HOUSTON — Jose Altuve got the last laugh as the Yankees collapsed in the ninth inning. The Astros second baseman hit a game-winning walkoff three-run homer off Chad Green in the bottom of the ninth as Houston rallied to beat the Yankees 8-7 Sunday.
Then the All-Star let his teammates rip off his jersey, trolling the Yankees, who had been mocking him all weekend. Altuve had hit a walkoff home run off Aroldis Chapman to send the Astros to the World Series in 2019 and hugged his jersey to his chest as he came home, telling his teammates not to tear his jersey off his chest. He claimed it was because his wife didn’t like it when his teammates ripped off his shirt, but it led to speculation that the Astros were using buzzers under their jerseys to relay stolen signs in real time. MLB investigated the Altuve accusations and said they found nothing.
The Yankees (46-43) won four on the six-game road trip. They return from the break Thursday with eight of their first 10 games against the Red Sox, who finished the first half having lost four of their last five.
It was the first time they were back at Minute Maid Park since the Astros were exposed as having cheated in a sign-stealing scandal.
Gary Sanchez snapped a 1-for-28 slump with a three-run shot in the eighth, his 15th home run of the season. Tim Locastro hit his first homer as a Yankee, Gleyber Torres drove in a run and another scored when he reached on an error. Gio Urshela’s line-drive single in the seventh scored another.
Jameson Taillon got the Yankees through six innings Sunday. He allowed two runs on solo home runs to Martin Maldonado and Kyle Tucker. He walked two and struck out four. It was a good way to end a rocky first half of the season. Domingo German was charged with two runs and could not get out of the ninth. Aaron Boone skipped over closer Aroldis Chapman and went to Green, who had thrown 26 pitches on Friday, to close.
Coming off his second Tommy John surgery, Taillon got his ERA under 5.00 in his first 17 starts back with his outing Sunday. He’s struggled with command and consistency through the first half.
“I don’t really know how to put a grade on it, but I can say I’m happy with being healthy and happy with sticking to my routine. ... I’m definitely happy that I’ve been able to take the ball when my name has been called, because I haven’t necessarily been able to do that consistently in the past,” Taillon said. “Then performance-wise, it’s just been up and down for me. ... when I broke camp and left Florida for New York, it’s not like I envisioned myself with a 5.00 ERA. So I’m definitely not happy with it. But I definitely see an opportunity to be a lot better in the second half.”