The power display continued for the Yankees, even though the return of Aaron Judge ended without judgement. Instead Gary Sanchez and Gleyber Torres continued their war on baseballs, going deep in the same game for the third straight time.
Sanchez got things started in the third inning, coming up with Cameron Maybin on first. The catcher took a ball from Brad Peacock, but launched the second pitch out in a hurry to left-center. Unfortunately, Maybin came up limping around the bases from a dive back to the base in a previous at-bat, and had to leave the game. Maybin was diagnosed with a strained left calf and will head to the injured list.
Torres answered the call in the seventh inning, giving the team some much needed insurance runs. Brett Gardner hit a line drive to right to get in scoring position, and Torres followed up with a shot to the same direction, just clearing the short porch for a two-run home run.
Outside of the home runs, the Yankees didn’t threaten much against the Astros’ pitching. Peacock delivered a strong performance, striking out 11 over six innings without issuing a walk. Hector Rondon couldn’t avoid Torres’ bat, but Chris Devenski retired the Yankees in order to keep the game close.
On the other side, James Paxton had to struggle to get through five innings. Paxton got out of the first on an efficient eight pitches, but labored to strand a pair of leadoff walks in the second. The Astros managed to tag him once, slashing back-to-back doubles in the fourth inning with two outs, but never got the big hits to come back into the game.
The Yankees’ bridge to the ninth were able to continue shutting down the Astros chances despite allowing a handful of baserunners, but Chapman got himself into trouble in the final frame. Miles Straw walked on four pitches to start the inning, and Jose Altuve grabbed a bunt single with two outs to bring the tying run to the plate. Chapman issued a wild pitch that brought the runners into scoring position, but he battled back to strike out phenom hitter Yordan Alvarez and end the threat.
The Yankees’ winning streak now sits at seven games, and they’ve guaranteed at least a split with the Astros. Pending the results of the Twins-Royals game, the Yankees could be tied for the best record in the American League entering tomorrow. Quite the turnaround from the slump they seemed stuck in just a week ago.