Behind a sterling effort from Phil Hughes, the Yankees took down Justin Verlander and the Tigers 5-1 on Sunday, sending Detroit’s ace to his third straight loss.
Verlander, the AL Cy Young Award winner and MVP last year, was charged with all five runs in his 6 1/3 innings of work, though only three were earned. He gave up nine hits, two of them homers, and walked four in the contest.
It’s the first time since 2008 that Verlander has lost three straight. In fact, when Verlander lost to the Red Sox on Tuesday, it marked just the third time since the beginning of the 2009 season that he had suffered a two-game losing streak.
Verlander was very good in the first start of the losing streak, when he dropped a 2-1 game to the Indians, but he’s now given up five runs in back-to-back starts. His ERA stands at 2.67, which is the highest he’s finished an outing at since last June 9.
Hughes, on the other hand, turned in one of the best efforts of his career, throwing just his second complete game in 82 starts. He allowed four hits, walked three and struck out eight in earning his fifth win today.
The Yankees’ offense finally woke up, scoring eight runs in Game 3 of the ALCS on Monday night while the pitching kept the Astros’ offense at bay. That came after scoring a total of two runs against Astros pitching in the first two games. For a recap of the Yankees’ scoring in Game 3, click here.
CC Sabathia wasn’t dominant, but he executed pitches when he needed to most, preventing the Astros from capitalizing on their opportunities. Overall, he gave up three hits and four walks while striking out five on 99 pitches. He’s the first pitcher, age 37 or older, to throw six shutout innings in the postseason since Pedro Martinez for the Phillies against the Dodgers in Game 2 of the 2009 NLCS. Monday’s start also marked Sabathia’s first career scoreless outing in the postseason — it was his 22nd postseason appearance.
Astros starter Charlie Morton couldn’t escape the fourth inning, when he allowed a run and loaded the bases before departing. Will Harris allowed all three inherited runners to score on Aaron Judge‘s three-run home run to left field. Morton was ultimately charged with seven runs on six hits, two walks, and a hit batsman with three strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings.
The Yankees’ bullpen held the fort after the sixth. Adam Warren worked a scoreless seventh. Warren returned in the eighth and retired the side in order, despite yielding a pair of well-struck balls to deep center field.
In the ninth, Dellin Betances walked both hitters he faced to start the frame. Unsurprisingly, manager Joe Girardi had a short leash and brought in Tommy Kahnle. Kahnle gave up a single to Cameron Maybin then struck out George Springer, but walked Alex Bregman to force in a run. Kahnle got Jose Altuve to ground into a 4-3 double play to end the game in an 8-1 victory, giving the Yankees their first win of the series.
The ALCS continues on Tuesday at 5 PM ET. The Astros will start Lance McCullers and the Yankees will send Sonny Gray to the hill.