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Yankees 4, Astros 3: Volpe’s late RBI single helps Bombers eke out win

Homers from Stanton and McKinney got the Yankees off to a good start, before a crucial late Volpe hit sent the Bronx faithful home happy.

Houston Astros v New York Yankees Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images

In the series opener against the Astros, the Yankees’ offense was tasked with facing Cristian Javier, who had two quite notable starts in the Bronx last year. In the first, he threw the first seven innings of the Astros’ combined no-hitter. In the other, he allowed just one hit in 5.1 innings in a listless Game 3 ALCS loss that, for all intents and purposes, ended the Yankees’ season. It didn’t take long for them to top both of those efforts in this one. Early homers from Giancarlo Stanton and Billy McKinney got the Yankees off to a great start, but they needed a little more after that.

While the Yankees’ offense didn’t light up the scoreboard all nine innings, that good start plus a solid outing from Clarke Schmidt kept the game fairly even. In the end, a go-ahead hit from Anthony Volpe gave the Yankees a late lead, which held up for a 4-3 win over the Astros.

While Jake Bauer and Gleyber Torres both made outs in two of the first three at-bats, they both made decent contact on balls that ended up as deep fly outs. In between them was a nicely-worked eight-pitch walk by Aaron Judge. That brought up Stanton, and he didn’t miss. Stanton crushed a 430-foot blast, giving the Yankees a quick lead. McKinney then made it back-to-back homers as the Yankees got off to a perfect start.

While Schmidt worked out of some trouble in the first inning, he couldn’t do the same in the second. After walking Yordan Álvarez, Schmidt allowed a single to José Abreu. While he got the next out, a wild pitch in the process moved both runners up a base. That allowed one to score on a Jake Myers ground out. Light-hitting Martín Maldonado followed that with another single, tacking on another for Houston.

Javier somewhat held the Yankees in check for the next couple innings, but a Torres two-out single in the fifth knocked him out after 4.2 frames. Despite that, the Yankees were able to hold their lead thanks to Schmidt. He departed after five innings, having allowed two runs on four hits and a walk, striking out four.

Wandy Peralta came on to replace Schmidt for the sixth, but Kyle Tucker took the third pitch he threw off the second deck down the right field line, tying things up. It was the first time this season that Peralta allowed an extra-base hit to a lefty, and he wouldn’t end up seeing the end of the inning. Michael King came in for him and finished up the sixth.

Back in a tie game, the Yankees got a two-out rally going in the bottom of the sixth. While the recently acquired Astros’ reliever Kendall Graveman retired the first two hitters of the inning, he then issued a walk to Harrison Bader, who then stole second during the next at-bat. A couple pitches after that, Volpe came up with a big single, retaking the lead.

King stayed in for the seventh, where he got into and then out of a very dangerous spot. With one out of the inning, Maldonado singled for his third hit of the day. In the next at-bat, José Altuve tapped a grounder back to King. The pitcher fielded it and attempted to go to second to start a double play, but neither Volpe or Torres were at the second base bag yet. Volpe caught the throw, but his throw to first wasn’t nearly in time, giving the Yankees zero outs on the play instead of two, or even just one. In a potentially very bad pickle, King managed to induce another ground ball. This time, Isiah Kiner-Falefa fielded it at third, stepped on the base, and fired over to first to complete a successful double play.

Tommy Kahnle was brought on for the eighth, and worked a 1-2-3 inning. After the Yankees couldn’t add to their lead, Clay Holmes came on for the ninth. He got the first out of the inning, but Chas McCormick then gave the Astros some life with a single. Holmes got the second out, and Mauricio Dubón was sent up as a pinch-hitter. He proceeded to ramp up the drama with an unfortunately placed Baltimore chop that put the tying run in scoring position and brought Altuve to the plate. However, Holmes got Altuve to ground out on the first pitch, sealing the win.

With that, the Yankees can now clinch at least a series split with a win tomorrow. Luis Severino will get the start, while Hunter Brown will go for the Astros.

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