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Yankees 13, Astros 4: Offense explodes in the late innings

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Michael Pineda and Bryan Mitchell hold the Astros in place while the offense mounts a full on slugfest.

New York Yankees v Houston Astros Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

A great win after such a heartbreaking day yesterday. The Yankees beat the best team in baseball and the entire team contributed. There was good pitching and a lot of clutch batting. It was a pretty good night as the Yankees routed the Astros by a score of 13 - 4.

The Yankees’ offense looked stagnant for the first half of tonight’s game, mostly because of Lance McCullers Jr. The Astros right-hander showcased strong off-speed pitches and kept the Yankees off-balance for the first five innings. He gave left-handed batters a steady diet of backdoor breaking pitches. Interestingly, McCullers got Aaron Judge to whiff multiple times on changeups inside. The Yankees were able to produce a run on two weakly hit doubles from Brett Gardner and Did Gregorius, but the offense was pretty quiet until the sixth.

The Astros came into the sixth with what felt like a semi-comfortable lead, but it certainly didn’t last. Gregorius led off the sixth with a single. An Austin Romine walk and a high pitch count forced McCullers out of the game after 5.1 innings. The Yankees wasted no time getting to the Astros’ bullpen. Ronald Torreyes, Chris Carter, Gardner, and Jacoby Ellsbury all singled in runs during the sixth, which netted the Yankees four runs.

A ball four, wild pitch put Judge on first and allowed Gardner to score the fifth and final run of the inning. The Yankees came into the inning with a two-run deficit and left with a three-run lead. The Yankees continued the offensive output in the seventh. The Yankees led off with singles from Headley and Romine. Torreyes loaded the bases on a walk, and Gardner unloaded them with a two-out grand slam.

By the ninth inning, the Yankees’ offense had worn out the Astros’ bullpen. Houston was forced to run Nori Aoki out to pitch. Carter, Gardner, and Ellsbury all knocked in a run off the Astros’ outfielder. Somewhat amusingly, Aoki mustered a swing-and-miss off Judge. That’s something you don’t see everyday.

The stat sheet doesn’t necessarily show it, but I thought Michael Pineda had a great start tonight. George Springer gave Pineda more trouble than any other Astros’ player. Springer led off the game with a double, which then turned into the game’s first run. Springer made a loud out to center in the third and added a hard hit single in the fourth.

After that hiccup, Pineda looked pretty good in the second and third innings. He gave up two runs, and the lead, in the fourth inning, but I’m not sure that was entirely his fault. Jose Altuve led off the inning with a single. The next batter, Carlos Correa, followed with a single into right field. Altuve went to take third on the play, and Tyler Wade made a pretty decent throw to try and get him. Headley, however, misplayed the short hop and allowed Altuve to take third and Correa to move to second.

It looked like Headley might have been able to get Altuve on the play if he had fielded the ball cleanly. Wade was given an error on the play, but it was more Headley’s fault than anything. The miscue put runners at second and third with no outs and the Astros capitalized, bringing in both runners on a Carlos Beltran groundout and Marwin Gonzalez single. Pineda allowed another hit in the fifth inning, and he finished his day with a three up, three down sixth inning.

Bryan Mitchell came into to relieve Pineda with a comfortable lead. Mitchell allowed a single run to come across in the eighth, but otherwise pitched great in his first big league outing since May 30th.

It was great to see the team go out and get a win like that tonight. Yesterday had to have been a demoralizing day. Between the injury, extended rain delay, and arriving in Houston at 6 AM Friday morning, I didn’t have high expectations for the team’s performance tonight. Thankfully, I was wrong.

It looks like Clint Frazier is going to be joining the team in Houston tomorrow, so we’re going to see another Yankee prospect. Frazier looks to be the 10th Yankee to make his major league debut. I thought Miguel Andujar was the obvious candidate to be sent down in place of Frazier, but that doesn’t look guaranteed. According to Jack Curry, Mitchell might be headed down to Triple-A after throwing three innings in relief tonight.

Box Score