The Yankees‘ pitching staff tossed a gem and the offense delivered with nine hits, including two home runs, to beat the Houston Astros on Saturday afternoon, 3-1.
Here are the takeaways…
– Coming off the 60-day IL to make his first appearance since May 30, Nestor Cortes got out to a pretty ideal start. The lefty walked Jose Altuve to begin the game, and then struck out three straight Astros to end the top of the first. Cortes made it four straight strikeouts after getting Yordan Alvarez swinging, and then retired the next two Astros for a 1-2-3 second inning.
In the bottom of the second, Isiah Kiner-Falefa singled off Justin Verlander (making his first start back with Houston after the big trade with the Mets) and advanced to third on Harrison Bader‘s double off the wall in left field. Anthony Volpe drove in IKF with a sacrifice fly to give the Yanks a 1-0 lead.
– Cortes got two easy outs to open the third, but let up a solo shot to Altuve that tied the game at 1-1. It was the 200th home run of Altuve’s career, as he took advantage of a hanging cutter. Cortes then forced Jeremy Pena to ground out to second to end the side.
– Cortes struck out the side in the fourth to complete his day. The left-hander tossed 64 pitches over 4.0 innings of work, striking out eight Astros with just the one hit and run allowed.
Ian Hamilton came in for relief in the fifth and walked Chas McCormick to lead off the inning. Hamilton settled in to strike out Dubon looking, and catcher Ben Rortvedt threw out McCormick trying to steal second. Hamilton then struck out Grae Kessinger to get out of the inning.
– Jake Bauers gave the Yanks a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the fifth with one out, crushing a 1-0 slider off Verlander to the second deck in right field. Hamilton then breezed through the sixth with two strikeouts, a walk, and a groundout. Verlander one-upped him with a 1-2-3 sixth to keep the score intact.
– Tommy Kahnle replaced Hamilton in the seventh, and after a leadoff walk, he forced a 4-6-3 double-play and struck out McCormick swinging. Michael King let up Houston’s second hit of the day in the eighth with one away, but rebounded to record back-to-back strikeouts to escape the inning. Gleyber Torres provided a much-needed insurance run for the Yanks in the eighth, as he hit a solo homer to right-center to make it a 3-1 game.
Clay Holmes came in for the save and sent the Astros down in order to seal the deal.
The Yankees wrap up their four-game series with the Astros on Sunday afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 1:35 p.m.
Carlos Rodon (1-4, 6.29 ERA) will take the mound for the Yanks, while RHP Jose Urquidy (2-2, 5.20 ERA) gets the start for the Astros.