Stanton, McKinney hit homers, Volpe delivers tiebreaking RBI single as Yankees top Astros
NEW YORK (AP) — Anthony Volpe hit a tiebreaking RBI single in the sixth inning, helping the New York Yankees to a 4-3 win over the Houston Astros on Thursday night in a rematch of last season's American League Championship Series.
Giancarlo Stanton and Billy McKinney hit back-to-back homers in the first inning for the Yankees, who beat the Astros at home for the first time since June 26, 2022. Houston completed its four-game ALCS sweep of New York with a pair of wins in the Bronx.
Thursday's win was the second straight for the Yankees, who beat the Tampa Bay Rays a night earlier. New York posted consecutive wins over opponents with winning records for the first time since beating the Baltimore Orioles on July 3-4.
Michael King (3-4), the third of five New York pitchers, earned the win with 1 2/3 innings of one-hit ball. Clay Holmes gave up a pair of singles in the ninth, but got Jose Altuve to hit into a game-ending force-out to earn his 15th save.
Kendall Graveman (3-5) took the loss.
Jake Meyers and Martín Maldonado each had an RBI in the second for the Astros, who tied the score on Kyle Tucker’s homer leading off the sixth against Wandy Peralta. It was the first extra-base hit the left-handed Peralta has surrendered against a left-handed hitter this season.
Maldonado finished with three hits out of the No. 9 spot in the lineup for the sixth time in his six seasons with the Astros.
Yankees starter Clarke Schmidt gave up two runs in five innings.
Cristian Javier, who started a combined no-hitter against the Yankees on June 25, 2022, and limited New York to one hit over 5 1/3 innings in Game 3 of the ALCS, was charged with three runs over 4 2/3 innings on Thursday.
NEW YORK STATE OF MIND
Justin Verlander rejoined his former teammates Thursday — two days after he was traded back to Houston by the rebuilding Mets and fewer than nine months after he helped the Astros win the World Series.
“It feels a little weird because it hasn’t been that long, so it feels like you don’t miss a beat and you’re right back in the locker room,” Verlander said before the game. “But on the other hand, there’s this whole segment that happened. So here I am, still staying in my apartment in New York.”
Verlander is slated to make the first start of his second stint with the Astros on Saturday, which means he’ll be making a third straight start in New York. He earned wins for the Mets at Yankee Stadium on July 25, and over the Nationals at Citi Field on Sunday, when he recorded his 250th career victory.
“Well, he’ll get out of New York soon,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said with a laugh.
HARD HABIT TO BREAK
Altuve, one of three Astros players remaining from the 2017 team that was embroiled in a sign-stealing scandal on its way to the first championship in franchise history, was booed prior to each of his five at-bats. An “Altuve cheats!” chant rang out in the fifth inning while a profane chant was heard in the seventh.
Astros: RHP Ronel Blanco was optioned to Triple-A Sugar Lake to make room on the active roster for Verlander.
Yankees: 1B Anthony Rizzo (post-concussion syndrome) was placed on the 10-day injured list and IF/OF Oswaldo Cabrera was recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Rizzo believes he is experiencing the effects of a pickoff play collision with the San Diego Padres’ Fernando Tatis Jr. on May 28. He has hit just .172 with on homer in 169 at-bats since the incident. Manager Aaron Boone said Rizzo, who has been prescribed three supplements designed to treat concussions, is week to week.
RHP Hunter Brown (7-7, 4.12 ERA) is slated to start for the Astros on Friday against struggling Yankees RHP Luis Severino (2-5, 7.49 ERA). This will be Brown’s first start against New York. Severino went 1-3 with an 11.22 ERA in five July starts.
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