The Yankees were unable to complete a late ninth inning rally on Thursday in a 3-2 loss to the Astros in the first game of a four-game series at Yankee Stadium. >> Box score
Gary Sanchez's two-out RBI single plated Aaron Hicks to trim New York's deficit to 3-2, but Jacoby Ellsbury was thrown out at home to end the game.
Sanchez was responsbile for the only RBI of the night for the Yankees, who went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
Michael Pineda allowed three runs on six hits in six and 2/3 innings for the Yankees. He threw 98 pitches and struck out seven batters.
Going up against Keuchel, the Yankees likely knew they needed to get close to a perfect outing from Pineda and timely hits from the offense. The timely hit came at the very end of the game, but resulted in the potential tying run being cut off at the plate.
Pineda was good, but not good enough to match Keuchel. However, the Yankees' starter could have fared better but for a botched play by Ellsbury and Didi Gregorius. Ellsbury's failure to call off Gregorius on a ball the shortstop had no business going that deep into the outfield for allowed a base runner. Pineda's inability to work around Correa and poor location on a fastball that ended up in the seats was the lone mistake.
Keuchel is a premier pitcher and he's owned the Yankees his entire career, however the Yanks didn't seem to have a good game plan against him. The Yankees' offense was not patient enough with Keuchel early on and then when they began to receive chances in the middle innings, they could not get the big hit until the final frame. The Yankees struck out 14 times, went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and stranded nine batters. It's hard to win games that way.
The Yankees and Astros will continue their series on Friday at 7:05 p.m. at Yankee Stadium.
RHP Lance McCullers, Jr. (2-1, 3.40 ERA) will start for Houston, while LHP Jordan Montgomery (2-1, 3.81 ERA) will start for the Yankees.