For the middle game of this Houston series, the Yankees sent up CC Sabathia to start the game, hoping that he could continue his climb towards evening out his own stats this season. (After this game, he’s sitting at 6-8.) Sabathia threw 103 pitches in just shy of 7 innings, giving up just 4 hits, 2 walks, and 2 runs, and striking out 5 Houston batters. And the most interesting fact about Houston’s offense is that all their runs scored tonight were solo home runs. First, a 1-out solo shot in the 1st inning, and then a lead-off solo homer in the 7th inning.
Then with 2 outs and a single, the Yankees called in Anthony Swarzak to relieve Sabathia. Swarzak immediately struck out the final batter of the 7th inning. Swarzak now wears #41, giving recently re-signed Adam Warren his old number (#43) back before the game. He came back out in the 8th to strike out the lead-off batter before giving up the third and final solo homer to the Astros of the night. Another strike out and a walk, and it was time for a new pitcher. So in came Dellin Betances, who then walked 2 more batters to load up the bases, before getting out of his own jam. And the Yankees’ new (and once again) closer Andrew Miller made his way through the 9th inning to earn his 9th save.
Now, of course, a save means the Yankees must have some kind of offense. Which they did. Beginning in the 2nd inning, the Yankees started dented the Astros starter. McCann singled, and Teixeira doubled to put them in scoring positions. Didi Gregorius’ sacrifice fly scored McCann, and Castro’s single put runners in the corners. Chase Headley’s single then scored Teixeira. But even with the bases loaded on Gardner’s walk, the Yankees were left stranded at the end of the 2nd inning, but ahead of the Astros by a run.
Then in the 3rd, Beltran single, moved to 2nd on a wild pitch, and then watched Teixeira work a 1-out walk. Gregorius hit into a fielder’s choice to put runners on the corners, so that Starlin Castro’s single scored Beltran. In the 5th, McCann was hit by a pitch and Teixeira singled, and then both moved to scoring position on a ground out. The Astros’ starter intentionally walked the hot-hitting Castro. Headley’s sacrifice fly scored McCann and moved runners to the corners. Then Aaron Hicks’ amazing triple scored both Teixeira and Castro and forced the Houston starter out of the game right there in the 5th inning.
And that made all the difference for the Astros in the end because not one Yankee crossed the plate again tonight from that point on. However, the Yankees still racked up a total of 13 hits off Astros’ pitchers.
Final score: 6-3 Yankees
The Yankees now have a winning record through 100 games for the 24th straight season. The Yankees have 52 wins and 48 losses. Now, they’re currently still in 4th place in the AL East because the AL East is just really good this season (again). But they’re only 6.5 games behind Baltimore (the leaders). Toronto is just 2 games behind Baltimore, and Boston is 2.5 games behind. In other words, the Yankees actually have a chance. Recent stats said the Yankees have a 1.3% chance at winning the AL East and a 7.7% chance at a Wild Card spot. And that is my positive spin for the day on hopes for October baseball.