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Breaking: Yankees acquire LHP James Paxton in exchange for LHP Justus Sheffield, RHP Erik Swanson, and OF Dom Thompson-Williams

The Yankees have made their first splash of the offseason by acquiring the Big Maple, James Paxton, from the Seattle Mariners. Fresh off his second-consecutive season at the top of the Mariner’s rotation, Paxton did not come cheap as the Yankees traded away their top prospect, Justus Sheffield, along with breakout prospects Erik Swanson and Dominic Thompson-Williams.

Yankees cap off series win with wild comeback in Houston

The Yankees came into the game coming holding the defending world champions to 22 scoreless innings and seemed to finally shrug off their offensive woes at Minute Maid Park as well. Masahiro Tanaka took the mound across Lance McCullers in a matinee in Houston as the Bombers looked to clinch a series win to finish off their road trip. The Yankees jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the third and looked poised to run away with the game, but an ugly seventh inning allowed the Astros to take a 4-3 lead. The Astros tacked on another run in the eighth, but the Bombers rallied in the ninth to take the lead after Gleyber Torres tied the game with a single to left and then Aaron Judge drove in the eventual game winning run with a soft RBI fielders choice. This would be enough as the Yankees clinched a 6-5 win to take the series.

(AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

The Yanks threatened early as they loaded the bases with no outs and the always reliable Ronald Torreyes up to bat in the second. The third baseman drove in a run off an infield grounder for the first run of the game, bringing up recent rookie phenome, Gleyber Torres. Torres poked a ball to right field just far enough to let Neil Walker avoid the tag to score on a sac fly, and McCullers was in trouble early. The Astros righty was already struggling to find the strike zone that inning, and with the top of the Bomber lineup to start the inning, it wasn't going to get any easier. Brett Gardner continued his recent struggles, grounding out to second, moving the runners over for Aaron Judge. McCullers spiked a 2-2 pitch into the dirt past catcher Brian McCann, but they were able to make a great flip and tag to prevent Miguel Andujar from scoring to end the inning, Yankees leading 2-0.

(AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

After the 24th scoreless inning for the Astros, the franchise longest streak since 1985, the Yankees decided that two runs weren't enough. Didi Gregorius continued his hot year with a deep one out double off the center field wall, building on his stellar start. After a Giancarlo Stanton groundout and Gary Sanchez walked, first baseman Walker ripped an RBI single to increase the New York lead. Andujar would strikeout on the next at-bat to end the inning, the Bombers lead up to three.

Tanaka continued his solid outing, averaging 14 pitches per inning, holding the World Series Champions to their 25th scoreless inning. The Astros defense stepped up for McCullers in the top of the fourth, with Carlos Correa making an unreal throw from the third base gap to get Torres out at first. After laboring for the first three innings, McCullers was finally able to have that one, two, three innings he sorely needed.

The Yankees starter continued to cruise as he held to the Astros to their 28th straight scoreless inning through the sixth, yes you read that right, over three full games worth of zeros. On the other side, McCullers was able to put together a few solid innings to scrap out seven innings to keep Houston in the game.

The Astros lineup finally showed some life in the seventh inning, with two singles and a hit by pitch to leadoff the inning, loading the bases with no outs. This would end Tanaka’s night, with Chad Green coming out attempting to erase the threat. The HBP will likely garner a lot of attention in the upcoming days, as the replay indicated it missed the batter's elbow, but the play stood as called after the challenge by Aaron Boone.

Marwin Gonzalez dribbled the first pitch for an infield single to score the teams first run in 28 innings, and McCann added to that on the next at-bat driving in another run on a single to right field on Green’s second pitch of the inning. The Astros finally tied the game off a wild pitch by Green, allowing Alex Bregman to score. Green started to get rolling striking out the pinch hitter Derek Fisher to bring up the top of the order. Sanchez gave the team a bit of the scare after taking a foul ball off his throwing hand but would remain in the game. 

George Springer knocked a ball right into Chad Green thigh allowing Gonzalez to score to gain the lead on an RBI groundout. Jose Altuve grounded to third to finally end the inning, but the damage was done, Astros lead by one heading into the eighth.

Chris Devenski came out face the middle of the Yankee order to start the eighth inning, as the Bombers looked to bounce back to retake the lead. The righty struck out the side, and it was beginning to look like the Yanks didn’t have enough to come back this late in the game.

It only got worse for the Yankees, as Carlos Correa ripped a solo shot to left field off Chad Green to extend the Astros lead to two, ending the day for Green. Chasen Shreve came out to hopefully finish off the game.

The Astros went with Will Harris instead of the dealing Devenski for the ninth. After another Neil Walker walk, and an Andujar single, all of a sudden the winning run was up to the plate in Aaron Hicks. The outfielder pinch-hitting for Torreyes battled back from a 0-2 count to single to left field to load the bases with no outs. This ended Harris' day, bringing in Brad Peacock to try and save the game.

Torres came up to bat and ripped a two-run single to left field to tie the game in the ninth, and the Yankees were back in this game. Brett Gardner flew out the centerfield, but Aaron Judge was able to score the go-ahead run on a fielders choice. MVP second baseman Altuve lost the ball on the transfer and couldn't turn the game-saving double play.

Aroldis Chapman came into the ninth looking for the save against the bottom of the Astros lineup. The lefty retired Gonzalez on a 100 MPH fastball, McCann flew out to first base, and Houston was down to their last out. Evan Gattis came in to pinch hit for Fisher and somehow reaches first on a wild strike three pitch that Sanchez lost sight of, bringing up George Springer. The leadoff hitter poked a groundball through the third base gap, bringing up Jose Altuve with runners on first and second and two outs. Chapman got ahead early with a 0-2 count and sent him home on a 102 MPH fastball to end the game.


(AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

Tanaka breezed through the potent Houston lineup with only one inning of over 19 pitches through his start, until the seventh inning. The righty owned the strike zone with impeccable command and poise for the first six innings, stymieing the world champions, but lost it all in the seventh. As a whole, it was a good performance by Tanaka, who looked nearly untouchable through those first six innings, but as the old saying goes, it's not how you start, its how you finish.

What a wild game, although the Yankees blew a late three-run lead, the club showed incredible grit and fight to come back and win the game. Torres showed incredible maturity and pose to come up big in such a clutch moment. The Yankees just showed the MLB they can take on the best team in baseball in their home stadium and win three out of four. As they return to New York tonight, they hope to carry this momentum as the look forward to Cleveland and Boston coming to the Bronx. 

Winning Pitcher: Chasen Shreve (1-0): 0.2 IP, 0.75 ERA
Losing Pitcher: Will Harris (1-2): 0.0 IP 2 H, 3 ER, BB, 3.97 ERA
Save: Aroldis Chapman (7)

Notables:
Gleyber Torres 1-3, 3 RBI (5)
Didi Gregorius: 2-5 2B (10) R
Neil Walker: 1-3 RBI (7), 2 R
Ronald Torreyes: 1-3 RBI (5)
Aaron Judge 0-5 RBI (19)


What’s next:  The Yankees return home to face the Cleveland Indians in an ALDS rematch on Friday as CC Sabathia (2-0 1.71 ERA) takes on righty Josh Tomlin (0-4 9.16 ERA). This past few weeks were supposed to be a tough stretch for the Bombers, but they rose to the occasion, finishing 15-2 since April 19th. New York hopes to continue this form as they look to retake the division lead from the rival Red Sox.

Article by: Maxx Hotton

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