Game 79: NYY vs. HOU — Sometimes not even a Grand Slam can save a game

It’s a Saturday night in Houston, and things were looking up for the Yankees thanks to a strong start by rookie pitcher Jordan Montgomery. Actually, neither team got on the board until the second half of the game, leaving both teams battling it out for most of the game.

Montgomery threw 87 pitches into the 6th inning, giving up just 5 hits, a walk, and 3 runs, striking out 4 Houston batters. So in the 5th, Montgomery gave up his only walk, a lead-off walk that scored as part of a 2-run home run to get the Astros on the board. Then in the bottom of the 6th, he gave up a 1-out solo home run. After a double kept the Astros alive, Montgomery handed the game over to Chad Green.

Green promptly struck out the final 2 batters of the 6th and then breezed his way through the 7th inning to keep the Yankees in the lead. Green set things up for the Yankees to keep working and clear the way for the final innings for the closing duo.

As Montgomery and Green were clearing the way defensively, the Yankees offense finally kicked in, much like they did last night, in the 6th inning. Clint Frazier got his first MLB hit, a double, to lead off the inning. (More on him later.) Frazier moved to 3rd on Gardner’s single. With 2 runners on base, the Astros’ starter’s night was done. Which turned out to be a great thing for the Yankees.

Ellsbury worked a walk to load up the bases, and Gary Sanchez’s single scored Fraizer (his first MLB run-scored). With the bases still loaded, it would be Didi Gregorius to hit his 10th home run of the season, a monster grand slam (his first of his career) to give the Yankees a nice lead over the Astros.

Then after an out (the first one of the inning), Torreyes singled and the Astros went to a new pitcher, as Torreyes worked his way around the bases, stealing both 2nd and 3rd before a strikeout left him stranded. In the 7th, Clint Frazier added one more run for the Yankees with a lead-off solo home run deep into the left field seats. His first MLB home run, his second MLB hit (and of the night).

And things were good for the Yankees, but then it all got sticky in the 8th inning. Dellin Betances, on the mound now, had some trouble getting those necessary 3 outs. After a strikeout, he gave up a walk who then stole 2nd and 3rd before scoring on a ground out. A solo home run put the Astros within a run of the Yankees’ lead. Betances then gave up a walk and then tried to pick that runner off 1st, but a missed catch error allowed him to get to 2nd base and then steal 3rd. After another walk, the Yankees called in Aroldis Chapman for what should be a 4-out save.

It really didn’t turn out that way after Chapman gave up a 2-RBI double that gave the Astros the lead. And the Yankees didn’t do much in the 9th inning to make a comeback. After 2 outs, Gardner singled and ended up getting caught trying to stretch it into a double, which ended the game in a single tag.

Final score: 7-6 Astros

Roster moves: The Yankees transferred Dustin Fowler from the 10-day to the 60-day disabled list, as he continues to recover from his emergency knee surgery. They also optioned Miguel Andujar back to AAA Scranton (I hope he’s getting airline miles for all this travel back and forth). And they selected the contract of Clint Frazier AAA Scranton.

Clint Frazier found out yesterday about his call-up, making a phone call to his family who then traveled to Houston (from their home in Georgia) to watch their son make a pretty great debut, despite the Yankees’ late loss. Who knows how long Frazier will be in pinstripes with the big guys, but like a few of his other Scranton teammates, he can cling to a stellar debut and help contribute his small part to the 2017 season.

Go Yankees!

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