After dropping two of three at home against Philadelphia, the Yankees started their four-game road trip in Houston with a 4-0 loss to the Astros. Things got off to a rocky start for the Yanks, as Dallas Keuchel struck out the side in the top of the first, leading to arguments from Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez towards umpire Joe West on questionable calls, but no trouble stemmed from this. In the bottom of the inning, Adam Warren was able to put the Astros down 1-2-3, though the Astros hit the ball hard in each out.
This trend would continue in the second for Warren, as Luis Valbuena crushed a ball into right field, but it went just foul. On the next pitch, Warren hit Valbuena in the foot, putting a runner on with none out. After a flyout by Evan Gattis and a fielder's choice from Colby Rasmus, Preston Tucker hit a screaming liner into right field, away from Jose Pirela, and Rasmus scored as Tucker took third and the Astros took the 1-0 lead. Warren then struck out Marwin Gonzalez, limiting the damage.
The Gregorio Petit Era almost returned to full form, as he crushed one down the left field line, but it curled just foul. After a nine-pitch at-bat, he struck out. Next up was Chris Young, and he singled, but Chase Headley grounded into a double play to end the inning. It looked like it was going to be one of those nights.
Warren gave up a leadoff double to Jose Altuve in the bottom of the fourth, and Valbuena reached first on an error by new father Stephen Drew. Gattis flied out, as did Rasmus. Rasmus' fly scored Altuve, but a base-running error by Valbuena ended the inning with the Astros up 2-0.
At the halfway point of the game, both Keuchel and the game itself were cruising along. Four and a half innings had passed in just an hour and 15 minutes, and Keuchel had allowed four hits and no runs while striking out eight batters. In the bottom of the sixth, Altuve used his blazing speed to beat out a single, bringing up Valbuena. Altuve left for second, and John Ryan Murphy threw the ball into the outfield, putting Altuve on third with one away. Valbuena, fortunately, struck out, taking a sacrifice fly out of the equation. Gattis was up next, and he singled up the middle, scoring Altuve and making it 3-0. Rasmus then dropped a drag bunt up the third base line. Warren made an off-balance throw, which made its way into the outfield, advancing Gattis to third. This ended Warren's night, finishing with 5 2/3 innings of five-hit, three-run ball with one walk and four strikeouts, in possibly his final start before going back to the bullpen. Chris Capuano was next in line, inheriting two runners from Warren. Capuano, however, got Tucker to ground out to Petit, ending the inning.
Things were pretty boring for a while, as the game sped to the bottom of the eighth. Altuve came up with one out and no one on, and he ripped a double off of Headley's glove, bringing up Valbuena. On the first pitch of the at-bat, Altuve took off for third, and made it easily. Capuano walked Valbuena, and Gattis hit a laser to left to score Altuve while Valbuena tried to hustle home behind him. Pirela made a throw to Drew, who relayed it home to Murphy to gun down Valbuena as Gattis strolled into third, but the score was now 4-0. Rasmus was up next, and he was hit by the pitch, as Nick Rumbelow continued to warm up in the bullpen. Capuano struck out Tucker, ending the inning. Out of the dugout came Keuchel, as it looked like he would finish this game off.
Keuchel came out for the ninth at 99 pitches, and the first batter he would face was Young, who was 2-for-3 on the night to that point. Young grounded out in one pitch and Headley fared no better, bringing up A-Rod as the potential final out. Rodriguez had the Golden Sombrero with three strikeouts already, but this at-bat would be better, as he singled to center field, ending the Keuchel's streak of 15 straight outs. Next up was Teixeira, who walked, and A-Rod moved to second base, the first Yankee to do so all evening. Keuchel gave up a single to Carlos Beltran, and the bases were loaded with two outs with the tying run coming to the plate. Unfortunately, Pirela grounded out to third, ending Keuchel's 4-0 shutout.
The Yankees look to rebound tomorrow at 8:10, as Nathan Eovaldi takes the mound against rookie righty Vincent Velasquez. Hopefully the Yankees can return to their winning ways soon enough.