Gary Sanchez broke a scoreless tie with a three-run home run in the ninth inning, and the New York Yankees downed the host Houston Astros 4-0 on Tuesday at Minute Maid Park.
Sanchez smashed the first pitch from Astros closer Ken Giles 423 feet to straightaway center field, plating Aaron Judge and Didi Gregorius.
Judge opened the ninth with a leadoff single, and Gregorius followed with a double to left-center off Giles, who struck out the side in the ninth inning of the series opener Monday to earn his third save.
Giles (0-1) had not allowed a baserunner in his past seven appearances and was scoreless over his past eight.
The Astros wasted an exceptional effort from starter Justin Verlander, who worked eight shutout innings and matched his career high of 14 strikeouts. He plunked the first batter he faced, Brett Gardner, with a pitch and allowed a pair of singles in the second. Beyond that, he was infallible, save for Gregorius’ bunt single against the shift in the third.
Verlander followed the Gregorius hit by retiring the final 16 batters he faced, recording two strikeouts in the fourth and fifth innings while punching out the leadoff batter in the sixth and seventh. He fanned Gardner to cap the eighth inning and complete his 105-pitch masterpiece.
Before Sanchez struck the decisive blow, the Yankees were saved by their bullpen.
Yankees left-hander Jordan Montgomery logged a perfect first inning but departed with left elbow tightness. He is scheduled to return to New York on Wednesday for an examination by the team doctor.
Right-hander Domingo German was called upon in an emergency situation in the second inning yet responded by allowing just four hits and one walk while recording four strikeouts over four innings. Right-handers Chad Green, Dellin Betances, and David Robertson (2-1) followed with a scoreless inning apiece, combining for six strikeouts while allowing two hits and no walks.
Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman struck out the side in the bottom of the ninth.
—Field Level Media