games this year.
But tonight, we had a hero. Actually, we had two heroes. I'll start with the first hero, probably the one that will go unsung--Nathan Eovaldi. I had mentioned in the game thread post that Eovaldi's ERA and DRA meant he has been a replacement level pitcher thus far, but he did not show that tonight. Everything that had been a glaring issue was gone tonight, and he really seemed locked in. He was throwing his curveball for early strikes, he was effectively mixing in the splitter, and his seemingly straight fastball was located perfectly to induce a lot of weak contact. And, he got six strikeouts to boot.
Eovaldi did have a couple of hiccups, but they were very minor. He allowed one run in the third inning on a Hank Conger double and a Carlos Correa single, and he allowed another run on an Evan Gattis RBI bloop single, and that one was just bad luck. He finished the night with six innings, five hits, two walks, two earned runs, and six strikeouts.
The second hero was Chris Young, and this one was the most surprising. After Vincent Velasquez (who pitched incredibly well, by the way) was pulled from the game after allowing consecutive singles to Carlos Beltran and Garrett Jones in the seventh inning, Astros' manager AJ Hinch brought in Will Harris to face Young. Young has a career 83 wRC+ against right-handed pitching, and Harris had a 0.78 ERA coming into tonight. But, of course, exactly the opposite of what we expected occurred. Young hit a rocket into the left field seats, and the Yankees got a one-run lead. The Yankees did threaten by loading the bases afterward, but the threat evaporated when Mark Teixeira popped out.
Then, the great back-end of the bullpen went to work. Chasen Shreve struck out the side in the bottom half of the seventh, and Justin Wilson retired the first two batters in the eighth before walking Luis Valbuena. Joe Girardi went to Dellin Betances for the four-out save, and he did what he does best. He recorded all four outs in a row, and that was that; the Yankees won the game, 3-2.
The Yankees and Astros will go back at it for the third game of this four game set tomorrow afternoon, as Masahiro Tanaka will take on Brett Oberholtzer. The game will start at 4:10 PM EST, and you can catch it on YES, MLB.tv, MLB Network, or WFAN radio.