Without a delayed meltdown or an almost hitless affair, the Yankees looked, at least tonight, like the Yankees. They took an early lead and held on to it through the game, an equation they have hardly done well in both halves of this season. In a bizarre event, the Yankees ‘relief pitching made easy work of a historically major offense, albeit without two of their best hitters in Yuli Gurriel and Carlos Correa, while the Yankees’ sticks scraped together four own runs on a dozen hits, none of which left the garden.
In the first, Gary and Judge smoked back-to-back singles booked for a few reasons for Carlos Correa̵
Meanwhile, Nestor Cortes Jr. did. well with his 1.29 ERA participating in the competition, which limited the Astros to just a few hits through three innings.
The Yankees got another chance to break the pointless tie at the top of the fourth after a Gio Urshela liner from Odorizzi left runners back on the first and second. This time, with two outs, Brett Gardner got his second chance to make money with a runner in scoring position. Instead of flying out to center, as he did in the second, Gardner worked an 0-2 count back to full and tore a liner down the right field line, plotting both Yankee base runners.
The Cortes show continued until two outs at the bottom of the fifth when Lucas Luetge took over at the bump. On the day, Cortes allowed only four base runners to reach base on a few hits and walks that stranded three of the runners themselves before Luetge came in to leave the last one at sea, helping Cortes end his day with just a 1.05 ERA. .
In front of friends and family, Luetge, a native of Brenham, Texas, followed up his timely strike with Jose Altuve with yet another clean inning and retired all four butchers he faced.
As he entered the final third of the game, DJ LeMahieu found himself with a great opportunity to give the Yankees the lead. After Gardner went and Tyler Wade knocked the shift down on the third baseline for a double, the Yankees runners held on to second and third. Like Gardner had two innings earlier, the DJ was in a 0-2 count, but worked the count full after soiling four lanes. At the 10th pitch in one of the best at-bats of the Yankees’ season, DJ twists a line drive from the bottom of the mini-monster on the left and plots two more runs for a 4-0 Yankee lead.
By quickly turning his hips but keeping his upper body loose as he turned onto the pitch that would have been ball-four, the DJ was able to drill the inside fastball deep into the left 110 mph without connecting it. After following his clinic on how to stay inside baseball, the DJ flashed some clever base runs to earn the Yankees an extra man. By bringing down Abraham Toro in a belated and misguided throw, the DJ bought time for the referee to evade a Yuli Gurriel mark on what was ultimately governed by a field’s choice.
Chad Green took the baton from Luetge and came into the game with a fresh frame in the seventh. Apparently blessed by the baseball gods, Green was able to hang a goose egg despite allowing a pair of lasers for Astros hits: Kyle Tucker took a fast ball 103.6 mph from the top of the center fence for his second double of the game and Jason Castro lined up an atomic ball that looked sharper than it was (81.7 mph) to DJ LeMahieu for a lineout that ended the lap.
Green drove through a less eventful but equally pure eighth, setting up Aaron Boone to make a discreet big decision about the Yankees’ most significant source of recent unrest. Although a non-saving situation, Boone chose to turn to Jonathan Loaisiga to close the ninth, leaving Aroldis Chapman – who has allowed 14 earned runs in his last 10 appearances at 6.2 innings – on the pine tree beyond the left midfield. Nevertheless, Jonny Lasagna did his job well enough, earning quick three outs in nine places, including a backward K by Yordan Alvarez on a 100 mph heater.
With two more games in the series, and Gerrit Cole wanting to stop his slipping tomorrow at. 7:15 EST, the Yankees are ready to go into the All-Star break with some wind in their backs as they hope to make a second-half push for the playoffs.