The New York Yankees overcame a 4-0 deficit in the final three innings of Game 4 of the ALCS to defeat the Houston Astros 6-4 on Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium to even the series at two games apiece.
Gary Sanchez came up with a two-run double in the bottom of the eighth off Astros closer Ken Giles to put the Yankees in the lead for good, capping off a four-run inning.
Two batters earlier, Aaron Judge had tied the game with a run-scoring double of his own as he continues to work out of his postseason slump on a night he also launched a solo home run to start the Yankees’ rally.
His double officially dug New York out of a hole that it fell into during the sixth inning when Yuli Gurriel smacked a three-run double to break open a pitcher’s duel between Sonny Gray and Houston’s Lance McCullers Jr.
Gray had been the odd man out of the Yankees playoff rotation, not making a start since Game 1 of the ALDS against the Cleveland Indians where he allowed three runs and walked four in 3.1 innings.
McCullers had been used sparingly as a reliever during the postseason after a difficult second half that was brought about by back problems.
In the first half of the season, he was one of the best pitchers in baseball, posting a 7-1 record and 2.69 ERA.
He regained that first-half form on Tuesday night as his arsenal was on point.
With the Yankees attacking McCullers’ offerings early and often, the Houston pitcher’s ability to keep the ball down in the zone ensured that New York batters couldn’t get a good piece of it.
It kept his pitch count low as he didn’t throw more than 17 pitches in a single inning through the first six, allowing just one hit.
Gray was just as solid, allowing one hit of his own, but he ran into trouble in the sixth when he gave up a lead-off walk to George Springer and Josh Reddick was awarded first base after being interfered with by catcher Austin Romine.
After throwing one ball to Jose Altuve, manager Joe Girardi pulled Gray for David Robertson, who proceeded to walk the Houston star.
Robertson struck out Carlos Correa but gave up the game-changing double to give Houston the lead.
The Astros added one more in the seventh after Starlin Castro slipped while fielding Brian McCann’s grounder, allowing Marwin Gonzalez to score from second base after he ripped a double to right-center.
Judge finally got to McCullers in the seventh, launching a lead-off solo home run to put the Yankees on the board. That was the only blemish on McCullers’ night as he was pulled immediately after by A.J. Hinch.
In came Chris Devenski, who was greeted by a triple from Didi Gregorius. He scored on Gary Sanchez’s sacrifice fly to make it a 4-2 game.
The Yankees kept pressing into the eighth against Joe Musgrove when a lead-off single by Todd Frazier was followed by a double from Chase Headley to put runners on second and third with nobody out.
A grounder to second by Brett Gardner scored Frazier to pull New York within one before Judge’s double tied things up.
While it might not have been feasible a few nights ago, the Yankees are heading into Game 5 with a chance to an ALCS lead in what will be the final game in the Bronx this series.