The Yankees lost the series finale to the Houston Astros, 3-1, to split their series at Minute Maid Park. The Yankees had previously won two of the first three games in Houston. Michael Pineda pitched eight dominant innings with Justin Wilson, Chasen Shreve and Dellin Betances not available, but the offense was not able to score enough runs to get him a win.
Pineda pitched eight innings while allowing two earned runs on seven hits while striking out seven. He bounced back well from his last start when he allowed eight runs in only 3.1 innings.
“I thought Pineda had good stuff from the beginning,” Joe Girardi said. “It is unfortunate because he pitched a really good game. It helps our bullpen, but the bottom line is that we wanted to win the game.”
The offense did nothing to support Pineda as they only had two hits the whole game. Brett Gardner hit a single with Stephen Drew on second in the third to score their only run and then Alex Rodriguez hit a single in the sixth.
The Yankees really struggled off of Collin McHugh as all of his pitches were working leading him to retire the side in order in the second, fourth, fifth, seventh and eighth innings. Drew was the only Yankee who advanced to second the whole game, which proves how effective McHugh was. McHugh had eight strikeouts and only that one earned run and Chase Headley and Mark Teixeira both went 0-4 with two strikeouts against him.
McCugh has a 12-6 curveball and his cut fastball, according to David Cone, worked for him all day.
Pineda had an excellent fastball and had a great slider for most of the game, but the Astros did damage against it in the seventh. Pineda left a slider up in the zone to Evan Gattis in the seventh inning. Gattis slugged a triple to the wall in left center to drive in Carlos Correa in what was the game winning run. Astros catcher Jason Castro, who was 0-2, hit a sacrifice fly in the eighth to score Preston Tucker for Houston’s third run.
“I try to do the best today and this is the game,” Pineda said about not getting the win. “It’s a little surprising but Jones and Gardner got a little confused. Today, I’m feeling good and I tried to do my best on the mound.” Pineda threw 39 sliders out of his 107 pitches.
The Astros first run was unearned because Correa hit a fly ball to left center and the ball dropped right between Brett Gardner and Garrett Jones. Gardner should have caught the ball since he is the center fielder and his miscue could have happened because Jones doesn’t have much experience in left. Correa scored on the play and it was ruled a double and an error because Gardner didn’t pick up the ball.
“Jones was saying I got it, I got it. They said that they couldn’t hear each other,” Girardi said.
“It was loud and neither of us heard each other,” Gardner said. “As the center fielder, I’ve got to go after it. It frustrating as good as big Mike pitched that we couldn’t get the win for him.”
Luke Gregerson, who is in his first year as the Astros closer, retired all three batters he faced in the ninth for his 18th save of the year.
After splitting the series in Houston, the Yankees (41-35) are half a game behind the Tampa Bay Rays (42-35) and the Baltimore Orioles (41-34) in the tightly bunched AL East. The American League East is the most competitive division in baseball as the top four teams are separated by only one game, and it is the only division that has four teams above .500 (Toronto is the fourth).
The Yankees will now fly to Anaheim to play a three-game series against the Angels. The Angels are only a game above .500, but Mike Trout (.300, 19 homers and 42 RBIs) and Albert Pujols (23 homers and 47 RBIs) are both putting up impressive stats.