Disappointment filled the locker room as the Yankees summed up Sunday's 3-2 loss to the Astros in Game 2 of the ALCS, but the main objective at Minute Maid Park in Houston ultimately got accomplished.
While the Yankees had the Astros on the ropes and let the chance to go up 2-0 slip away, the two-game trip ended with the next three matchups back before the Yankee Stadium crowd in New York, starting Tuesday at 4:08 p.m. ET.
Despite the poor performance at the plate for the Yankees, whose only runs came on Aaron Judge's two-run homer in the top of the fourth inning, they brush off their six-hit evening with an opportunity to get Game 3 -- and possibly the series -- done in the Bronx.
"I always like our chances going home -- especially for three," Judge said. "It's time to roll. This is the postseason. We're going to get it done."
Judge went 1 for 4 with two RBI but missed two later chances to step up again.
In the top of the sixth inning, after DJ LeMahieu's line-drive single to center field started the frame with the Yankees on base again, Judge's fly ball died on the warning track and he just missed his second home run of the game, which would have put the Astros back down 4-2.
After his one-out walk in the top of the eighth inning, Judge returned to the plate three frames later -- which turned out to be the Yankees' last chance -- leading off the 11th by grounding out to the mound.
"It's tough," Judge said. "We had a lot of chances that game. We had them on the ropes, basically, all game and just weren't able to seal the deal. But we're confident going back home, splitting the two games here and have three in the Bronx."
"We had 'em on the ropes all game" - Aaron Judge pic.twitter.com/18jUoA5huT- Yankees Videos (@snyyankees) October 14, 2019
Outside of his home run to Judge, Astros starter Justin Verlander mowed the Yankees down, allowing two runs on five hits while striking out seven and walking two in 6.2 innings.
After Verlander exited, the Astros bullpen combined to one-hit the Yankees over the final 5.2 innings, striking out five while walking two and keeping the game tied 2-2 before Carlos Correa's leadoff solo home run in the bottom of the 11th walked off the 3-2 win.
Nothing gets easier -- the Yankees face Astros ace Gerrit Cole, whose last loss of 2019 came May 22 during the regular season before he went 2-0 in Houston's ALDS series win over the Tampa Bay Rays, allowing one run on six hits and striking out 25 while walking three over 15.2 innings -- but Judge and the Bronx Bombers are optimistic about the chanse to crack the code back in New York.
"It's tough -- a lot of people really haven't figured him out, so we'll have a good game plan going into Game 3," Judge said of Cole.