The Yankees offense put up just enough runs as they held off the Houston Astros, 4-3, in the series opener on Thursday night in the Bronx.
– The Yankees offense got to Cristian Javier early in this one. Giancarlo Stanton launched a monstrous 430-foot blast to left-center to give the Yankees a 2-0 lead. Billy McKinney rocketed a homer to left field to go back-to-back with the slugger.
This is the second straight game with a homer for Stanton, who finished 1-for-4 with two strikeouts, and his ninth home run in his last 20 games.
Entering Thursday, in four career games (three starts) against the Yankees — including the postseason — Javier was 2-0 with a 0.44 ERA with a .063 batting average against. After giving up three first-inning runs, the righty would settle in but the Yankees batters worked his pitch count despite not being able to pick up more runs. Javier would go just 4.2 innings (102 pitches), giving up three runs on four hits and three walks while striking out four.
– Clarke Schmidt entered Thursday with 12 straight starts giving up three runs or less and that extended on this night. After a clean first, the young righty found himself in some trouble in the second. After a leadoff walk to Yordan Alvarez and a Jose Abreu single, a wild pitch moved the runners up with no out. A fielder’s choice groundout scored Alvarez from third, while a Martin Maldonado two-out single brought the Astros within 3-2 after the second.
In the fifth, Schmidt had an inning-ending double play ball from Jose Altuve, but Maldonado seemingly got in the throwing lane of Gleyber Torres, which allowed the former MVP to reach first. A stolen base and wild pitch later, the Astros had the tying run on third but Schmidt got Jeremy Pena to ground out to end the threat.
Schmidt pitched five innings (82 pitches), giving up two runs on four hits and one walk while striking out four.
– With the momentum completely on the Astros’ side, Anthony Volpe put the Yanks back in front in the sixth inning. After a two-out walk to Harrison Bader, and a steal of second, the rookie went the other way for a single to put the Yankees up 4-3.
It was Volpe’s first hit that gave the Yankees a lead since July 9 vs. the Chicago Cubs.
– With Schmidt only allowed to go five innings, the Yankees bullpen had to put in extra work. Wandy Peralta started the sixth and gave up a leadoff homer to Kyle Tucker to tie the game at three. Tucker’s hit was just the sixth this season by a lefty off Peralta, and the homer was the first hit of the extra-base variety.
Michael King came after Peralta and after getting the final two outs of the sixth, got into some trouble in the seventh. Altuve hit a tapper back to King with one out, but the reliever threw to second base where no one was covering because Torres broke for the ball in case it got passed King. The young righty would get Pena to ground into a double play to end the threat.
Clay Holmes came on for the save in the ninth. The Astros would get men on first and second for Altuve with two outs but he would swing on the first pitch and ground out to a fielder’s choice to end the game.
The Yankees continue their four-game series with the Astros on Friday night. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.