The Yankees were trying to lead 2-0 in the American League Championship Series when they faced Astros in Houston. We will follow along with updates and live reviews.
Turn 9: We're Going For Extra Entries
Roberto Osuna did his part in the upper half of the shift. He landed Brett Gardner first, defeated Gary Sanchez and then made Gio Urshela fly into the shallow center.
Aroldis Chapman was summoned by the Yankees for the lower half of the turn. He defeated Carlos Correa and Robinson Chirinos, but accompanied Aledmys Diaz, who had come to a pinch for Kyle Tucker. That brought George Springer, who threw a 100-mile-fast ball to end the turn.
David Waldstein: In 32 regular season games against the Yankees, most of them while playing at the Toronto Blue Jays, Roberto Osuna has only allowed 3 races 34 times, for 0.79 E.R.A.
8th inning: Bullpens thriving
There wasn't much to show in the eighth inning.
Will Harris expelled D.J. LeMahieu to start the shift, but after he walked Aaron Judge, A.J. Hinch came to the mount to make a change. He delighted chiefs of statistics everywhere, going straight to his best rescuer, Roberto Osuna, in a high leverage situation. And Osuna surrendered, pulling Gleyber Torres into a ball to the right and hitting Edwin Encarnacion with a 100-mile-per-hour fastball.
Yankees' Zack Britton went out to the bottom half of the turn and immediately took Jose Altuve to second. He rode with Alex Bregman, but recovered to attack Yordan Alvarez, who showed impressive strength in reducing his club to splinters while throwing him to the ground after the club. Yuli Gurriel then lined up to the center to end the turn.
David Waldstein: Alvarez's frustration is starting to bubble up. Alvarez made 27 home runs during the regular season and his longest run without home run was eight games. But including the postseason, the rookie has not returned to playing in 12 games. When he struck a ball from Zack Britton that was out of the attack zone on the eighth, he hit the bat, which broke, and Alvarez broke it in two while returning to the shelter.
7th inning: Verlander's day is ready
The Yankees finally got rid of Justin Verlander, but the game is still tied 2-2.
Verlander began the turn by striking Gary Sanchez. He only needed one shot to dispatch Gio Urshela, who flew downtown, but then walked by Cameron Maybin, raising his pitch count for the night to 109. He did not reach 110, as AJ Hinch replaced him with Will Harris, who is hard on the lefties, to face Didi Gregorius. The move went well when Harris attacked Gregorius to end the turn.
Tommy Kahnle, who had already recorded four outs, was back to start the seventh inning. He defeated Kyle Tucker, with the rookie shaking quite unhappily in one exchange. George Springer hit an imposing pop-up that D.J. LeMahieu easily dealt with early on, and Kahnle stepped out of turn when Michael Brantley took second.
Springer limped into the clubhouse after the attack. The extent to which the central player was injured was not immediately clear. He took his center position to start the eighth inning.
6th inning: Carlos Correa saves a race
There was no score in the sixth, but that does not mean the turn was not interesting.
The Yankees had Justin Verlander throw several pitches in five turns, and in the sixth it seemed briefly as if that could bear fruit. D.J. LeMahieu and Gleyber Torres chose both sides of an Aaron Judge flyout to the right, placing runners first and second for Edwin Encarnacion with an out. The big right-handed scout, who usually thrives with the runners at the base, flew downtown.
From then on, things got a little weird. Brett Gardner hit the ball sharply for Jose Altuve in the second, who failed to throw the ball cleanly, and when it kicked from his glove to the right, LeMahieu was third and tried to score. Carlos Correa crossed the field from above, caught the loose ball and hurled home, easily hitting LeMahieu for the third time.
In the lower half of the turn, Tommy Kahnle also received a great deal of defensive help, with Gio Urshela climbing the ladder at third base to grab with a leap from Yuli Gurriel a hard lining that seemed destined for extra bases. Correa then slammed five feet into the center, possibly robbed by the size of Minute Maid Park. Kahnle then ended the turn making Robinson Chirinos fly to the right.
Turn 5: George Springer's Tie Game
A questionable throw-in from Aaron Boone leaves this game tied after five innings.
