Amped-up Yankees beat Astros in first meeting since sign-stealing scandal

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Kristie Ackert, New York Daily News
·4 min read
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NEW YORK — That had to feel good. The Yankees — and their fans — so angry with the Astros cheating scandal that they believe robbed their chances to win World Series in 2017 and 2019, got a little taste of revenge Tuesday. WIth a chaotic sixth-inning rally, the Bombers beat the Astros 7-3 at the Stadium, in front of a sell-out crowd of 10,850 mostly angry Yankees fans.

That’s what Aaron Judge wanted.

“There’s nothing better, nothing sweeter than going out there and putting up some runs against them and getting some W’s,” Judge had said about facing the Astros. “I think that’s the most important thing, but the fans can do what they want, but we still got a job to do on the field.”

The Yankees took care of their business with a two-run shot by Giancarlo Stanton (who went 4-for-5 and extended his hitting streak to 10 games) and solid pitching. Domingo German gave the Yankees five good innings and the bullpen again was a backbone of the team.

It was the fourth-straight win for the Yankees (15-14), a season high winning streak.

The Yankees needed the chaotic sixth-inning to get past the Astros.

DJ LeMahieu’s single with the bases loaded and an Alex Bregman throwing error led to three runs coming in, the last a costly one. Rougned Odor, racing the throw to the plate, barreled into Astros catcher Martin Maldanado. After Odor stepped on the plate during a collision, both players lay sprawled in the dirt. Odor seemed to hurt his left knee and needed help walking off the field. Maldanado got kneed in the shoulder. Odor was heading to New York Presbyterian for an MRI on an “injured left knee,” the team announced.

It seems like this game was bound to draw some blood — and the fans were calling for it.

Though limited to 20% capacity by New York State’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols, the crowd at Yankee Stadium was loud and intense. The anger and frustration they felt after the Astros’ cheating scandal was revealed by the commissioner’s report in January 2020 was stored up through a pandemic and a year without fans in the ballpark. Tuesday night, they were going to let it out whenever they got the chance.

Jose Altuve, who edged out Aaron Judge for the MVP honors in 2017 — largely because he had a higher batting average — was the primary target of the crowd’s ire, Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa were also targeted with boos, chants and signs. There were at least two blow-up garbage cans, referring obviously to how the Astros’ would relay pitches called in real time to their hitters.

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It was the most intense and real crowd feel since the ballpark was reopened to fans this season. Fueled by their anger, the fans stood and jeered every Astros at-bat for the first four innings. They cheered furiously when Altuve swung and missed.

The Yankees, who lost to the Astros in the 2017 and 2019 American League Championship Series, were furious in spring 2020 that the Astros players went unpunished — for agreeing to cooperate with the investigation — and that they had a tainted World Series title.

“I just don’t think it holds any value,” Judge said back in February 2020 referring not just to the 2017 World Series, but also Jose Altuve’s MVP that season. “You cheated. You didn’t earn it.”

Bregman silenced the boos — for about half a second — when he homered in the first.

The Bombers got the crowd back on its feet with Giancarlo Stanton’s two-run shot and an RBI groundout in the bottom of the inning.

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The Astros tied the game with Michael Brantley’s monster solo shot and Yuli Guirriel’s RBI-double.

The Yankees made Zack Greinke work hard and chased him after four innings. He allowed three runs on three hits. He walked four and struck out four.

Domingo German went five innings, allowing three runs on three hits. He walked one and struck out six. After two straight starts without giving up a home run, German gave up two Tuesday night.

Behind him, the Yankees got more excellent work out of their bullpen. Lucas Luetge, Jonathan Loaisiga, Wandy Peralta and Chad Green combined to shut down the Astros for five innings.