The Yankees are officially down to their last licks.
A pair of three-run home runs by George Springer and Carlos Correa were the hammer blows for the Houston Astros, who defeated the Yankees 8-3 in Game 4 of the ALCS to take a 3-1 series lead on Thursday night.
The Yankees once again are forced to rue their bevy of missed opportunities as they continued to fall short in key situations.
In total, the Yankees went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position in Game 4 while leaving nine runners on base.
For the entire ALCS, the Yankees are not 4-for-26 with runners in scoring position while leaving 31 on base.
Their most egregious missed chance of the night came in the fifth inning whilst trailing 3-1. A DJ LeMahieu single and a walk by Aaron Judge ended Houston starter Zack Greinke’s night after just 4.1 innings. His replacement, Ryan Pressley, did little to ease the tension when he walked Aaron Hicks loaded the bases with one out.
He responded, however, striking out Gleyber Torres and the slumping Edwin Encarnacion in succession to end the inning.
The Astros made the Yankees pay in the next half-inning when Correa launched a three-run home run off the once-impenetrable Chad Green, who relieved starter Masahiro Tanaka of his duties with one out in the frame, to make it 6-1.
Green had not allowed a run in four appearances this postseason before Thursday night.
Tanaka wasn’t his usually-dominant self on Thursday night, especially coming off a Game 1 outing when he faced the minimum over six innings, allowing just one hit on 68 pitches.
He allowed three runs on four hits — his biggest mistake a hanging breaking ball that was crushed by Springer over the left-field wall for a three-run blast in the third.
Springer’s second home run of the ALCS canceled out a Yankees 1-0 lead that was established in the first inning as Greinke got off to a rocky start. Houston’s starter walked three batters in the first alone, including a bases-loaded pass to Brett Gardner to give the Yankees an early lead.
It could have been much worse, but Greinke struck out Gary Sanchez with the bases loaded to end the inning after walking Gardner.
The Yankees wouldn’t score again until the bottom of the sixth when Sanchez broke out of his miserable slump with a two-run home run to bring the hosts to within three.
Houston would tack one more on in the eighth, though, as some sloppy play by the Yankees defense gifted them some insurance.
After an Alex Bregman double, Yuli Gurriel reached on a LeMahieu error after a grounder ate him up. Bregman would score when the next batter, Yordan Alvarez, hit a grounder that couldn’t be handled by Torres.
Torres made another error in the ninth when he let a ground ball go under his glove, resulting in Jose Altuve getting to second. He came around to score on a Michael Brantley single.
The young infielder’s blunder was the Yankees’ fourth of the game, making it the first time since Game 2 of the 1976 ALCS that the Yankees committed that many errors in a postseason game.
The Yankees will not try and keep their season alive on Friday night, which will be no easy task seeing as Justin Verlander will be toeing the rubber for the Astros. He’ll be opposed by New York southpaw James Paxton.