With the Yankees losing 2-0 in the seventh inning, Young hit a three-run homer off of Will Harris over the 19-foot wall in left field at Minute Maid Park to give the visitors a 3-2 lead. Young’s game-winning homer, which was his ninth of the season, drove in Carlos Beltran and Garrett Jones.
“That is huge,” Joe Girardi said. “We had not done much up until that point. He (Young) has been really hot and that is why he is playing everyday.”
He is from Houston and always enjoys playing at Minute Park based on how well he plays and that his friends and family can watch him person.
Young said after the game that he left 50 tickets for friends and family to attend the game. He began his career back in 2006 and has been playing games as a visitor in Houston ever since. In 105 at-bats at Minute Maid Park he has hit nine homers with a remarkable .409 average.
“I’m sure it’s something to it,” he said of playing in his home park. “I mean it definitely doesn’t hurt to have some extra support behind your back, a little extra little fire when you to the plate.”
Young, who struggled in May after his hot start to the season, is on a nine-game hitting streak with four consecutive multi-hit games to raise his average to .271. He has been playing very well the previous seven games with Jacoby Ellsbury still on the disabled list and if he continues hitting like this he will deserve to split time with Beltran when Ellsbury returns.
“To be able to do it in front of your family, your home town, and the city you grew up coming to baseball games in and now you’re one of the players on the field, it’s a little special for me,” Young said.
The Yankees were only 1-5 with runners in scoring position, but Young came through when it counted as he hit his third homer in June.
Eovaldi (7-2, 4.81 ERA) is from nearby Alvin, Texas, which is well known as the hometown of Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan. Eovaldi looked up to Ryan growing up and said that he didn’t know that the all-time leader in strikeouts was sitting behind home plate until the fifth inning.
“Growing up, for me, I connected baseball with him,” Eovaldi said of Ryan.
He allowed two earned runs in six innings and this was his second consecutive start limiting the opposition to two runs scored. This means that he has bounced back very well from allowing nine runs in two thirds of an inning to the Miami Marlins on June 16.
Eovaldi, who had six strikeouts, used his splitter very effectively against the Astros according to Girardi. “I think his curveball was important for him tonight and the command of his fastball,” Giradi said. “He was able to elevate it at times and go down and away at times. I thought they mixed the pitches very well and kept them off balance.”
He has improved his stuff and has kept hitters off balance a lot more in his last two starts since he has allowed five and three hits respectively in his last two starts after allowing a combined 17 hits in his previous two starts.
“Tonight I was just trying to take it pitch by pitch,” Eovaldi said.
According to the Yankees PR Department and Fangraphs, Eovaldi’s fastball has the highest average velocity (95.9) in the Majors this season. He can be an effective starter when he locates his secondary pitches and throws his fastball at the right time, but he just needs to avoid starts when he completely loses his command.
After Eovaldi was taken out of the game after throwing 100 pitches, Chasen Shreve, Justin Wilson and Dellin Betances combined to throw three innings and not allow a hit. Shreve, who has not allowed a run in his last 13 games to lower his ERA to an impressive 1.76, had three strikeouts in his inning pitched, and Betances struck out two of the four batters he faced.
After winning the game on Friday in Houston with big contributions from hometown players, the Yankees will play the Astros at 4:10 EST and will try for their first winning streak since they won straight from June 17-20. Masahiro Tanaka will make his first start against the Astros and will hit for the second game this season.