Yankees drop ALCS game 2 as bats fail to come alive

Yankees in Houston

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New York Yankees 2, Houston Astros 3

HOUSTON — On Thursday night, the Yankees lost their Game 2 to the Astros 2-0 allowing Houston to take a 2-0 series lead in the American League Championship Series. Alex Bregman started the game off with a three-run home run, and Framber Valdez pitched seven strong innings in the victory.

Aaron Judge, a slugger for the Yankees, came dangerously close to hitting a two-run home run in the eighth inning, but right fielder Kyle Tucker made a diving catch just in front of the short wall. Statcast showed that the ball would have landed on the short right-field porch at Yankee Stadium. But the retractable roof of Minute Maid Park was unclogged allowing gusting wind to slow it down and ultimately got caught.

Valdez turned in another solid pitching performance, and Bregman’s home run in the third inning was all the offense Houston needed. The previous night, Justin Verlander had struck out 11 batters while leading Houston to a 4-2 victory in Game 1 of the best-of-seven series. The Astros have now won all five of their postseason games.

Valdez only allowed four hits, did not walk a batter, and struck out nine batters. The only runs scored by New York were unearned, and they came in the fourth inning after a flustered Valdez made two errors on the same play.

However, he quickly recovered from his error and proceeded to dominate the formidable Yankees lineup for the remainder of the game. After that inning, Valdez did not allow another baserunner until Harrison Bader reached on an infield single with two outs in the fifth. After that, he retired the next seven batters he faced, capping off the inning by striking out the side in the seventh.

The Yankees will try to pull themselves out of a hole to prevent their ALCS ouster by the Astros for the third time in the last six years when Game 3 of the series is played on Saturday in New York.

This season, Houston’s overall record against the Yankees is 7-2.

Luis Severino, a starter for the Yankees, hit Martin Maldonado on the left forearm to start Houston’s third inning. Altuve, who was in a slump, then struck out. Before Yordan Alvarez hit into a forceout at second, Jeremy Peña hit a single to center.

Then, Bregman hit a fastball over the wall in left field for his second home run of the playoffs, making the score 3-0. It was his 14th home run in the playoffs, which put him ahead of Justin Turner as the third baseman with the most home runs in MLB history.

It was a rare game at Minute Maid Park, and the retractable roof was open for it; however, it was unclear how much the weather affected flyballs. There was a bit of wind. Judge, who established a new record for the American League with 62 home runs during the regular season, gave the Houston fans a gift with his drive, which Tucker grabbed before it collided with the wall.

In the fourth inning, Judge started things off for the Yankees with a single, which turned out to be his first hit of the series.

The play that followed was a nightmare for Valdez, as he committed errors in both fielding and throwing the ball. Giancarlo Stanton hit a chopper in the direction of Valdez, who caught it and may have had time to start a double play, but he then let it go.

Valdez was able to pick up the ball, but as he was throwing it to first, he fell backwards to the ground. Because his throw was off target, Judge was able to advance to third base, and Stanton was able to move up to second on the play.

After seeing the ball roll past first base, Valdez remained on his back on the grass for a few seconds before gathering himself and returning to the mound. During that time, he put his hand to his face and shook his head before returning to his position.

Following that, Anthony Rizzo hit a groundout, which resulted in a run being scored by Judge, bringing the score to 3-1.

Gleyber Torres‘s single allowed Stanton to score, bringing the Yankees to within 3-2 of the Orioles. In spite of this, Valdez was able to limit the damage by striking out Josh Donaldson and Kyle Higashioka.

After allowing Tucker to reach on a single with nobody out in the sixth inning, Severino was removed from the game. When Jonathan Loáisiga took over, Yuli Gurriel greeted him with a single to start things off. The inning came to an end when Aledmys Díaz hit a ground ball that was turned into a double play.

Within 5 1/3 innings, Severino struck out six batters while allowing three runs on five hits.

UP NEXT

Gerrit Cole, who helped the Astros get to the 2019 World Series and then signed with the Yankees, will start for New York in Game 3 on Friday. He has a 2-0 record and an ERA of 2.03.

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