NEW YORK — Giancarlo Stanton homered again and knocked in four runs, Aaron Hicks hit a tiebreaking single in the eighth inning and the New York Yankees beat the Houston Astros 6-3 on Wednesday for their fifth straight victory.
With fans in the Bronx chanting curses at José Altuve and several other Astros for the second consecutive night, the Yankees (16-14) got three innings of scoreless relief from their major league-best bullpen and won for the 10th time in 13 games to move two games above .500 for the first time this season.
Yuli Gurriel and Aledmys Díaz had back-to-back RBI doubles off Jordan Montgomery in a three-run fourth that gave Houston a 3-2 lead. But the Yankees rallied with two outs and none on in the fifth, and Stanton tied it when he greeted Ryne Stanek with an RBI double.
The big slugger launched a long homer off rookie starter Luis Garcia in the third, extending his hitting streak to 11 games with his second two-run shot in two nights against the rival Astros. Stanton finished 3 for 4 with a walk and has 17 hits in his last six games, raising his batting average from .205 to .314.
New York will try for a three-game sweep Thursday afternoon, with ace Gerrit Cole facing Houston for the first time since leaving the Astros for a $324 million, nine-year contract with the Yankees before the 2020 season.
This is Houston's first visit to Yankee Stadium since the team's 2017-18 illegal sign-stealing scam was exposed after the 2019 season. A crowd of 9,895 limited by the pandemic called Alex Bregman and other Astros cheaters throughout the night, but the venom and vitriol seemed to be dialed down a bit from the series opener Tuesday.
New York won this one even though No. 3 hitter Aaron Judge fanned all five times up, standing six runners. The five strikeouts matched a career worst set at Detroit on June 4, 2018.
With the score tied 3-all, Gleyber Torres opened the eighth with a single off Brooks Raley (0-2). Pinch-hitter Clint Frazier walked and the slumping Hicks poked a flare inside the right-field line to put the Yankees ahead.
Brett Gardner hit a sacrifice fly later in the inning, and Stanton added an RBI single.
Jonathan Loaisiga (3-1) pitched a hitless eighth and Aroldis Chapman struck out two in a perfect ninth for his seventh save. Of his 33 outs this season, 23 are on strikeouts.
Astros: C Martín Maldonado sat out with a bruised left trapezius and is day to day. He told manager Dusty Baker he would be available in an emergency. Maldonado was banged up Tuesday night when Rougned Odor's knee slammed into his head and shoulder in a nasty-looking home plate collision. “He’s a little sore,” Baker said. "He’s doing pretty good, I mean, considering the force of that collision.” ... RHP Enoli Paredes, on the injured list with right side soreness, was set to begin a rehab assignment at Double-A Corpus Christi. ... RHP Jake Odorizzi (right pronator muscle strain) was scheduled to throw a bullpen — in an indoor cage if necessitated by rain. He'll need at least a couple of rehab outings before returning, Baker said. ... Slumping RF Kyle Tucker was rested in favour of Díaz, a utility infielder who has played left field in the majors several times but had never played right before. Tucker replaced Díaz on defence in the seventh inning of a tie game.
Yankees: Odor was placed on the 10-day injured list with a sprained left knee and the team recalled RHP Albert Abreu from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. New York manager Aaron Boone said Odor would be examined later in the day by head team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad. “I think all things considered, we kind of lucked out,” Boone said. “It looked ugly to me right away, and I was pretty concerned. So I think it’s going to be on the shorter side. I don’t want to speculate until Dr. Ahmad kind of gives that prognosis, but I don’t think it’s going to be too long.” DJ LeMahieu replaced Odor at second base, and Mike Ford started at first. ... Luke Voit (left knee surgery) went 2 for 3 with a two-run homer while batting leadoff in his second rehab game with Scranton, a 7-5 victory at Syracuse. He was scheduled to play five innings at first base. Last year's major league home run champ hopes to join the big league club next week. ... Also for Scranton, RHP Adam Warren struck out three in 1 1/3 scoreless innings, his first appearance since Tommy John surgery in September 2019.
Houston signed RHP Ryan Eades to a minor league contract and assigned him to Triple-A Sugar Land.
Cole (4-1, 1.43 ERA) faces friend and former teammate Lance McCullers Jr. (2-1, 3.38) when the American League powers wrap up this highly anticipated series in a Thursday matinee.
“You like to go up against the best, right?'' McCullers said, adding the two haven't really chatted lately in the lead-up. ”So, I’m looking forward to it.”
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Mike Fitzpatrick, The Associated Press