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Astros 4, Yankees 9: Houston relievers implode late

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Yankees score 6 runs in the ninth to sink the Astros.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

It was a sellout crowd at Osceola County Stadium, even with the premium prices for Yankees fans. Dallas Keuchel took the mound for the Astros on a sunny Saturday afternoon. Keuchel allowed a single and walk in the second inning but escaped with an inning-ending double play to complete two scoreless innings of work.

The Astros bats worked quickly against Yankees starter Scott Baker, Houston lead off the game with five-straight hits. Jose Altuve, Robbie Grossman, and George Springer singled to load the bases for Chris Carter. Carter ripped a double to left field, scoring two runs. Luis Valbuena drove in a Astro run with single of his own to put Houston up 3-0 through one.

Both teams went quiet for four innings, the Astros held their 3-0 lead into the sixth. It was a product of Luke Gregerson, Chad Qualls, and Josh Fields pitching a scoreless inning each. Fields pitched an immaculate inning, striking out the side on nine pitches.

The Yankees' Ramon Flores touched up Tony Sipp for a solo home run to put the New York on the board. Jason Castro responded with a double to score Nolan Fontana to keep the Astros lead at three runs in the bottom half of the six.

Darian Downs surrendered a home run and double to lead off the eighth. Jordan Jankowski relieved Downs and gave up a triple to Jose Pirela to score another run. Jankowski remained the game for the ninth, the score 4-3 Astros. He would walk home a run after allowing three singles. The game now tied, bases loaded, and one out. Jankowski struck out Jose Pirela. He was one out away from escaping with a tie game. Rob Refsnyder would have none of that, singling to score two more runs.

Kent Emanuel replaced Jankowski and promptly balked home a run and gave up a two-run home run to Greg Bird. The Astros went down in order in the bottom of the nine to finish the game.

Game Notes:

  • Jose Altuve, Jed Lowrie, and Hank Conger saw their first game action this Spring Training.
  • Three main pieces of the Astros bullpen pitched a scoreless inning each, Luke Gregson, Chad Qualls, and Josh Fields.
  • Jason Castro was 2-for-3 with a double, Carlos Correa was 1-for-1.