Alex Bregman's two-run double keys win for Astros over Yankees
Houston — The Houston Astros wrapped up a stretch of nine straight games against New York teams Thursday night with another win over the New York Yankees.
Alex Bregman hit a two-run double early and the Astros held on for the 2-1 victory.
Houston went 3-2 against the major league-leading Yankees and swept four games with the Mets, who had baseball's second best record before being overtaken by the Astros.
"It was a great victory for the fans to watch and it was great for the city of Houston and it was great for my ball club," manager Dusty Baker said. "We played good during this time. We beat two very good teams and played them in a short period of time and you usually don't do that."
The Yankees managed just two runs combined in the three recent losses to Houston. That included a 3-0 defeat Saturday where three Astros pitchers combined for a no-hitter.
"They're good," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "They're one of the best teams at keeping you from scoring as there is. So they've done a good job of, for the most part, holding us down. That's going to happen sometimes against good teams."
The Yankees were in town for just one game to make up part of a series that was scrapped because of the lockout. They'll complete the series with a doubleheader here July 21.
Houston starter Luis García (6-5) allowed three hits and one run with six strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings for his third straight win. Ryan Pressly struck out two in a scoreless ninth for his 17th save.
Jake Meyers doubled with no outs in the third before Aledmys Díaz walked with two outs. Kyle Tucker walked to load the bases before Bregman's double to put Houston up 2-0.
The Astros had a chance to pad the lead, but the inning ended on an odd play after a malfunction of New York starter Luis Severino's PitchCom device.
With Yuli Gurriel at-bat, a frustrated Severino took off his cap and held the PitchCom speaker to his ear, apparently unable to hear instructions from catcher Jose Trevino.
Tucker saw Severino was distracted from third base and tried to sneak home. Severino had the PitchCom earpiece in his right hand and had to quickly maneuver to get the baseball back in his throwing hand. He threw home while still holding his cap, and his throw narrowly beat Tucker and ended the inning.
"I saw him when he was like halfway, but nobody's faster than the ball," Severino said.
Severino was asked about making the throw with the device and his cap still in his hands.
"I'm very good with my hands," he said with a laugh.
Boone raved about the heads-up play.
"Sevy didn't panic and reacted the right way and made the play," Boone said.
Baker thought it was a good chance for Tucker to take.
"If he throws that ball any kind of way errantly he's safe," Baker said. "I urge our guys to play aggressively and I thought he still had a chance to be safe. ... That was a bold play that almost worked."
Anthony Rizzo hit a solo homer for the Yankees in the sixth inning, but they had trouble generating much else on offense as they had a four-game winning streak snapped.
Severino (4-3) yielded three hits and two runs in six innings.
The Astros were without slugger Yordan Alvarez and shortstop Jeremy Peña after the two were involved in a nasty outfield collision Wednesday in a win over the Mets. Baker said both were continuing testing for concussions, and he wasn't sure how long they'd be sidelined.
Garcia had retired seven of the last eight batters he'd faced with three consecutive strikeouts when Rizzo knocked his 21st home run into right field to cut the lead to 2-1 and chase Garcia with one out in the sixth. Ryne Stanek took over, and Giancarlo Stanton greeted him with a single before Gleyber Torres walked with two outs in the inning.
Stanek retired Jose Trevino for the third out to extend his streak of consecutive scoreless innings to 20.
Yankees: LHP Aroldis Chapman (left Achilles tendinitis) will be activated from the injured list Friday. Boone said that Chapman, who hasn't pitched in the majors since May 22, could be used several ways, not just as the closer. "We'll pick spots and try to get him in spots where he can be successful," Boone said. "That could be anywhere from a high-leverage situation to a mid-leverage to a low-leverage."
Astros: Bench coach Joe Espada, first base coach Omar Lopez and quality control coach Dan Firova all missed Thursday's game because of health and safety protocols. Wladimir Sutil, who is Triple-A Sugar Land's development coach, joined the team to coach first base.
Yankees: New York's Gerrit Cole (6-2, 2.99 ERA) faces Cleveland's Aaron Civale (2-4, 7.20) in the opener of a three-game series between the Yankees and Guardians on Friday night.
Astros: RHP Cristian Javier (5-3, 2.73) opposes Los Angeles RHP Michael Lorenzen (6-5, 4.24) when the Astros and Angels open a three-game series Friday night. It's the first start for Javier since striking out a career-high 13 in seven innings of the combined no-hitter.