Saturday, August 13, 2022

Aaron Judge hits walk-off homer as Yankees earn series split vs. Astros despite going 16 innings without a hit

For much of Sunday afternoon, it looked like the Houston Astros would again have their way with the New York Yankees. Three Astros pitchers combined to no-hit the Yankees on Saturday, then on Sunday, righty José Urquidy held New York hitless through the first six innings. As Yogi Berra would say, it was deja vu all over again.

It wasn’t until Giancarlo Stanton clocked a solo home run with one out in the seventh inning that the Yankees got into the hit column. Including the ninth inning Friday, the Yankees went 16 full innings between hits at one point this weekend. That is tied for the longest hitless streak in baseball in the expansion era (since 1961). Here is Stanton’s blast: 

The 16 straight hitless innings ties the 1973 Athletics and 1981 Dodgers for the expansion era record. Interestingly enough, the ’73 A’s and ’81 Dodgers both won the World Series. No team in MLB history has ever been no-hit in back-to-back games, though the St. Louis Browns no-hit the White Sox on back-to-back days May 5-6, 1917. The May 6 game was the second game of a doubleheader, so there was a game between no-hitters.

The hitless nightmare for the Yankees — a combined 0-for-52 skid — was over thanks to Stanton’s blast, and one inning later, DJ LeMahieu brought a sleepy Yankee Stadium to life with a game-tying two-run home run. Then, in the bottom of the 10th, AL MVP favorite Aaron Judge sent everyone home with a walk-off three run home run (NYY 6, HOU 3 in 10 innings).

Judge has been slumping lately — he was 8 for his last 48 (.167) prior to the walk-off blast — though his season stat line is still incredible: .294/.370/.643 with an MLB-leading 28 home runs. No other player has more than 22 homers. It should be noted Yankees righty Michael King did hero’s work in the top of the 10th by getting two pop ups to escape a bases loaded, one-out jam.

The Yankees have 10 walk-off wins this season, far and away the most in baseball, and they are an incredible 22-20 when trailing at any point in a game. No other team has a winning record in games in which they trailed.

Also, the Yankees did not lead for a single inning in the four-game series with the Astros. They split the four games via two walk-off wins. Otherwise the game was tied or the Astros had the lead in every inning of the series.

The Yankees (53-20) and Astros (45-27) have the American League’s two best records by a good margin (the Red Sox have the third best record at 42-31). Houston eliminated the Yankees in the 2015 Wild Card Game, the 2017 ALCS, and the 2019 ALCS. This is very much a rivalry, but it has been fairly one-sided in October.

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