Sweep Start

Yanks Rally Past Astros With Unblemished Record

New York Yankees’ Juan Soto celebrates after hitting an RBI single during the ninth inning of Sunday’s game against the Houston Astros in Houston. AP photo

HOUSTON — Juan Soto had three hits capped by an RBI single with two outs in the ninth inning that lifted the New York Yankees to a 4-3 win Sunday that completed an opening four-game sweep of the Houston Astros.

With the score 3-3, Gleyber Torres singled off closer Josh Hader (0-1) with two outs in the ninth inning and stole second base. Soto then singled on a line drive to left field.

“It just put a bow on the series of what we saw in his at-bats,” manager Aaron Boone said.

Soto hit .529 (9 for 17) with four RBIs in his first games with the Yankees after his trade from San Diego, helping New York to its first 4-0 start since 2003 and just its fourth since 1950.

“That’s the kind of start I wanted,” Soto said with a laugh. “I grinded really hard this offseason and in spring training to be successful in the beginning of the season.”

The Astros had a shot to tie it in the bottom of the inning against Clay Holmes. Jeremy Pena and pinch-hitter Victor Caratini singled and Jose Altuve hit a hard grounder that third baseman Jon Berti snagged with dive and scrambled to third for a forceout.

Yordan Alvarez hit a drive 2 inches foul of the left-field line and followed with a fly that advanced pinch-runner Mauricio Dubon to third. Alex Verdugo made a sliding catch in left field on a ball hit by Kyle Tucker to end it and give Holmes his third save.

“It’s just a lot of fun watching these guys continue to compete, and it’s happening on both sides of the ball,” Boone said.

Nick Burdi (1-0) got the last two outs of the eighth for his first big league win since April 17, 2019 for Pittsburgh against Detroit. Yankees relievers pitched 15 1/3 scoreless innings in the series.

Altuve homered and doubled for the Astros, 0-4 for the first time since dropping their first five in 2011. Houston has lost nine straight home games dating to last year, including the playoffs, and has lost seven in a row to the Yankees.

“I like the fight,” first-year manager Joe Espada said. “That’s what it’s all about. Give yourself a chance. You fight to the last out of the game and if you do that you’re going to find yourself in a good spot to win games.”

The Astros trailed by 2 when Altuve got things going in the sixth when he doubled to left field. Tucker’s double with one out in the inning scored Altuve to cut the lead to 3-2 and chase Clarke Schimdt.

Jonathan Loaisiga took over and Yainer Diaz’s RBI single with two outs tied it at 3-3.

Giancarlo Stanton doubled in the second and scored on Jose Trevino’s single, and Altuve’s homer tied the score in the third. Anthony Rizzo doubled to start the fourth and scored on Berti’s single for a 2-1 lead, and Aaron Judge hit a sacrifice fly in the fifth.

Schmidt gave up three runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings.

“Obviously you don’t play playoff games in March, but this was a big-time series and a big-time sweep and a really good way to start the season,” Schmidt said.

Houston starter J.P. France allowed three runs and six hits in 5 2/3 innings.


Yankees: New York RHP Luis Gil opposes Arizona RHP Ryne Nelson when the Yankees open a three-game series against the Diamondbacks on Monday night.

Astros: Houston RHP Ronel Blanco faces Toronto RHP Bowden Francis when the Astros and Blue Jays start a three-game series Monday night.


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