A win to close out this dreadful month of June. The Yankees bats attacked the Houston bullpen (and Nori Aoki) to score 12 runs from the sixth through ninth innings. Michael Pineda wasn’t perfect but he did an adequate enough job to bounce back from his previous outing (7 ER, 4 IP vs. Texas) and earned his 8th win of the year. It’s Friday night so let’s do this bullet-point style.
- Trailing: The Astros scored one right out of the gate in the bottom of the first. George Springer doubled to lead it off, Reddick’s grounder advanced him to third and Jose Altuve slapped a very, very low slider to the center field for a sac fly. 1-0 Astros. Bleh. Not the end of the world, but with their best starter on the mound, not a great thing to fall behind. (But what do I know? The Yankees certainly showed me as the game went on.)
- Multiple attempts at offense: The Yankees tied it up in the top of the third. Brett Gardner led the frame off with a double, which is good! However, Jacoby Ellsbury and Aaron Judge both struck out swinging to make it two outs. That is bad! Didi Gregorius, on the other hand, lined an RBI double to right to tie the game at 1-1. The bats were back in business in the fourth. Austin Romine led off the inning with a single (that could have been a home run but missed by a few inches, and because it was hit hard, he didn’t have enough time to go for the second base) and Ronald Torreyes followed it up with a bloop double to the left. With runners on second and third with no outs, Tyler Wade and Chris Carter struck out back-to-back to immediately make it two outs. During Gardner’s at-bat, Lance McCullers Jr. uncorked a wild pitch that had a perfect bounce back to the catcher and they were able to tag Romine out, who ran to home trying to score. Welp.
- Bigger deficit: The ‘Stros immediately made it tough for the Yankees. In the bottom of the fourth, Altuve hit a single just past diving Gregorius and Carlos Correa followed it up with a hard single to right (with both runners advancing on Tyler Wade’s throw that got past Chase Headley). Brian McCann struck out swinging but Carlos Beltran’s groundout brought Altuve home, and Marwin Gonzalez hit an RBI single to center to score Correa. 3-1 Astros.
- The weird, weird sixth inning: McCullers Jr., being one of the best pitchers in the AL, seemed overpowering to many Yankee bats. However, he wasn’t all that efficient, having to exit in the middle of the sixth inning with 97 pitches thrown. A.J. Hinch put Michael Feliz in to relieve McCullers and the floodgates opened. With runners on first and second, Torreyes got the rally started with an RBI single. Wade followed it up with a strike out but Carter (!) hit a hard liner that went off Correa’s glove and Romine hustled home to tie the game at 3. Gardner and Ellsbury each followed it up with a pair of RBI singles to make it 5-3. With runners on second and third, Judge walked but the ball got past the catcher and Ellsbury was able to score. 6-3 Yankees. That went from 0 to 100 real quick.
- Daggers: A three-run lead! But you never know against these powerful Houston bats. It would have been nice to tack on more runs and that’s exactly what the Yankee bats did. The Yankees got the top of the seventh started by loading the bases with no outs (Headley single, Romine single, Torreyes walk). However, the scoring chance dimmed as Wade grounded into fielder’s choice for a force out at home and Carter struck out swinging. Gardner, on the other hand, delivered a two-out grand slam to make it 10-3. That was pretty exhilarating to watch. Two innings later, the Yankees scored three more against … outfielder Nori Aoki. With Aoki floating 74 mph pitches from the mound, Torreyes and Wade drew back-to-back walks and Carter hit an RBI double to make it 11-4. Gardner hit a sac fly and Ellsbury followed it up with an RBI ground out to continue the carnage. 13-4 Yankees. And, of course, Aoki got Judge to fly out to end the inning. That’s baseball.
- Leftovers: Bryan Mitchell threw the last three innings of the game and allowed only a run. Aaron Judge had his 33-game on-base streak going but had a relatively quiet night, going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and two walks. Five of the Yankees hitters (Gardner, Didi, Romine, Torreyes and Carter) had a multi-hit game so that’ll do pretty well.
Here’s tonight’s box score, updated standings and WPA graph. The Yankees are back at it again tomorrow at the Minute Maid Park. Jordan Montgomery will be up against Francis Martes. Would be nice to win this one and take the series.