Juan Soto Saves the Day on Opening Day! Yankees 5 Houston 4

Juan Soto made a perfect throw home and Jose Trevino made a perfect tag to just nab the runner Mauricio Dubon coming in from 2nd on a base hit to right field with 1 out in the bottom of the 9th — for an OUT at homeplate to keep the score Yankees 5 Houston 4.

With 2 outs, Clay Holmes got Alex Bregman to groundout to shortstop and the Yankees had a come-from-behind, opening-day victory over their nemesis the Houston Astros. On a Thursday afternoon in Houston.

The Yanks came all the way back from a 4-0 hole that Nestor Cortes put them in early — although Nestor rebounded from a rough 1st inning and retired 12 of the last 13 men he faced to go 5 innings. A horrible start and dismal future outlook for the season turned into a good start and hopeful season for Nestor.

And the Yankee offense pushed the Astros all day, loading the bases multiple times, and breaking through multiple times, including a game-tying homer in the 6th by Oswaldo Cabrera — the new 3rd baseman with DJ LeMahieu out 15 days.

Juan Soto had a good day at the plate too, as did Anthony Volpe, and Aaron Judge kicked off the game-winning rally with a leadoff blast of a double in the 7th.

A good day for the Yankees.

“I felt like that 1st inning, tried to pepper the top of the zone and wasn’t clipping it enough,” said Cortes afterward. “I think it was after that homerun I gave up, I started shaking off some pitches. And then I went into the dugout and talked to Trevi — I said ‘hey let’s try to start mixing some pitches’, and I started locating, and I thought I used both sides of the plate well after that. I got a lot of soft contact. I think after that maybe Pena hit it hard. I was able to control the game and give my team an opportunity to win.”

NY starts the season at 1-0. Houston starts at 0-1.

1. Cortes Ripped Early; Settles Down

It wasn’t looking good early for Nestor Cortes. Coming off last season when shoulder issues shut him down early, and an 8.10 ERA in Spring training — Nestor filled Yankee Twitter with DOOM in the bottom of the 1st inning.

A 1-out single by Yordan Alvarez, and a walk to Kyle Tucker put 2 on with 1 out. Cortes got Alex Bregman to fly out — but with 2 outs, walked Jose Abreu to load the bases, then allowed consecutive singles to Chas McCormick and Yainer Diaz and it was 3-0 Houston.

All of Yankee Twitter was depressed. Without Nestor — thinking the worst — that something is still wrong with Nestor’s shoulder and the Yankee rotation — missing Gerrit Cole already — is going to be paper thin.

It got worse in the top of the 2nd when Jake Myers led off with a solo homerun and it was 4-0 Houston.

But then — Cortes settled down. He got the next 3 outs in a row in the 2nd, retired the order 1-2-3 in the 3rd, worked around a 1-out double in the 4th by Pena, and retired the order 1-2-3 in the 5th.

2. Yankee Offense Comes Back

Down 3-0, the Yankees loaded the bases with 1 out in the top of the 2nd inning against Houston ace Framber Valdez on a walk to Anthony Rizzo and consecutive singles by Anthony Volpe and Alex Verdugo — but Jose Trevino grounded into a double play.

Down 4-0, the Yankees loaded the bases with 1 out in the top of the 4th, on a walk to Aaron Judge, infield single by Giancarlo Stanton, and walk to Anthony Volpe. But Alex Verdugo hit into a double play.

Still down 4-0, the Yankees loaded the bases with nobody out in the 5th — on a Trevino walk, Cabrera single, and Gleyber Torres walk — and finally broke through on a Juan Soto RBI single.

But Valdez reared back and struck out Judge and Stanton. Anthony Rizzo stepped up and served up one of his specialties — he got hit by a pitch making it Houston 4 NY 2.

Houston went to the bullpen and brought in Seth Martinez — who walked Anthony Volpe on 4 pitches for a 4-3 game.

Martinez was throwing every pitch too low. He went 3-1 on Alex Verdugo — but Verdugo swung on the 3-1 pitch and grounded out to 1st.

3. Oswaldo Homer Ties It 4-4!

The Astros brought in Rafael Montero to pitch the 6th. With 1 out, Oswaldo Cabrera ripped a 381-foot homer to right to tie the game 4-4.

4. Verdugo Sac Fly Puts ‘Em Ahead

Aaron Judge led off the 7th with a booming double to left field off Ryan Pressly. With 1 out, Anthony Rizzo singled and Volpe walked to load the bases again for the Yankees.

Alex Verdugo hit a 2-2 pitch in the air to left for the HUGE sac fly and NY was in front 5-4.

5. Soto Saves the Day — with Great Tag Trevino

Jonathan Loaisiga pitched a shutout 6th and 7th, and Ian Hamilton pitched a 1-2-3 shutout 8th.

In came Clay Holmes for the 9th and he was immediately greeted with a basehit by Dubon to left.

Holmes got Jose Altuve to lineout to 2nd, but Yordan Alvarez reached on an infield single.

Kyle Tucker ripped the 2nd pitch he saw for a single to right — but Juan Soto came up the hero — throwing a STRIKE to home to just nail the runner on a tremendous Trevino catch and tag.

The umps reviewed the play and ruled the runner was indeed out.

Ant hen the final groundout by Bregman to shortstop and the Yanks had the win. PHEW!

The Boxscore


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