Astros walks out against Yankees, winning regular season series


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HOUSTON. With a shot at winning the season series against the Yankees, Astros manager Dusty Baker played Game 1 of the doubleheader Thursday afternoon at Minute Maid Park like it was the seventh winner-take-all game in October.

Baker, unconcerned about having his pitchers in Game 2, exhausted his top four relief pitchers after five pitches from starter Christian Javier and nearly emptied his bench in the ninth inning. The urgency paid off when JJ Matievich hit Alex Bregman from third base with an infield single in the bottom of the ninth for a 3-2 victory over the Yankees.

“We were trying to chase the team and we wanted to really win that first game and that put us in the position that if we finished in a tie we would win the tiebreak,” Baker said. “We really didn’t want to use it in the second game. We went through our bullpen in game one and that’s why it was important for us to win it because I don’t know if these guys are available for game two, the back of our bullpen.”

The Astros ended the regular season streak over the Yankees by beating the Bronx Bombers 4 to 2 before double counting Game 2. The Reds, who took two of three in New York earlier in July, are the only other team to win a season series over the Yankees. Houston was within 3 1/2 games of New York and set the best record in the American League with their 60th win of the season.

If the teams finish the regular season in a tie, the Astros will have home advantage for a possible matchup in the AL Best of Seven Championship Series. In the 2017 ALCS, the home team won all seven games between the clubs, with the Astros advancing and Houston getting a homer from José Altuve in Game 6 of the 2019 ALCS to win the pennant.

“I know about it, but it doesn’t change the fact that we’re going to try to win this game and win the game of the night,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. the best team we can be right now and trying to win every time we’re there.”

In June, the Astros and Yankees shared four games in an amazing series at Yankee Stadium, where the Yankees won straightaways. On June 25, Houston threw a combination no-hitter in which Javier started and scored 13 points over seven innings. On June 30, the Astros defeated the Yankees 2-1 in a make-up game at Minute Maid Park.

“Home field advantage is a great thing for the playoffs and playing here in the playoffs and in front of amazing fans goes a long way,” Matijevic said.

That point did not escape the attention of Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton.

“Yes, I mean, it’s definitely important,” he said. “It’s definitely news to watch us play each other, but at the end of the day we have to get ahead of them at home and every game is important.”

After striking out three and allowing one run on two hits and four walks in five innings by Javier, Houston took a 2-1 lead in the ninth inning before Isaiah Keener-Falefa equalized in an RBI singles match with two strikeouts. from reliever Hector Nerys, who tried to close the game in place of Ryan Pressley (maternity leave).

The Astros loaded the bases with one strikeout, which turned into two strikeouts when Chas McCormick struck out. Matijević came off the bench and made a 1-1 substitution towards the left side of the infield. The field broke his bat and didn’t get hit hard, so the Yankees had no chance of getting Matijevic or anyone else.

Bregman hit easily from third base, the first win for the Astros since Jordan Alvarez hit a homer on July 4 to beat the Royals. This is the 11th last victory for the Astros this year. a week ago on July 14, when Jeremy Peña’s good RBI single in the 10th helped defeat the Angels, 3-2.

“It was great, especially after we had opportunities,” Baker said. “The bullpen has done a great job. It was an exciting win for us and the fans, and for JJ, I was happy for JJ. As I said, we had several opportunities before. We’ll take it.”

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