Four Games Between Houston Astros And New York Yankees Provided Compelling And Historic Theater

There was a time when each of the 19 games between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees must see quality and scope, especially for those who choose baseball programming, which they still are.

The Yankees-Red Sox’s peak came in 2003 and 2004, when the longtime rivals shared 38 regular-season games and then traded historic victories in seven games in the American League Championship Series.

To a similar extent, but with a smaller sample size due to geography, games between the Yankees and Astros take on these qualities, particularly the compelling nature the teams spent this weekend battling each other over the course of 13 hours and 28 minutes .

Like those games between the Yankees and the Red Sox, these games left every viewer yearning for more. The only three remaining are Thursday and a doubleheader on July 21 in Houston, but those games offered everything from the dramatic to the historic in the 1,201 places that both teams have seen.

On Thursday, it seemed like the Astros were headed for a routine three-run win as they raced to a six-run lead and sliced ​​it in half while moving into the ninth — the inning in which they, at 39: 0 took the lead. This time, the Astros let ninth place slip away when Aaron Hicks missed a three-run homer on Ryan Pressly and followed Judge with a game-winning single on a 3-0 splitter against Ryne Stanek.

It caused a sense of insomnia among the Astros, but there’s a good chance they weren’t too rattled as Justin Verlander was next on the hill. And Pitch is exactly what Verlander did, getting better in the last few innings and holding the Yankees on a seven-inning run while showing his best fastball speed of the season.

A theme of reassurance was presented throughout the Astros clubhouse with Verlander on the mound and the various players certainly agreed while also quoting the entire pitching team.

“Honestly, we all feel that way,” Houston right fielder Kyle Tucker said Friday night while catching a glimpse of Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals in the background of the clubhouse TV. “Our pitching staff have done a phenomenal job all year and we are confident in whoever is out on the hill. This evening.”

If there had been a more anticipatory statement, it would have been this. About 15 hours after Tucker noted that Houston’s entire pitching team is phenomenal, Cristian Javier took the mound for what would ultimately be the greatest day of his career, which began with him finishing 18th with 62 appearances, 29 starts and a no-hitter.

“In the bullpen today before the game, the pitches did what I wanted,” said Javier.

It was a three-pitch no-hitter that gave the Astros two of those games over the Yankees with a total of nine pitchers, and featured 150 pitches from Houston’s pitching staff in each game. (although the baseball reference box score has 151). Nineteen years and 14 days after Roy Oswalt’s injury created the combined six-pitcher no-hitter on June 11, 2003, Javier threw the first 115 of Houston’s no-hit pitches and scored 13 strikeouts on those.

And when Pressly finished it off by putting Giancarlo Stanton on a harmless ground ball, the Astros celebrated along with everyone in attendance who had never seen a no-hitter before.

“A no-hitter is pretty special either way, no matter where you do it,” Pressly said. “The fact that it was here at Yankee Stadium, that’s a really good lineup over there. Those are some good hitters. It’s special, but I think if you throw a no-hitter, it’s going to be special in general.

And for 6 1/3 innings Sunday, the pitches coming out of Jose Urquidy’s right hand did what he wanted, though there were a few more tight calls with a couple of warning track flyballs and shortstop Jeremy Pena moving several steps too his left moved retired DJ LeMahieu.

At 3:51 p.m., Urquidy’s 91st pitch bet him and delighted the Yankees when Stanton fired a fastball to the net above Monument Park in midfield, ending any dreams of a second straight no-hitter. It sparked a comeback and ended a streak in which the Yankees went 280 pitches without a hit over 16 1/3 innings, the longest hitless sled for a team since 1961, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Ninety-three minutes after Stanton’s blast completed the no-hitter portion of proceedings, the Yankees ended a convincing June streak as Judge’s highly eventful week continued. He almost hit a game-changing homer Tuesday in Tampa, hit two more the next night, got the game-winning hit and narrowly avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $19 million contract at 12:45 p.m. Friday afternoon.

The judge was relieved to avoid the hearing but seemed unenthusiastic that it even came to the brink of a hearing 11 weeks after Brian Cashman told a crowded media gathering and everyone else who had seen the footage that her star a seven-year, $213 million hearing had rejected acting. While it was a move perhaps intended to make fans wonder how Judge could turn it down, Judge’s performance prompts shouts of “pay the man,” “name his price,” before it’s early late becomes.

About 43 hours after sounding unenthusiastic about the lengthy arbitration process, Judge blasted a slider from Seth Martinez into the attending crowd, getting plate bullied and capping a string of numerous star appearances and some genuinely unexpected ones.

It all added up to a compelling four-game streak for any team to play in late June, and it left anyone who witnessed part if not all of the weekend drooling for more of what could be in October when the Yankees try to thwart the Astros for the first time in a postseason series.

“We’ve seen each other a lot in the postseason for the past few years,” Judge said. “Every time we play, it’s always going to be a good ball game. I think the fans anticipate that and bring their energy from first place. It’s what you love, you look forward to playing against good teams and seeing where you are in the AL.”

It was a similar sentiment echoed by catcher Martin Maldonado some 25 hours earlier after guiding his pitchers through their historic performance.

“We love playing out there, especially against good teams,” Maldonado said. “We felt like the playoffs were coming into the series.”

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