Thursday, April 18, 2024
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Yankees sweep Astros: New York opens season 4-0 for first time since 2003 thanks to Juan Soto’s strong start

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USATSI

The New York Yankees defeated the Houston Astros on Sunday by a 4-3 final (box score), completing the Opening Weekend sweep and securing the franchise’s first 4-0 start in more than two decades. Outfielder Juan Soto delivered the pivotal hit, notching an opposite-field single in the top of the ninth-inning against former San Diego Padres teammate Josh Hader.

Soto, the Yankees’ marquee offseason addition as part of a blockbuster deal with the aforementioned Padres, had three hits on Sunday. He leaves Houston having tallied a 9 for 17 weekend with a home run, four RBI, and three walks versus two strikeouts. Aaron Judge, new addition Jon Berti, and Jose Trevino. New York’s bullpen, meanwhile, combined for 3 2/3 scoreless innings in relief of starter Clarke Schmidt

The Yankees haven’t started a season in 4-0 fashion since 2003. They won 101 games that season and advanced to the World Series, where they were defeated by the then-Florida Marlins in a six-game set. Coincidentally, those Yankees also started 4-0 on the road.

New York’s statement against the Astros to begin the season is likely all the sweeter to a clubhouse that has had its share of issues with Houston. Remember, the Yankees have lost to the Astros in three separate American League Championship Series over the last decade — 2017, 2019, and 2022 — and were one of the most vocal clubs in response to the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal that was revealed during the 2019-20 offseason.

Even without that history, the Yankees have to be pleased to take four games on the road against a potential future playoff opponent without any input from injured  ace Gerrit Cole.

The Yankees will now head to Arizona for a three-game series against the Diamondbacks. The Astros, conversely, will welcome the Toronto Blue Jays to town for a three-game set.

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