The New York Yankees and Houston Astros played a wild back-and-forth game Saturday night at Yankee Stadium that should have baseball fans hoping these two teams meet in October. It appears they play exciting baseball when they get together.
Thanks in part to Giancarlo Stanton's two go-ahead two-run singles -- Stanton gave the Yankees a 4-2 lead in the sixth and a 7-5 lead in the seventh -- the Yankees escaped with a win (NYY 7, HOU 5) to clinch the four-game series win. They'll look to complete the sweep against Justin Verlander on Sunday.
Austin Romine hit a solo home run earlier in that seventh inning. Setup man extraordinaire Ryan Pressly was charged with three runs in the inning, or as many runs as he'd allowed in his first 33 1/3 innings of the season. Pressly had not allowed more than one run in any of his prior 58 appearances with Houston.
The Astros did make Saturday's game interesting. Zack Britton walked three batters in the ninth inning (one intentionally) -- regular closer Aroldis Chapman was unavailable due to his recent workload -- before getting Tyler White to fly out harmlessly to end the game. The two teams combined for 18 hits and 10 walks. There was a lot of traffic on the bases.
Three different -- and notable -- streaks were extended during Saturday evening's game in the Bronx. Let's break it down.
Yankees homer in 25th straight game
The Yankees have now homered in 25 consecutive games, tying the longest streak in franchise history. It is tied for the second longest homer streak in baseball history. Here's the list:
- 2012 Rangers: 27 games
- 2019 Yankees: 25 games and counting
- 2016 Padres: 25 games
- 1998 Braves: 25 games
- 1994 Tigers: 25 games
- 1941 Yankees: 25 games
Keep in mind Stanton and Aaron Judge returned from the injured list this past week and Edwin Encarnacion came over in a trade last weekend. The Yankees have put together this 25-game homer streak largely with their fill-in players. They're on pace to hit 266 home runs this year, one short of the record 267 homers they hit last season.
Yankees win eighth straight game
The Yankees extended their winning streak to eight games Saturday. It is the longest active winning streak in baseball -- only the Astros, who have a pair of 10-game winning streaks, have had a longer winning streak this year -- and the Yankees have won the last six games against the Astros and Rays, arguably the two best teams in the league.
Saturday's win combined with the Rays falling to the Athletics (OAK 4, TB 2) and the Red Sox blowing a 6-0 lead to the Blue Jays (TOR 8, BOS 7) gives New York a 5 1/2-game lead in the AL East. Here are the updated top of the division standings:
- Yankees: 49-27
- Rays: 44-33 (5 1/2 GB)
- Red Sox: 42-36 (8 GB)
- Blue Jays: 28-49 (21 1/2 GB)
- Orioles: 22-55 (27 1/2 GB)
The 5 1/2-game lead ties the largest in the division this season -- Tampa Bay had a 5 1/2-game lead on five separate days in April. Since April 12, an admittedly cherry-picked date, the Yankees have the American League's best record at 44-19. They've gained 11 games on the Rays during that time.
Astros lose seventh straight game
As for the Astros, Saturday's loss was their seventh in a row. They've lost three straight to the Yankees after losing three straight to a surging Reds team that is more talented than their 40-36 record would lead you to believe. The seven-game losing streak ties Houston's longest since A.J. Hinch was named manager prior to 2015. Here are the longest losing streaks in the Hinch era:
- 7 games: June 19, 2019 to present
- 7 games: June 4-10, 2015
- 6 games: June 7-12, 2015
- Five separate 5-game losing streaks (most recently last August)
You have to go back to 2013, the third year in their back-to-back-to-back 100-loss seasons, for the last time the Astros lost more than seven games in a row. That year they lost 15 straight games, somewhat intentionally given their rebuilding status.
The good news? The Astros built themselves a pretty good cushion earlier this season, so, even after losing seven straight games, they still have a seven-game lead over the A's and Rangers in the AL West. That said, the lead was 9 1/2 games as recently as six days ago, so you know Houston wants to stop the bleeding with Verlander on the mound Sunday.