HOUSTON – With only two weeks to go before the trade deadline, the Yankees were reminded that despite leading the American League in victory, they are still chasing the Astros. Lefty-pinch hitter JJ Matijewicz hit a one-run single with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning as Houston beat the Yankees 3-2 in the first game of a split doubleheader on Thursday.
Alex Bregman led with a first pitch single and Aldemi Diaz hit a Michael King double to put the runners in the scoring position, with no dismissals at the bottom of the innings. King knocked out Yuli Guriel before the Yankees deliberately went to load the bases with one to Yordan Alvarez. King dismisses Chas McCormick.
Aaron Hicks started things off with a one off Hector Neris in the top of the ninth. Giancarlo Stanton, after winning the All-Star Game MVP, was off the field, but Isiah Kiner-Falefa, pinching for Marvin Gonzalez, got a sharp ground ball through the hole at shortstop to tie the game. Joy Gallo worked the two-out, five-pitch walk. Neris got ground from DJ Lemhieu to end the innings.
The Yankees (64-29) have lost three of their last five and started the sprint with losses in the final 70 games of the season. The loss also cost him a series season return to the Astros, who took a 3–2 lead in this doubleheader that was set for a late start to the series following the owners’ lockout.
Jordan Montgomery stopped the Astros for two runs in seven hits. He walked one and hit eight. It was his 17th debut in which he scored three or fewer runs, the most runs this season.
He conceded an RBI-single to Alex Bregman in the first and a run-scoring double in the second to catch Corey Lee.
Lemahieu scored his ninth home run of the season in the fifth innings off Xavier. It broke 11 innings that the Bombers were kept scoreless by the Astros’ right hand. It was one of just two hits that the Yankees dismissed Xavier in five innings of work.
The Yankees went into the All-Star break with a 13-game lead in the American League East, the biggest lead at the break since the division’s inception in 1969. His 64 wins before the break were the most before the All in franchise history. -Star Game since established in 1933. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, they were only the sixth major league team to win 64 of their first 92 games.
“We obviously want to continue to build on that. We’ve talked a lot about winning games in different ways and being a full team. There’s still room to grow in that area and we’re going to be the best team we can be.” Will keep working hard for and will put ourselves in a great position to do something special.”
The Yankees hold the best record in baseball and if the season ends now, they will be the top seed in the American League and have a home-field advantage over the Astros. Still, the Astros Yankees playoffs have been kryptonite, with the Bombers losing the AL Championship Series in both 2017–19 and 2015 in wild card games.
And with the loss in the first game of the doubleheader, the Yankees have now lost the season to the Series Astros. This means that should teams finish with the same record, the Yankees will lose the head-to-head tiebreaker.
The Bombers, who head to Baltimore to continue this roadtrip, won’t see the Astros again this season until it’s in October. They can stay ahead of them in the standings and not have to worry about that tiebreaker.
On Thursday, after a short All-Star break for lockdown, Boone wasn’t looking forward to October.
“I mean, absolutely. Obviously, first you want to be the playoff team. You want to win your division. If you have the chance, you want to have the best record,” Boone said. “You’re always trying to do this. You have different paths to get there. I also think we’re getting ahead of ourselves in this matter. Hopefully, we’re going to do that a few months from now.” But right now it’s just getting people back and going and working to be the best team they can be.”