Game 73: NYY vs. HOU — Shutout in Space City

Tonight, the Yankees played their first of 4 game against the Houston Astros in Houston. And in case you haven’t been paying attention to other teams across the league this season, the Astros are actually really good this year. The Astros are currently the best team in the American League. Yes, the Astros are quite the team this season, and tonight, they sent up their best pitcher to keep the Yankees from doing much tonight. And boy, was he successful.

Long-term readers know that I will give credit where credit is due, and tonight, all of the credit goes to the Astros’ starter. He threw 116 pitches against the Yankees in 9 innings, giving up 6 hits, 1 walk, and no runs, and striking out 12 Yankee batters. He was so on-point tonight, that he threw a complete shutout in front of the packed crowd at Minute Maid Park. And with a rather questionable (low and wide) strike zone, those 12 strikeouts really stick out the most.

But seeing as the one thing you can’t challenge is the strike zone, you’re stuck with whatever the home plate umpire deems as law or risk ejections, especially by tonight’s infamous umpire who never hesitates to toss someone he believes isn’t totally thrilled with his calls. The Yankees didn’t really stand a chance against the Astros’ starter once that was established.

On the other side, it was Adam Warren to the mound to start tonight’s game. Warren, currently teetering on the fence as the “6th starter” in a 5-man starting rotation, threw 89 pitches over 5.2 innings, gave up 5 hits, 3 runs (2 earned), and a walk, striking out 4 Astros batters. In the 2nd, a runner on 1st with 2 outs would score on a big double to get the Astros on the board. In the 4th, the lead-off batter doubled and the next batter reached on a fielding error. One out later, the batter hit into a fly out where the lead runner scored a run, but the runner got caught in a rundown between 1st and 2nd before a tag out got the 3rd out.

Then in the 6th, Warren with 2 strikeouts, a batter singled, stole 2nd, and then ended up at 3rd on a throwing error. Another batter singled to score that runner. When another single got on base, the Yankees went to their bullpen, calling on Chris Capuano to finish the game for the Yankees. Capuano finished the inning quickly and kept the Astros from adding to their score until he got a minor jam in the 8th inning. A 1-out double scored on an RBI double, but a great relay throw (Pirela-Drew-Murphy) got the second runner trying to score out at home.

And that would be all they wrote. The Yankees attempted a really great rally in the 9th, loading the bases with a couple of singles and a walk (the only walk issued by the Astros’ starter), but a ground out quickly ended that hope and handed the game over to the Astros.

Final score: 4-0 Astros.

Roster moves (any suggestions on a catchy nickname for this frequent section of the daily blog?): The Yankees recalled Gregorio Petit from AAA Scranton/Wiles-Barre, optioned Branden Pinder & Diego Moreno to AAA Scranton, and activated Stephen Drew from the paternity list (congratulations to him and his family on their new addition!).

And in other news, recently promoted AAA outfielder Aaron Judge and AA catcher Gary Sanchez were both named to be in the annual Futures’ Game. The Futures’ Game is an exhibition game played by prospects from all over the farm system on the Sunday before the All-Star Game in the ASG city. It’s usually held back-to-back with the Celebrity Softball Game. Congrats to Judge and Sanchez on this opportunity.

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