After Justin Verlander made a quiet part of midfield, Chad Green started the bottom by striking rookie Kyle Tucker, who had come as a pinch to Jake Marisnick. It made Green perfect with six hitters, but with George Springer coming, Boone brought in Adam Ottavino in the hope that the veteran's wicked slider could neutralize the Houston slugger.
Did not work. Springer headed for the left center field on the first pitch Ottavino threw – a slider.
Following Springer's location, there was a brief delay in the game when a fake ball from Michael Brantley's bat hit a security team member in the Houston hideout. Brantley, who looked injured after the incident, began attacking, but arrived first when Gary Sanchez failed to shorten the wild field on the ground.
With Brantley running on the pitch on the first shot of the next club, Jose Altuve struck a hard kick to Didi Gregorius's right, which the shortstop was capable of knocking over but was unable to play, putting the runners at first sight. and second to Alex Bregman, with the crowd exploding with “MVP!” chants. Ottavino attacked Bregman, but was later caught in favor of Tommy Kahnle, who attacked Yordan Alvarez to end the turn.
David Waldstein: Michael Brantley hit a strong ball in the Astros hideout and hit someone, apparently a security guard. Several of the Astros players, including Brantley, were visibly shaken by him and A.J. Hinch had to go out and reassure Brantley while the guard was being treated by the Astros medical staff. Eventually, the guard managed to leave the shelter, escorted by one of the trainers.
Brantley still looked shaken while in second base and, during a pitch change, was summoned to Astros' hideout, where Gerrit Cole appeared and spoke briefly with him. What Cole said to Brantley – I hope the guard is fine – seemed to cheer him up a bit because he patted Cole on the back and ran back to second base.
4th inning: Judge Homer gives Yankees the lead
Things seemed horrible to the Yankees for three innings, but now they lead 2-1 after four.
They finally got their first base runner with Justin Verlander when D.J. LeMahieu walked to start the upper half of the room and Aaron Judge made Verlander pay for this mistake by hitting a sliding bar over the central fence for a 423 foot home run. It was the judge's first post-season home run.
Verlander settled after the venue. He got Gleyber Torres to fly to the right and then shot down Edwin Encarnacion and Brett Gardner to close the break.
Being in the lead, Chad Green returned for more work in the room and finished things up quickly, retiring Yuli Gurriel in a central line, striking Carlos Correa and making Robinson Chirinos line up on the left.
David Waldstein: So much for Verlander's slider being good. He left one on the plate for the local judge. Verlander has given up 70 races this season, including the postseason, and 39 have come home (36 in the regular season).
The Astros had seven base runners and scored only one race in three entries. The Yankees had two and both scored. They will need to do more damage when they have a chance.
3rd inning: Yankees go to Bullpen early
With Justin Verlander negotiating and the Yankees already in a pit, manager Aaron Boone went to a rescuer with only one in the third round, which means this will be a long night for the Yankees bullpen.
It's hard to blame Boone for feeling desperate because Verlander hasn't allowed a base runner yet. In the upper half of the turn, he took Gio Urshela in a ball to the right, hit Cameron Maybin in three shots and made Didi Gregorius fly to the right. He has up to four strikeouts and seemed even more dominant than that.
James Paxton, on the other hand, was good, but not enough. He started at the bottom of the third, striking George Springer, but then allowed a single Michael Brantley single to reach the center right. With the relievers already warming up in the bullpen, Paxton let a sharp lining come out of Jose Altuve and with that his day was over.
Chad Green came in relieved, and while Alex Bregman smoked another ball outside, it ended up in the glove of Cameron Maybin, who seemed to be struggling with the glow of the lights at Minute Maid Park. He then ended the shift making Yordan Alvarez appear.
David Waldstein: Justin Verlander looks completely different from the pitcher who was devastated in game 4 of the division series. Verlander was resting lightly on that game and said he had no control of his slider. But it looks locked and effective tonight, and the slider is sharp.
2nd inning: Astros take the lead
The Astros entered the scoring first when Carlos Correa doubled in a shot that kicked across the field, making it 1-0 Houston. But James Paxton ran into two runners that threatened to make things worse.
Justin Verlander made things look extremely easy in the upper half of the shift; He needed only 28 shots to clear the six scouts he faced. Edwin Edwin Encarnacion appeared to pop …