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Yankees stun Astros with late comeback, win 6-4 to draw ALCS even at 2-2

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The Yankees faced a 4-0 deficit going into the bottom of the seventh inning, but scored a total of six unanswered runs in the seventh and eighth innings to stun the Astros with a 6-4 victory in Game 4 of the ALCS on Tuesday night. The ALCS is now even at two games apiece.

The Astros put up a three-spot in the sixth inning, which appeared at the time to be more than enough offense. George Springer led off with a walk and Josh Reddick followed up by reaching on catcher’s interference, bringing up Jose Altuve. Starter Sonny Gray threw a first-pitch ball to Altuve, which brought manager Joe Girardi out to the mound to make a rare mid-at-bat pitching change. David Robertson came in and ended up walking Altuve to load the bases. After Carlos Correa struck out, Yuli Gurriel ripped a hanging curve down the left field line, clearing the bases to make it a 3-0 game. He was caught between second and third for the second out of the inning.

Gray, by the way, has now pitched 21 1/3 innings in the postseason and has received exactly zero runs of support. That explains his 0-3 record despite a 2.95 ERA.

In the top of the seventh, the Astros tacked on one more run to make it 4-0. Marwin Gonzalez doubled, then came around to score on a fielding error by Starlin Castro.

Aaron Judge put the Yankees on the board leading off the bottom of the seventh, hitting a monster solo home run to center field. That chased McCullers from the game, who gave up the one run on two hits and two walks with three strikeouts spanning 81 pitches. Chris Devenski relieved McCullers and immediately gave up a triple to Didi Gregorius. Gary Sanchez brought him home with a sacrifice fly to right field, cutting the score to 4-2. Devenski then walked Greg Bird before giving way to Joe Musgrove. He got Castro to ground out and Aaron Hicks to fly out to escape the inning.

Musgrove started the eighth but immediately got into trouble. Todd Frazier led off with a single down the left field line and moved to third when Chase Headley hit a double into the left-center field gap. Headley stumbled between first and second and got caught in a rundown, but was able to reach second base safely somehow. Closer Ken Giles entered, but couldn’t keep his inherited runners from scoring. Brett Gardner brought Frazier home with a ground out and Judge brought pinch-runner Jacoby Ellsbury home with a double to left-center, tying the game at four apiece. Gregorius then singled to left field, moving Judge to third. Sanchez lined a double to center field, plating both runners to put the Yankees up 6-4. Giles intentionally walked Bird before exiting. Luke Gregerson entered and immediately walked Castro to load the bases for Hicks. At long last, the inning came to a close as Hicks grounded into a fielder’s choice and Frazier grounded out to third.

Aroldis Chapman took the hill in the ninth and got through the inning with ease. He struck out Gurriel and Alex Bregman, then got Evan Gattis to pop out to shallow left field to end the game.

With the series evened up at two games apiece, the two clubs will do battle again on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium. The Astros will send Dallas Keuchel to the hill and the Yankees will counter with Masahiro Tanaka.

Jim Crane thought the heat over sign-stealing would blow over by spring training

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The Astros’ sign-stealing story broke in November, a steady drumbeat of coverage of it lasted through December and into January, when Rob Manfred’s report came out about it. The report was damning and, in its wake, Houston’s manager and general manger were both suspended and then fired.

After that a steady stream of media reports came out which not only made the whole affair seem even worse than Manfred’s report suggested, but which also suggested that, on some level, Major League Baseball had bungled it all and it was even worse than it had first seemed.

Rather than Manfred and the Astros putting this all behind them, the story grew. As it grew, both the Red Sox and Mets fired their managers and, in a few isolated media appearances, Astros’ players seemed ill-prepared for questions on it all. Once spring training began the Astros made even worse public appearances and, for the past week and change, each day has given us a new player or three angrily speaking out about how mad they are at the Astros and how poorly they’ve handled all of this.

Why have they handled it so poorly? As always, look to poor leadership:

Guess not.

In other news, Crane was — and I am not making this up — recently named the Houston Sports Executive of the Year. An award he has totally, totally earned, right?