Honestly, as much as it was rather satisfying to watch the Yankees’ offense make another impact on another good team, the star of the night was easily the Yankees’ starter Luis Severino, who is emerging again as the clear ace of the rotation. Tonight, he threw 103 pitches in his 7 innings, gave up 4 hits, a walk, and 2 runs, and struck out 11 batters in the finale against the Astros tonight.
Even further than this, Severino sailed through his early innings, not giving up a hit until the 4th inning. In the 5th, with 1 out, Severino gave up a walk, who moved to 2nd on a ground out and then scored as part of a 2-run home run. After those strong innings, David Robertson kept that momentum going and threw a scoreless 8th inning before handing the ball over to the Yankees’ closer.
But before that, the Yankees gave Severino a bit of a cushion to secure his 8th win of the season. Aaron Hicks worked a walk to lead-off the 1st inning, made it to 3rd on Judge’s single, and then scored on Giancarlo Stanton’s sacrifice fly to get the Yankees on the board early.
Later, down 2-1, the Yankee found their next opportunity to reverse the scoreboard in the 5th. With 2 outs, the Yankees loaded the bases with singles to Romine and Judge and a walk to Stanton. Gary Sanchez then smacked a long single to score both Romine and Judge to give the lead again.
In the 6th, Torres led-off with a double, moved to 3rd on a wild pitch, and then scored on Didi Gregorius’ single. A new pitcher got a strikeout, then his defense caught Gregorius trying to take 2nd, and gave up a walk to Romine. Aaron Hicks then hit a double to scored Romine from 1st. (I guess we can say that Hicks’ recent offensive slump is pretty much over.)
Anyway, the Yankees were far enough ahead by the time Aroldis Chapman entered the game. He gave up a lead-off single, but then he was able to get the next 2 outs quickly. When the runner scored on a double, Chapman needed just 3 pitches (of the 10 he threw in the inning) to strikeout the final batter and earn his 12th save.
Final score: 5-3 Yankees, Yankees win series 2-1
One weird play during the game happened in the 7th inning. So, the lead-off batter reached 1st on a fielding error by 3rd baseman Miguel Andujar. That runner advanced to 2nd on a 1-out single, and then the next batter hit a grounder to a waiting Andujar. Now, as he was fielding this, the Astros’ lead runner ran smack into Andujar. Andujar went crumbling on the infield dirt as the fielder somehow untangled his legs and twisted around towards 3rd. It was so sloppy that shortstop Gregorius going in for back-up tumbled over Andujar into the grassy infield, so even he couldn’t field the ball.
After the Yankees checked out Andujar for possible complications (Gregorius helped by asking him “1+1” and making him laugh), the umpires upheld the simple call that the runner was out for interference. The runner simply can’t interfere with a fielder in the process of doing his job — fielding the ball. It’s really a good rule in general — don’t interfere with people doing their job.
Next up: the Yankees head down to Baltimore for a 4-game weekend series there. After that, they head to Detroit for their doubleheader make-up game from April and then up to Toronto for a short 2-game series.
And for those of you who were wondering (or was that just me?), MLB released the nominees for the upcoming All-Star Game (held July 17 in Nationals Park in D.C.). Fan voting will begin on Friday, so you can vote for your favorite All-Star (or, you know, Yankee) to appear in this year’s exhibition game.
It’s worth noting that it’s all rookies on the bases (Tyler Austin, Gleyber Torres, and Miguel Andujar) due to early injuries and veterans on the DL, but let’s be honest, they are certainly worth the consideration with the way they’ve played so far. More on this once voting begins.