Aside from Aaron Judge doing what he often does when the opposition actually pitches to him, the New York Yankees were buoyed by the showings of several rookies in a 5-4 victory over the host Houston Astros on Saturday.
The finale of the three-game series will be Sunday night.
On Saturday, from rookie right-hander Jhony Brito pitching 3 2/3 innings of scoreless relief to a quartet of rookies in the back half of the lineup bolstering the offense, the Yankees (67-69) were served by youth in winning for the fifth time in six games.
Shortstop Anthony Volpe finished 1-for-3 with a double, two walks, a stolen base and a run scored. Austin Wells and Everson Pereira delivered RBIs in consecutive plate appearances in the fifth inning. Oswald Peraza recorded a run-scoring single among his three hits. And Jasson Dominguez reached on an error in the fifth and scored what proved to be the deciding run.
The Yankees had four players 24 or younger with RBIs for the first time since 1970.
“I thought the amount of competitive at-bats from guys was really good,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.
Right-hander Michael King (3-5, 2.96 ERA) will start on Sunday as the Yankees pursue a series sweep. It will mark his 44th appearance but only his fourth start of the season.
King tossed four scoreless innings — and a season-high 61 pitches — against the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday, allowing three hits while recording five strikeouts but did not factor into the decision of the Yankees‘ 4-2 victory. King is 0-1 with a 2.08 ERA as a starter this season.
King is 2-1 with a 3.38 ERA in five career relief appearances against the Astros. He worked out of the bullpen twice against Houston last month, tossing 2 2/3 scoreless innings while allowing two hits and recording four strikeouts in a pair of Yankees wins. King earned a win and a hold in those outings.
Right-hander Cristian Javier (9-2, 4.66) is the scheduled starter for the Astros (77-60) on Sunday. Despite avoiding a loss in his last six starts, Javier is 2-0 with a 5.83 ERA with an .887 opponent OPS. He has allowed seven home runs and 18 walks over 29 1/3 innings in that span.
Javier is 2-0 with a 1.44 ERA over five career appearances (four starts) against the Yankees. He did not factor into the decision of the Astros‘ 4-3 road loss to them on Aug. 3 after allowing three runs on four hits — including two home runs — and three walks with four strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings.
Astros left fielder Michael Brantley made his first home start after missing the first 132 games this season following right shoulder surgery. He paid immediate dividends when he hit a two-run home run to right field in his first at-bat, his first homer at Minute Maid Park since June 17, 2022.
The Astros have been equal parts patient and anxious to get Brantley back in the mix. He has long been viewed as a professional hitter, and he adds another capable left-handed bat to a lineup featuring only two others hitting from that side of the plate: Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker.
Following his 2-for-4 effort against the Yankees, Brantley is 4-for-13 with four RBIs in four games. The Astros hope the final month will afford Brantley the time to get up to speed for what the club hopes is another extended postseason run.
“He’s the same old vintage Brantley,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “He worked hard to get to this point. He went down and didn’t rush his rehab assignment. He’s going to be a key factor down the stretch.”
—Field Level Media
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