The first six innings of this game went about as well as the Yankees could have hoped. They wren’t amazing against Lance McCullers, but the got him for a couple runs and had a lead. Masahiro Tanaka kept the Astros off the board and was cruising. Then the seventh inning happened.
A couple of singles, a controversial hit by pitch call, and a disastrous Chad Green outing gave the lead away to the Astros. Even though the Yankees had already guaranteed a split in the series, letting this one slip away would have been beyond frustrating.
Instead of letting that happen, the Yankees capped off a rally of their own, scoring three runs in the ninth to re-take the lead. The series win in Houston was back on, and the Yankees eventually closed out a 6-5 win in the series finale.
The Yankees got on the board first in the second inning thanks to the smallest of balls. They loaded the bases to start the inning thanks to a walk, a hit by pitch, and a slow single up the middle. Ronald Torreyes then added another soft single, this one not getting past the infield. The Astros had no play anywhere, and Gary Sanchez scored. The next batter was Gleyber Torres, who flew out, but deeply enough for another run to tag up and score. The Yankees had a chance at more, but Miguel Andujar was tagged out at home by McCullers after Brian McCann quickly recovered on a pitch that got past him.
An inning later, they tacked another on. It started with Didi Gregorius hitting a two out double. A couple batters later, after a Sanchez walk, Neil Walker singled, scoring Gregorius.
Tanaka cruised through the first six innings, holding the Astros scoreless. At that point, the Yankees had kept the Astros off the board for 28 straight innings in the series dating back to the first game. Not only did that end in the seventh, but things fell apart.
It started with Yuli Gurriel and Josh Reddick both hitting singles off Tanaka. After a hit by pitch to load the bases and an upheld review, Tanaka was removed from the game. Green came in for him, and immediately allowed two-straight singles, scoring a run each. A wild pitch then plated a third run and the lead was gone. Green would get the next two outs, but one of them was a grounder that hit off him, leaving the only play at first. A run scored on that play as well, giving the Astros the lead.
Green stayed in for the following inning, allowing another run on a monster Carlos Correa homer.
After a uneventful eighth inning, the Yankees were down to their last three outs in the ninth. It started with Will Harris walking Walker. Then, Andujar singled. Aaron Hicks was sent up as a pinch-hitter, and he promptly singled. With still nobody out, the bases were loaded for Gleyber Torres.
Harris was replaced in favor of Brad Peacock before the at bat. The youngest Yankee then made the biggest play of the day. Torres singled, scoring two to tie the game. A couple batters later, Aaron Judge hit what could have been an inning-ending double play. Instead, Jose Altuve fumbled the ball at little bit and Judge reached safely. That also allowed Hicks to score, putting the Yankees back in front.
Aroldis Chapman came in for the ninth and got two quick outs before things got interesting. He struck out Evan Gattis in what should have ended the game. However, the strike was a little wild and bounced away from Sanchez. He couldn’t find the ball for a second and Gattis reached safely. George Springer then singled, putting the tying run in scoring position. With Jose Altuve at the plate, Chapman blew three fastballs past him to actually end the game this time.
This game, this series, and this little road trip all had potential to be a frustrating patch for the Yankees. Instead, they came out ahead in all three.