Rapid Reaction: Astros 5, Yankees 2

August, 20, 2014
8/20/14
10:41
PM ET


NEW YORK -- The Yankees are on the verge of being swept by the Houston Astros. In a season filled with some lows, a loss Thursday could be the lowest.

Wild chances: The Yankees have fallen five games behind the Detroit Tigers for the second wild card.

Seventh-inning stench: In the seventh, David Huff and Esmil Rogers combined to give up four runs in relief of Michael Pineda to relinquish a one-run lead. After Pineda walked a batter to start the seventh, Huff got an out and gave up a hit.

Manager Joe Girardi decided to go with Rogers against the No. 8 batter, Matt Dominguez.

Rogers came in and gave up singles to Dominguez, No. 9 hitter Jake Marisnick, Robbie Grossman and Jose Altuve. The Yankees were down 5-2, or, in other words, were done for the night.

Prime time for Pine time: Before the bullpen's seventh-inning implosion, Pineda walked off the mound to a nice ovation. In his first start at Yankee Stadium in 126 days, Pineda went six innings and allowed two runs on four hits. He struck out three and walked one.

The second run he let up was more Huff's and Rogers' fault. Pineda just walked Jason Castro before coming out.

So Pineda has now looked good in back-to-back starts since his return from the DL.

What does RISP mean?: For the Yankees, it usually means runners in stranding position. In the first, second, seventh and ninth, it happened again.

In the first, against Scott Feldman -- and his 4.45 ERA -- Derek Jeter and Jacoby Ellsbury picked up back-to-back, one-out singles to set up the Yankees. They would move to second and third on a double steal but would go no further as Mark Teixeira struck out and Brian McCann popped out.

In the second, Ichiro Suzuki's two-out double put runners on second and third again. However, Brett Gardner grounded out to end the inning.

Down three in bottom of the seventh, the Yankees put runners on second and third for Ellsbury. Against lefty Kevin Chapman, Ellsbury smacked two foul balls that were nearly doubles before striking out.

In the ninth, for good measure, Gardner and Jeter reached against Jose Veras to give Ellsbury another chance. Ellsbury, the tying run, popped out to right to end the game.

Drew, you got what I need: The punchless Yankees tied it in the bottom of the fourth on Stephen Drew's solo shot, his first homer as a Yankee. That was the good news.

The bad news was Chase Headley was thrown out trying to steal on the pitch preceding the homer.

The Bronx Bunters: In the fifth with the game tied, Ichiro singled, stole a base and moved to third on a groundout with two outs. Ellsbury bunted for a two-out base hit to bring home Ichiro.

Gardy leaves the yardy: In the ninth, Gardner made a nice catch, falling over the cement barrier and into the stands along the left-field foul line.

On deck: The Yankees finish up with the Astros at 1:05 p.m. Thursday, as Brandon McCarthy (4-2, 2.30 ERA) faces Dallas Keuchel (10-8, 3.11).
Andrew Marchand is a senior writer for ESPNNewYork. He also regularly contributes to SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, ESPNews, ESPN New York 98.7 FM and ESPN Radio. He joined ESPN in 2007 after nine years at the New York Post. Follow Andrew on Twitter »

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Masahiro Tanaka
WINS ERA SO IP
13 2.77 141 136
OTHER LEADERS
BAJ. Ellsbury .271
HRB. McCann 23
RBIB. McCann 75
RB. Gardner 87
OPSB. Gardner .749
ERAH. Kuroda 3.71
SOH. Kuroda 146