Houston is back to .500 on the year

Yankees pull ahead late to secure series against Astros

The Astros have been outmatched by the Yankees in the first two games of the series. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

After a disappointing loss on Tuesday in the series opener, the Astros returned to the Bronx on Wednesday night to try and even the series and set up a rubber match on Thursday. Instead, the Yankees would pull ahead late to secure the series and drop the Astros back to .500 on the season.

Final Score: Yankees 6, Astros 3.

Astros' Record: 15-15, third in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jonathan Loaisiga (3-1)

Losing Pitcher: Brooks Raley (0-2)

Stanton homers again for Yankees lead before Houston responds

With rain falling in the early innings, both teams struggled to make contact with the ball at the plate, getting just one hit each in the first three innings. New York's happened to be a doozie, with Luis Garcia hitting DJ LeMaheiu with a pitch in the bottom of the third to bring Giancarlo Stanton to the plate who blasted his second home run in as many games to put the Yankees in front 2-0.

Houston responded in the top of the fourth, loading the bases on three straight singles to lead off the inning. Carlos Correa got the Astros on the board with an RBI groundout, and then they brought in two more to take a 3-2 lead on RBI doubles by Yuli Gurriel and Aledmys Diaz though an aggressive send of Carlos Correa potentially left a run off the board.

Yankees tie in the fifth, then go ahead late to secure the series

Garcia would do mostly well, with the home run the only runs he allowed. He pitched into the fifth, but with a two-out single followed by a walk, and rising pitch count, Dusty Baker would lift him in favor of Ryne Stanek. After yet another poor at-bat by the home plate umpire in this series, where there was an easy strike three to be called, Stanek would watch Stanton capitalize on the extra pitch by getting his third RBI, a double to tie the game.

The game stayed gridlocked 3-3, with the Yankees leaving the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth against Stanek. Bryan Abreu tossed a scoreless seventh, erasing a leadoff single and walk with a strikeout and double play. Brooks Raley was Houston's next reliever in the bottom of the eighth but would record no outs while allowing the go-ahead run on two singles and a walk, leaving runners on the corners for Joe Smith.

Smith hit his first batter on the first pitch he threw, loading the bases, still no outs. A sac fly and yet another RBI for Giancarlo Stanton, bringing him to four on the night, would extend New York's new lead to 6-3 before Smith could finish the frame. Houston would come up empty in the ninth, moving them to 15-15 on the year and looking to salvage one game to avoid the sweep in the finale.

Up Next: The finale of this three-game series will be an afternoon start on Thursday, with the game getting underway at 12:05 PM Central. It'll be an exciting pitching matchup, with Lance McCullers Jr. (2-1, 3.38 ERA), who was on the mound to eliminate the Yankees in the 2017 ALCS, appearing for Houston opposite of former-Astro Gerrit Cole (4-1, 1.43 ERA) now on the Yankees.

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Keep an eye on Alex Bowman this weekend. Image via: Wiki Commons.

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