Yanks Throw Another Game Away; Get Swept. Houston 6 NY 5

The Yankees blew a room-service double play in the 7th inning that led to a 2-run inning to vault the Houston Astros to the 6-5 win and sweep of the ALCS, and American League Pennant.

Gleyber Torres threw slightly off to 2nd, although still very catchable, but Isiah Kiner-Falefa had charged in on the ball too soon and was already on 2nd, unable to catch the slightly-behind-him throw. And just like that Houston had 1st and 3rd, nobody out, instead of bases cleared and 2 outs. Two hits followed and the Yankees 5-4 lead was turned into a deficit.

A back breaker. A heart breaker.

“It’s an awful day,” said manager Aaron Boone afterwards. “It’s an awful ending. It always stings. It hurts. No one I’d rather do it with than those guys in there, and how together they are. You kind of lean on each other in there. But the ending as I’ve said before is cruel.”

“So much goes into it,” Boone added. “You try to climb to the top of the mountain, but unfortunately we haven’t been able to get there yet. I know it continues to motivate everyone in there to try and get there. That’s what you work for. Don’t take for granted the opportunity you have sitting in front of you. But the ending is terrible.”

The Yankees were edged out in 3 of the 4 games, and the other one would have been a nail bitter too if the Yankees hadn’t made the error in the outfield when Aaron Judge got in front of Harrison Bader, that led to 2 runs and extra pitches for Gerrit Cole.

Houston’s pitching shut down NY’s hitting. NY’s pitching shut down Houston’s hitting too. But the Yanks made crucial errors.

And so the finger pointing begins.

The Yanks had a great season. It is a very strong and deep team. But baseball has a way of finding your achilles heel — and it found Kiner-Falefa in this one; not a natural shortstop.

1. Yankees Jumped On Top 3-0

The Yanks jumped on top in the bottom of the 1st. Harrison Bader — who played spectacularly for the Yanks in the post season — led off with a single off Lance McCullers. After Aaron Judge flied out, Anthony Rizzo was hit with a pitch — just barely grazing his uniform — and Giancarlo Stanton singled in Bader. NY 1 Houston 0.

Gleyber Torres blooped a single to center for a 2-0 NY lead.

In the bottom of the 2nd, Isiah Kiner-Falefa led off with a double. It looked like manager Aaron Boone‘s gamble to start Falefa at shortstop for more offense in this do-or-die game, vs the slick fielding rookie Oswald Peraza, had paid off.

With 2 outs, Aaron Judge walked, and Giancarlo Stanton doubled in Falefa. NY 3 Houston 0.

2. Cortes Injures Groin

Meanwhile Nestor Cortes Jr was rolling through the first 2 innings, getting pop up after pop up.

But in the 3rd he walked the first two batters, sending Boone and the pitching coach to the mound. It was noted on the national broadcast that Cortes’s fastball was only clocking 88 MPH — normally it is 93 MPH. And Cortes was relying on curveballs. Something was up — but Cortes could be seen on the mound telling Boone he was ok.

Boone should have pulled him. Cortes fell behind Jeremy Pena 3-1, and then threw an 82-MPH cutter that Pena put into the left field seats for a 3-3 tie.

Wandy Peralta came in and allowed a double, infield single, and RBI single to Yuli Gurriel and Houston was up 4-3. A sure Yankee win was gone.

3. Bader-Rizzo Tandem Ties It

But the Yanks came right back. With 1 out in the 4th, Harrison Bader — that name again — singled, and took 2nd on a passed ball by catcher Martin Maldonado.

Bader scored on a CLUTCH 2-out single by Anthony Rizzo to tie the game, 4-4.

4. Bader HR Puts Yanks on Top

And then in the 6th, Harrison Bader and his quick bat RIPPED a pitch from reliever Hector Neris into the left field seats for a 5-4 Yankee lead. It looked like the Yanks would indeed win this game.

5. Loaisiga Brilliant

Jonathan Loaisiga came in and was light’s out — “the king of soft contact” as Ron Darling put it on the national broadcast — Loaisiga was getting soft grounders and breaking bats.

After Wandy Peralta walked the leadoff batter in the 5th, Loaisiga came in and got a double play and groundout to end the inning. Loaisiga then pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the 6th (groundout, groundout, groundout), and struck out the leadoff batter of the 7th. And then faced Jose Altuve.

6. The Missed Double Play

Altuve hit a soft grounder to Rizzo who fielded and threw to Loaisiga covering 1st and Altuve was JUST safe. The Yankees challenged. It was a dead tie at 1st. Altuve ruled safe.

Jeremy Pena hit the tailor-made double play to Gleyber Torres at 2nd. A sigh of relief across Yankee Universe. And then not, as the worst thing imaginable happened.

Instead of 2 outs, bases empty — it was 1st and 3rd, nobody out.

Clay Holmes came in and Alex Bregman singled in a run to make it 6-5 Houston.

After that Clay Holmes pitched great — retiring the next 8 batters in a row — pitching a 1-2-3 inning in the 8th and 9th. But it was too late.

7. The End

The Yankees went out 1-2-3 against Houston reliever Bryan Abreu in the 7th. They got a 2-out baserunner — Isiah Kiner-Falefa hit by a pitch — against Rafael Montero in the 8th, but Matt Carpenter grounded out to end the inning.

In the 9th, Ryan Pressly retired the side 1-2-3, getting Aaron Judge to groundout for the old ballgame. And season.

The Boxscore



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