Astros rally for 7-6 win over Yankees

Astros rally for 7-6 win over Yankees

HOUSTON -- An unusual set of administrative events set the table for Astros right-hander Dayan Diaz to have the most memorable game of his young career, a contest capped by a riveting confrontation between two former Cuban stars.

First baseman Yuli Gurriel produced a two-run, two-out, two-strike double in the eighth inning to cap a white-knuckle four-run rally and give the Houston Astros a 7-6 victory over the New York Yankees on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park.

Gurriel, whose two-run homer provided Houston (55-27) a short-lived 2-0 lead in the fifth inning, rifled a fastball down the third-base line and into the left-field corner off fellow Cuban countryman Aroldis Chapman, scoring pinch-runner Josh Reddick from third base and Marwin Gonzalez from first to cap the comeback.

Chapman entered seeking a four-out save after Yankees right-hander Dellin Betances (3-3) walked three batters and allowed a solo home run to Astros catcher Evan Gattis that cut the Yankees’ three-run lead to 6-5 with two outs.

”He’s one of the best closers in the game right now,“ Gurriel said of Chapman. ”So, for me to get in that at-bat and get a big hit, it was really important. We’re really good friends.

“I was thinking about a fastball because he’s the hardest thrower in the big leagues. I knew he was going to throw the fastball, so I was aware of that.”

The Yankees (43-36) erased the 2-0 deficit courtesy of Gurriel with a five-run sixth inning for a second consecutive night. Two runs were charged to Astros starter Francis Martes. The big blow came when Didi Gregorius cranked his first career grand slam off Astros right-hander Will Harris to complete the uprising.

But the Astros began to chip away against Yankees starter Jordan Montgomery via a Carlos Correa home run, his 17th, in the bottom of the sixth. In the eighth, Jose Altuve, Carlos Beltran and Gonzalez walked while Altuve and Reddick combined for three steals against Betances, who grew increasingly rattled.

“We wanted to create some havoc and pressure on them late in the game and we did,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said.

Diaz (1-0), who was erroneously recalled on Saturday only to return to the ballpark after right-hander David Paulino was suspended 80 games for a performance-enhancing drugs violation, earned the win with a scoreless eighth.

Gurriel was 3-for-4 with four RBIs. Astros closer Ken Giles notched his 19th save when Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner was erased trying to scurry back to first base after initially attempting to stretch his two-out single to left into a double.

Reddick cut off the ball and made a high throw to Correa, whose leaping grab didn’t prevent him from making an accurate toss to Gurriel, who tagged Gardner.

“He made a wide turn; he thought he had a chance at second,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “The guy made a good throw. It looked like he would have been out and he didn’t get back in time.”

The homers to Gurriel, his ninth, and Correa, accounted for all of the scoring against Montgomery, who allowed three runs on five hits over 5 1/3 innings.

Martes was sharp and effective through his first five innings. But in the sixth, the Yankees initiated their rally against him and continued it against Harris, and stood poised to make the most of a sparkling debut from right fielder and touted prospect Clint Frazier, who finished 2-for-4 with a homer and two runs.

“I would say very eventful,” Frazier said. “It is probably the best taste of baseball I have ever had. It’s disappointing to lose, but we have tomorrow. I am glad to be a part of this game.”

NOTES: Astros RHP David Paulino was suspended 80 games without pay for violating Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. Paulino (2-0, 6.52 ERA in six starts) tested positive for Boldenone, a performance-enhancing substance, and is suspended effective immediately. Houston recalled RHP Dayan Diaz from Triple-A Fresno. Diaz was initially ineligible for recall because he did not spend the requisite 10 days in the minors after he was optioned on June 22. Diaz had been erroneously recalled when the Astros optioned LHP Reymin Guduan to Fresno Friday night. ... The Yankees selected OF Clint Frazier from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and optioned INF Miguel Andujar to the RaidRiders. New York also transferred OF Dustin Fowler to the 60-day disabled list. The Yankees’ No. 2 prospect, Frazier batted ninth and played right field while making his major league debut. ... Astros third base coach Gary Pettis will have right knee surgery next week and will be sidelined through the All-Star Game break. Triple-A Fresno manager Tony DeFrancesco will replace Pettis during the Astros’ upcoming road trip through Atlanta and Toronto.

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