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

Al Bello/Getty Images
14 Comments

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.

Royals fire manager Mike Matheny after 65-97 end to season

Minnesota Twis v Kansas City Royals
Getty Images
2 Comments

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred were fired by the Kansas Cty Royals on Wednesday night, shortly after the struggling franchise finished the season 65-97 with a listless 9-2 loss to the Cleveland Guardians.

The Royals had exercised their option on Matheny’s contract for 2023 during spring training, when the club hoped it was turning the corner from also-ran to contender again. But plagued by poor pitching, struggles from young position players and failed experiments with veterans, the Royals were largely out of playoff contention by the middle of summer.

The disappointing product led owner John Sherman last month to fire longtime front office executive Dayton Moore, the architect of back-to-back American League champions and the 2015 World Series title team. Moore was replaced by one of his longtime understudies, J.J. Picollo, who made the decision to fire Matheny hours after the season ended.

Matheny became the fifth big league manager to be fired this year.

Philadelphia’s Joe Girardi was replaced on June 3 by Rob Thomson, who engineered a miraculous turnaround to get the Phillies into the playoffs as a wild-card team. The Angels replaced Joe Maddon with Phil Nevin four days later, Toronto’s Charlie Montoyo was succeeded by John Schneider on July 13 and the Rangers’ Chris Woodward by Tony Beasley on Aug. 15.

In addition, Miami’s Don Mattingly said late last month that he will not return next season.