Yankees offense quiet in 3-1 loss to Astros
HOUSTON (AP) — Yankees starter Michael Pineda couldn’t appreciate how much better he pitched on Sunday against the Houston Astros than he did in his previous start since the end result was the same.
“I’m feeling good because I’m pitching good games,” Pineda said. “But I lost. I don’t want to lose. I want to win the game. I want to help my team.”
Rookie Carlos Correa doubled twice and scored the tiebreaking run on a triple by Evan Gattis in the seventh inning to help the Houston Astros to a 3-1 victory.
Pineda (8-5) allowed seven hits and three runs — two earned — and struck out eight in eight innings for the first complete game of his career. The solid performance comes after he allowed 11 hits and eight runs — both career highs — in a loss in his previous start.
“I thought he had good stuff from the beginning,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “I thought all three pitches were effective today and it’s unfortunate because he pitched a really good game. Most days we’re going to score more runs than that and he’s going to win.”
But on Sunday, Collin McHugh (9-3) allowed a season-low two hits — both singles — and one run and eight strikeouts in eight innings for his third straight win. Luke Gregerson pitched a perfect ninth for his 18th save.
Pineda also had to try to overcome a tough play in the fourth inning. Correa doubled with one out in the inning and scored on an error by Brett Gardner when he and left fielder Garrett Jones allowed the ball to drop between them and roll away to make it 1-1.
“I was a little surprised,” Pineda said. “They got a little confused, but I tried to (block) it out.”
Girardi and both outfielders agreed that it shouldn’t have happened.
“They both were calling,” Girardi said. “Neither one of them heard each other. Obviously it’s a play that has to be made.”
Gardner was disappointed that they couldn’t help Pineda.
“Can’t afford to make those kind of mistakes when you’re facing a guy that’s throwing the ball as well as McHugh was today,” he said. “It’s just frustrating as good as big Mike pitched. Frustrating we couldn’t play a little better and get the win for him.”
The game was tied 1-1 when Correa doubled with no outs in the seventh and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Jose Altuve. The triple by Gattis, which sailed just out of reach of center fielder Gardner and bounced off the low wall in left-center, scored Correa and put Houston on top 2-1.
The Astros added an insurance run when Preston Tucker scored on a sacrifice fly by Jason Castro in the eighth to make it 3-1.
Stephen Drew walked with one out in the third inning and reached second on a wild pitch. He scored on a single by Gardner to give New York a 1-0 lead.
McHugh retired the next 10 in a row after Gardner’s hit. The Yankees didn’t have another baserunner until a single by Alex Rodriguez with two outs in the sixth inning. But he retired Mark Teixeira to end that inning before throwing perfect seventh and eighth innings.
Teixeira grabbed a grounder hit by Gattis in the second inning, but lost his footing. He regained it by pushing his hand onto the barrel chest of first base umpire Joe West before stepping on first base for the out. Teixeira looked back at West after the play and the pair shared a laugh.
New York’s Chris Young went 0 for 3 to snap a career-long 10-game hitting streak.
Astros: RHP Scott Feldman, who had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on May 29, will throw a simulated game early next week in Houston. If that goes well he could go on a rehabilitation assignment. ... OF Colby Rasmus was out for a second straight game with a skin infection on his arm. But manager A.J. Hinch said he was doing better on Sunday and should return on Monday.
Yankees: CF Jacoby Ellsbury, out since May 19 with a sprained right knee, will be in Class A Tampa on Monday and the Yankees anticipate he will begin playing in rehab games later in the week.
The Yankees open a three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels on Monday when CC Sabathia (3-7) opposes C.J. Wilson (5-6). Sabathia looks to bounce back from his most recent start where he allowed eight hits and six runs in 4 2-3 innings. It was the second time this season that he’s pitched less than five innings.
The Astros wrap up their homestand with a three-game series against Kansas City starting on Monday when rookie Lance McCullers opposes Joe Blanton. The 21-year-old McCullers will be making his ninth major league start after not factoring in the decision in his past start when he allowed four hits and a run in six innings in a loss in Anaheim.