The Yankees lost to the Astros 4-3 on Monday, wasting a fine effort by Masahiro Tanaka at Minute Maid Ballpark. >> Box score
Five things to know about Monday's game...
1) Tanaka pitched a fantastic game, hurling six innings of one-run ball, allowing just three hits, two walks and three strikeouts, but came away without the win. Tanaka's lone mistake of the night was a hanging slider to Jose Altuve, and then he was able to work out of a jam in the sixth inning. The Yankees needed a strong start from Tanaka with Justin Verlander on the mound for the Astros. Tanaka endured a couple straight poor first halves in each of the last two seasons (followed by very good second halves), so his strong opening this season is very encouraging.
2) With a two-run lead, Zack Britton couldn't maintain it. Britton, who was sketchy at times when he first came over to the Yankees last season, had the excuse of getting re-acclimated to pitching after a lengthy absence due to recovering from a ruptured Achilles tendon. He is completely healthy this season, but he hasn't looked to be on top of his game.
3) Adam Ottavino, making his sixth appearance of the season, recorded the last out in the seventh inning to stop the bleeding from Britton, but the right-hander cannot be expected to be perfect every game. He looked a bit more human, allowing his first run of the season in the eighth inning. He did strike out four more batters, giving him 11 in seven innings this season.
4) Aaron Judge ripped a two-strike opposite-field home run off Verlander in the third inning, his third home run of the year coming off the bat at 103.8 mph. Judge has been cognizant of his approach with two strikes this season, having tried to abandon his leg kick in such situations throughout spring training and the first couple of games in the regular season. The leg kick is back with two strikes, but the key is Judge intentionally going the other way. With his strength, Judge will continue to produce given that approach at the plate.
5) Clint Frazier looks incredibly confident at the plate, racking up two hits against Verlander. Frazier's most impressive plate appearance was in the sixth inning when he laid off a tough pitch just outside the zone and another that barely stayed in the strike zone, then barreling up the next pitch he could handle for an RBI single. If Frazier keeps this going, it will be hard to send him back to Triple-A.
Jonathan Loaisiga (0-0, 2.25 ERA) and the Yankees face Gerrit Cole (0-2, 3.00 ERA) and the Astros in the second game of a three-game set on Tuesday at 8 p.m. at Minute Maid Park.