Yankees sweep season-opening series in 4-3 win over Astros

MLB: New York Yankees at Houston Astros
Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees defeated the Houston Astros 4-3 on the road to sweep their season-opening four-game series.

The Yankees are now 4-0 to begin the young 2024 MLB season. This is their first 4-0 start since 2003, and their second straight sweep over the Astros in a season series dating back to September of 2023.

The new-look Yankees’ win was driven home by big plays in the ninth inning from two of their marquee offseason acquisitions in outfielder Juan Soto and third baseman Jon Berti, but a full team effort helped New York beat Houston.

Positives for the Yankees: Giancarlo Stanton

Star designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton got the Bronx Bombers off to a good start with a leadoff double to left-center field in the second inning. A fly-out from Alex Verdugo and an infield single by catcher Jose Trevino drove Stanton home for the first score of the game.

Stanton went 1-5 on the afternoon, but he looked spry and exhibited a powerful swing at the plate. His weight loss in the offseason continues to prove its worth with the 34-year-old off to a solid start to the 2024 campaign.

Trading blows with old foes

Superstar Astros second baseman Jose Altuve homered in the third inning off of a 341-foot bomb to left field, which ignited a back-and-forth scoring affair between both teams for the next three innings.

Yankees pitching: Strong start & slow finish for Clark Schmidt

Clark Schmidt came in hot with his cutter, notching a three-and-out first inning and striking out two batters in the second. Outside of Altuve’s homer in the bottom of the third, Schmidt contained Houston’s offense well. However, his stuff was lacking a bit, as he topped out at 93.9 mph on his sinker on the affair.

Jonathan Loaisiga cratered in the 6th inning

The Yankees were in jeopardy of losing their 3-1 lead in the 6th inning when Jonathan Loaisiga took over for Schmidt on the mound. The Nicaraguan relief pitcher allowed three hits and two runs in the inning, with a swelling 2.67 WHIP to only one strikeout.

To his credit, his blistering velocity was put on display again as he maxed out at 98.2 mph on his fastball. However, his woes from the Yankees’ season opener against the Astros continued on Sunday, and he let his frustration out once the inning came to a close.

Heroics from Juan Soto and Jon Berti saved the Yankees in the 9th

The Yankees showed why they are an enhanced team on offense and defense down the stretch of this matchup. It started with Soto at the plate at the top of the 9th inning.

The reigning Silver Slugger Award winner put his bat to work in clutch time with an RBI single to left off of superstar closer Josh Hader, which drove in Gleyber Torres for the game-breaking run.

Soto was by far the most impactful Yankee at the plate, going 3-5 on the affair, including his game-winning RBI. He’s looked like the final piece to the Yankees’ World Series puzzle and maintained his blistering .500/.600/.833 slash line he entered the game with.

With their lead on the line, Berti made the defensive play of the game with a diving catch to break up an Altuve ground ball down the third base line to give the Yankees their first out in the bottom of the 9th. CF Aaron Judge and LF Alex Verdugo got their gloves on the final fly balls that secured the win for New York.

Yankees have a meeting with the World Series runner-ups in their next game

The Yankees face an even greater test against the reigning National League champion Arizona Diamondbacks in their upcoming three-game slate. They’ll begin the series on the road at Chase Field on Monday night.

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