Yankees manager Aaron Boone said the arrival of the Astros in town the next few days would lead to “a shot-in-the-arm series.’’ For eight innings, though, that sounded like a shot-in-the-dark prediction.
But then the Yankees did what seemed impossible, brightening what has been an illuminating season. Trailing 6-3 and hitless since the first inning, they erupted for four runs in the bottom of the ninth, sending an Astros-jeering crowd of 44,071 out of their seats and then out of the Stadium believing anything is possible, reveling in a 7-6 victory Thursday night against a team they love to hate.
Aaron Hicks clubbed a three-run home run off of Ryan Pressly, who entered and promptly walked the first two batters he faced, setting up Hicks’ line drive into the right-field seats. Aaron Judge then smacked a game-winning single off reliever Ryne Stanek, continuing his magical, MVP-worthy season.
The Yankees are 52-18, the third-best start in franchise history after 70 games. It matches the third-best start after 70 games by any major league team in the past 93 years. This one might have been the most difficult, and dramatic, of them all.