BRONX, NY (Sportsradio 610) – The New York Yankees scored six runs in their final two turns at-bat to rally from a 4-0 deficit to even up the American League Championship Series at 2-2 with a 6-4 victory in Game 4 at Yankee Stadium Tuesday night.
Lance McCullers had a brilliant start for Houston as he returned to his All-Star form after dealing with a variety of arm ailments. McCullers, had not made a start for the Astros since the final regular season series against the Red Sox when he took the loss pitching just 4.1 innings at Fenway Park allowing 5 earned, held the Yankees to just a single run in his 6+ innings of work with only two hits allowed.
“He was awesome,” Astros skipper AJ Hinch said after the game about his starter’s outing. “Really proud of him because I know how important this start was for him.”
Hinch alluded to McCuller’s health struggles over the second half of the season and said McCullers outing included a lot of “heart”
The McCullers gem was wasted as the Yankees found their offense when facing the Astros bullpen.
The Yankees rally began in the seventh as Yankee slugger Aaston Judge blasted the first offering from McCullers into Monument Park in center field for the first Yankee run and just second Yankee hit. Astros skipper AJ Hinch would head to the pen and threw Chris Devenski into the fray.
Yankee shortstop Didi Gregorius hit a triple to the gap in right center field and designated hitter Gary Sanchez hit a sacrifice fly to deep right field with plenty of distance to cut the Yankee deficit in half at 4-2.
In the eighth Astros closer Ken Giles replaced Joe Musgrove after he allowed singles to Todd Frazier and pinch hitter Chase Headley. After Judge plated the tying run on a double to left, Gary Sanchez, who had been hitless in the LCS, put the Yankees on top with a double into the gap in left center scoring Judge and Didi Gregorius to put New York up 6-4.
” I never thought about that I was 0-18 or didn’t put any pressure on myself regarding that,” Sanchez said. “I just kept working hard with my coaches. I kept doing my job. I got my first hit tonight, and I’m hoping that they will keep on coming to me tomorrow.”
The Astros were the team that looked to have the offense going as they got on the board first in the sixth inning. George Springer walked to lead off and Josh Reddick reached on catcher’s interference to get the first two Astro hitters aboard. Sonny Gray would throw just one more pitch to Jose Altuve before being lifted for reliever David Robertson.
Altuve would draw a walk from Robertson to load the bases with nobody out. After a Carlos Correa strikeout, Yuli Gurriel smacked a double down the left field line to empty the bases to give the Astros a 3-0 lead.
Dallas Keuchel (1-0) will get the ball on Wednesday in an attempt to send the series back to Houston with the Astros up 3-2. The Yankees will counter with their Game One Masahiro Tanaka.
Alex Del Barrio covers the Houston Texans for Sportsradio610.com and is the color commentator for the Houston Dynamo. He also hosts “ADB and Murph” with Matt Murphy which can be heard on Saturday afternoons 4-7 pm Follow Alex Del Barrio on Twitter: @alexdelbarrio