Sanchez's ninth inning blast carries Yankees to win in Houston

In the second game between the teams from last year’s ALCS Tuesday night in Houston, the game was all but gift wrapped for the Astros. A dominating performance from Justin Verlander coupled with a first inning injury to Yankees' starter Jordan Montgomery seeming put this game away early.  However, the Yankees and Gary Sanchez would play the role of the Grinch and stole a 4-0 victory from the defending World Champs to tie this four game set up at a game a piece.

Photo Credit: Michael Wyke/AP Photo

The pitching matchup was one sided as Jordan Montgomery took the hill for the Yankees against Justin Verlander. After retiring the Astros in order in the first inning on just nine pitches, Montgomery was forced to leave the game. It was later revealed he was experiencing elbow tightness. Montgomery will be sent back to New York for further testing and evaluation. 

Verlander, on the other hand, looked to be back to his MVP form all night. He tossed eight innings of scoreless ball while striking out 14 and walking none. This outing dropped his ERA to 1.13 but he was forced to take a no decision because of the performance of the Yankees’ bullpen. 

Domingo German took over for the Yanks in the second inning and made a case for himself to get a start if Montgomery is forced to miss time. In the fifth inning, Carlos Correa drew a leadoff walk and Yuli Gurriel followed with a single for the Astros. German would work his way out of his only jam with a fly ball and a ground ball double play. 

The Yankees were held in check for the first eight innings, only scattering three hits off of Verlander. Like any other manager in today’s game, A.J. Hinch panicked once Verlander hit pitch number 105 and decided to take him out despite dominating. The game headed to the ninth inning deadlocked at 0-0. 

The Yankees would take full advantage of Hinch's blunder, as Aaron Judge led off the ninth with a single and Didi Gregorius followed with a double off Astros' closer Ken Giles. After another Giancarlo Stanton strikeout, Hinch elected to pitch to Sanchez with first base open instead of setting up a force at each base. Again, he paid for it as Sanchez sent the first pitch over the center field wall for a three-run bomb. Aaron Hicks would later score on a wild pitch to put the game on ice.  Aroldis Chapman came in to lock down the game in the bottom half of the inning and did so in dominating fashion as he struck out the side. 

Photo Credit: Michael Wyke/AP Photo

The Good 
No question that the bright spot of this game was the performance of the bullpen for the Yankees. The combination of German, Chad Green, Dellin Betances, David Robertson and Aroldis Chapman combined to throw eight scoreless innings and strikeout 13.  

After not being able to sniff Verlander for eight innings, the Yankees got the best of Ken Giles in the ninth. This was the perfect game to steal against the defending champs for the Yankees who did not want to drop the first two of the series. 

The Bad 
Montgomery cruised through the first inning with no problem so when German was warming up early, there was some confusion for Yankee fans. He was forced to leave the game because of tightness in his pitching elbow. If he is forced to miss time, the Yankees will have to make a decision on what to do with their rotation. 

Stanton had another 0-4 day with three more strikeouts to get his season total up to 46. With Judge, Sanchez and Gregorius all hitting, the Yankees can be patient for the reigning NL MVP but right now, he looks lost. 

Winning Pitcher: David Robertson (2-1, 2.93): 1.0 IP, 1 H, 2 K
Losing Pitcher: Ken Giles (0-1, 5.23): 0.1 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 1 K, 1 HR
    Sanchez 2-4, HR (8), 3 RBI, 1 R 
    Gregorius 2-4, 2B, 1 R
    Stanton 0-4, 3 K 
    German 4 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K 
    Chapman 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K 
    Gurriel 2-4 
    Altuve/Springer 1-4 each 
    Verlander 8 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 14 K 
    Giles 0.1 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 1 K 

What’s Next? 
These two teams will be back in action tomorrow in game three of a four game series. The Yankees send Luis Severino to the mound while the Astros will go with Dallas Keuchel 

Article by: Gregory Patuto 


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