After an encouraging win last night, the Yankees elected to have Luis Severino take another turn in the rotation. Instead of solving his woes, he exacerbated them with a trio of first-inning runs to put New York in an early hole. The pitching staff ultimately surrendered five extra-base hits while the offense failed to do much against Hunter Brown. So it was back to losing ways in a 7-3 victory for Houston.
The large Friday night crowd in the Bronx didn’t have much to cheer about early on. Jose Altuve smacked the first pitch of the night to the left-field wall for a double. After a Kyle Tucker walk, Yainer Díaz boomed a demoralizing three-run home run, and before many fans settled into their seats, it was 3-0, Astros.
In the bottom half, hits by Gleyber Torres and Jake Bauers set the Yankees up with men on first and second. Torres and Bauers are locked in and continue to buoy the top of the lineup. Next, Giancarlo Stanton struck out, then Billy McKinney drove a deep fly ball to the warning track in center field. It looked destined to hit grass, but Astros center fielder Jake Meyers impressively tracked it down, ending the inning and stranding the runners.
The second inning wasn’t any better for Severino. It started with back-to-back walks, then an Altuve bloop single loaded the bases. Severino ran a 3-2 fastball inside on Alex Bregman and it caught him in the bicep, forcing in a run and making it 4-0 in favor of the visiting team. The inning ended before a complete implosion — Sevy struck out Yordan Alvarez and retired Tucker to leave the bases full of Astros.
In the bottom of the third, after a Kyle Higashioka leadoff single, Isiah Kiner-Falefa bounced into a double play, bringing Bauers to the plate. He drove a fly ball that nicked the left-field foul pole, giving the crowd its first reason to cheer after stunned silence the first two innings.
Severino settled in to post scoreless innings in the third and fourth after his shaky start, but the Bauers home run was Brown’s only hiccup through his first four innings of work.
Manager Aaron Boone sent Severino out to start the fifth. It didn’t last long, as Alvarez did what Alvarez does and clubbed a home run to lead off the inning. Sevy executed his pitch, backdoor slider down. The formidable Astros slugger got the bat head out and clobbered it.
Boone came out to remove Severino virtually before the ball landed, his day done after four-plus innings and his ERA up to a ghastly 7.74. Albert Abreu came on and worked around some loud contact to put up a zero in the top half of the fifth. Halfway through, the score stood at 5-1 Astros. In the postgame, Jack Curry of YES Network all but confirmed that Severino might have made his last start for the time being — and perhaps for the rest of his once-promising Yankees career.
After two quick outs to begin the home fifth, Kiner-Falefa atoned for his earlier GIDP and rocketed an opposite-field line drive into the first row in right-center field to bring the game within three.
Abreu went back out for the 6th and got himself in trouble. A Meyers double and Bregman walk placed runners on the corners with Alvarez coming up. Boone went for the platoon matchup and brought in Nick Ramirez. He walked Alvarez, and then Tucker tagged a Ramirez offering down the right-field line for a double, scoring Meyers and Bregman and extending the lead to five runs.
Tucker ran roughshod over the Yankees all night and even stole two important bases that would lead to runs. Ramirez got out of the inning after the damage had been done, failing to retire either of the lefties he was tasked with facing.
The score held, and the Yankees had a golden opportunity to cut into the lead in the bottom of the seventh against Hector Neris. After DJ LeMahieu checked in with a double, Harrison Bader walked, giving the Bombers a runner in scoring position with nobody out. Once again, they couldn’t cash in. Anthony Volpe struck out, Aaron Judge struck out in a pinch-hit at-bat, and IKF lined out to end the inning; no damage done after onboarding the first two runners.
Ramirez ended up settling in and setting the side down in order in the eighth inning. His final line: 2.1 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, but two inherited runners score on the Tucker double.
Rafael Montero entered to pitch the bottom of the eighth for Houston. Giancarlo Stanton provided some power in the form of a solo home run; he’s homered 10 times in his last 21 games and once in each of the last three. Brand-new acquisition Kenyan Middleton pitched the ninth. He worked an impressive scoreless inning and showed his plus fastball.
The Yankees took their last licks and went down without scoring. Ryan Pressly shut the door on a deflating loss in front of the home fans. This was a pretty dismal performance all-around by the offense and pitching staff. Bauers was the only Yankee with a multi-hit game.
Justin Verlander gets the ball tomorrow in his return to the Astros rotation following what turned out to be a half-year sabbatical in Queens. Best of luck to the Yankees on trying to figure him out for what feels like the 500th time. Nestor Cortes will start for New York in his return from the IL and first start since May 30th. First pitch is at 1:05pm ET.