Bronx, NY- There was Jose Altuve in the first inning and leading off for the Houston Astros at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx Sunday afternoon. He got hold of the first pitch off Nestor Cortes and deposited the fastball to left for a home run.
Perhaps that would set a tone for the Astros and take three of four from the rival Yankees. The two teams have an American League best record and the Yankees lead with a wide margin .
But these are the Yankees and Astros, evenly matched and rivals that have one goal to take it all and win a World Series in October. Neither was going down without a fight and this was expected.
They provided a possible prelude to an exciting October ALCS.
The Yankees were held hitless for 16-⅓ innings going back to a Friday night loss to the Houston Astros until Giancarlo Stanton hit a one-out home run in the seventh inning in the Bronx Sunday afternoon. The Astros combined no-hitter Saturday afternoon was historic.
Aaron Judge had a game winning walk-off home run Friday night and a three-run walk-off Sunday afternoon in the 10th inning that gave the Yankees a 6-3 win and split of the four game series.
Altuve, a focus of that Astros’ sign cheating scandal, and a nemesis to the Yankees with one dramatic hit after another, heard the fans. Four nights and days that were not a welcome mat in the Bronx and more evident after hitting his 15th home run.
“They really get into the game,” Altuve said about the boos that continued with each at bat. “That’s the kind of people they are. There were good games for both teams. There was a lot of energy, a lot of intensity from the first game to the last run. We did everything we could. I’m happy with the way we played.”
Altuve has homered in back-to-back games for the second time this season and reached base in 13 of his last 14 games,
Said Astros manager Dusty Baker about this series in the Bronx, ““Easily could have won three out of four all or four. We played them tough. It ended up Judge 2, Us 2.”
Then again, these are the Yankees and they manage to always do historic things in the Bronx with their at bats. You can’t keep the best team in baseball down for the count before they get off the mat and go for the knockout.
And this was a four game series at Yankee Stadium with the Astros that provided a preview of an October ALCS meeting between the two best teams in the American League. Just ask manager Aaron Boone who said his team never goes down without the last punch.
Judge said the Yankees are never out of a game. It was the Yankees Major League leading 10th walk-off win of the season. The Astros were not devastated.
Jose Urguidy tried to accomplish something that has never been done by a team and came close to throwing an Astros consecutive no-hitter against the Yankees. Stanton, though, ruined that with a home run as the drama continued,
The Yankees were 0-for-52 since the eighth inning Friday night in their 3-1 loss to the Astros. Saturday afternoon it was Cristian Javier, Hector Neris, and Ryan Pressly combining for the third no-hitter in baseball this season.
Three times since 2015, the Astros have eliminated the Yankees from the postseason. All of this and the Yankees dramatics, though the Astros said they came out of this series playing good baseball and awaiting the next round as the Yankees visit Houston for a game next week and two after the All-Star break.
“It’s baseball,” said Astros newcomer Mauricio Dubon. And a series that will continue with two teams vying to be one of two left standing in late October.
Rich Mancuso is a senior writer @ Latinosports.com Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso “Sports With Rich ” and co-host Robert Rizzo live every Tuesday evening 10pm ET on SLG Network via YouTube also available on Spotify. Like, Comment, Subscribe: Rich Mancuso YouTube
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