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Yankees 6, Astros 3: Aaron Judge walks it off again as Bombers stage another comeback

After avoiding some potentially very bad history, the Yankees fought back to salvage a split with Houston.

Houston Astros v New York Yankees Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

For a long portion of this game, it seemed like the story was going to be whether the Yankees were going to pull off a rather ignominious historical feat. Through six innings, they were being no-hit by the Astros’ José Urquidy, just a day after three Houston pitchers had thrown a combined no-no.

In one other instance, a team had been no-hit on consecutive days, although the second of that sequence was the second game of a doubleheader, meaning there was a game in between. However, there are no prior instances of a team getting no-hit in back-to-back games. It seemed like they might be the first, as their handful of even decently struck balls kept finding Astros’ fielder’s gloves.

Finally in the seventh, Giancarlo Stanton ended those worries with a home run, but the game still seemed destined for a dreary Sunday afternoon loss. But unlike yesterday, the Yankees showed the fight we’ve been used to this season. A DJ LeMahieu home run in the eighth brought them back, as the game eventually went into extra innings. There, after a close call, Aaron Judge was the hero for the second time in a couple days, giving the Yankees a wild 6-3 win and a series split against the Astros.

The game got off to a less than ideal start when José Altuve homered on the very first pitch of the game. Cortes bounced back and retired nine of the next 10 hitters he faced, but the Yankees were again in an early hole.

There was a bit of a delay between the top and bottom halves of the third inning as home plate umpire Mike Muchlinski had to be replaced. He had taken a foul ball off the mask in the first inning.

After the Yankees had their hitless streak extended to 13 innings dating back to Friday, the Astros struck again in the fourth. Cortes got two quick outs, but Yuli Gurriel kept the inning alive with an infield single. Jeremy Peña followed that with a double and Mauricio Dubón then dropped in a single to score both runners.

Cortes would get through one more inning with Miguel Castro then coming in to start the sixth. After that stretch where Cortes was seemingly going deep every time out, this was a fourth-straight start where he’s not made it past 5.1 innings.

Our long national nightmare finally came to an end in the seventh inning. With one out in the inning, Stanton crushed his home run to straightaway center, getting the Yankees on the board in both the hits and runs column. It was the Yankees’ first hit since the eighth inning on Friday night, ending a record-tying hitless streak.

After two scoreless innings from Castro, they got another from Wandy Peralta in the eighth, setting up the bottom of the eighth.

With one out in the inning, Isiah Kiner-Falefa picked up the Yankees’ second hit of the day with a singled. Two batters later, DJ LeMahieu stepped to the plate. On the fifth pitch of the at bat, LeMahieu took a Phil Maton pitch into the seats in left, tying the game a bit out of nowhere after things had looked bleak for so long.

While the Yankees failed to take advantage of a chance to take the lead in the inning, they had made a game of things again.

Clay Holmes came in for the top of the ninth and threw a scoreless inning after they opted to intentionally walk Yordan Álvarez. The Yankees then got a big chance in the top of the ninth that ended in extremely unfortunate circumstances.

Gleyber Torres drew a one-out walk and then made it all the way to third after an error on the throw as he tried to steal second. In the next at-bat, Aaron Hicks worked the count full before striking out. On the final pitch of to Hicks, Torres appeared to hurt his ankle in the process of getting back to the bag. The Astros tagged him out as he was on the ground. He walked off the field without any help, but he left the game after that.

Michael King came in for the 10th. Kiner-Falefa made an error on an Altuve grounder in the first at-bat of the inning, giving Houston first and second with nobody out. The zombie runner, Jason Castro, then stole third, putting the go-ahead run 90 feet away. After getting the first out of the inning, King then walked Alex Bregman, loading the bases. In a huge spot, he managed to induce two pop ups, getting the Yankees out of the jam.

In their chance in the 10th, the Yankees bunted Hicks over to third to start things off. After Matt Carpenter was sent up as a pinch-hitter, Houston quickly chose to intentionally walk him, brining LeMahieu back to the plate. That initially worked, as LeMahieu couldn’t be the hero twice and struck out. However, there was still the matter of that Judge fella. For whatever reason, Houston did not walk him as well, allowing this to happen:

The Yankees were very much outplayed for much of this series. Even in the two games they won, it required some remarkable late inning comebacks. But despite that, they still split a series against one of the other best teams in baseball. For as frustrating Friday, yesterday, and the first part of today were, you truly can’t count out this team.

Box score