Aaron Judge homered for the second time in as many games and the visiting New York Yankees rode an exceptional relief effort from rookie Jhony Brito into a 5-4 win over the Houston Astros on Saturday.
After slugging a home run on the first pitch of the fifth inning in the series opener, Judge drilled a first-pitch slider from Astros rookie right-hander Hunter Brown (10-10) out to right-center field leading off the top of the third. Judge provided the Yankees (67-69) a 3-2 lead with his 31st home run of the season, but the Astros (77-60) fashioned a response.
Michael Brantley, making his first home start in 14 months following right shoulder surgery, pulled the Astros even with a two-run home run to right in the bottom of the second off Yankees right-hander Luis Severino. After Judge helped the Yankees reclaim the lead, the Astros produced another two-run home run, this one from rookie catcher Yainer Diaz in the fourth.
Diaz also struck against Severino and became the seventh rookie in franchise history to reach the 20-homer plateau with his opposite-field shot to right. However, a defensive miscue opened the door for the Yankees to secure their third and final lead in the top of the fifth.
Judge worked a leadoff walk against Brown and advanced to third when Astros second baseman Mauricio Dubon booted a grounder off the bat of Jasson Dominguez. Brown departed and ceded the mound to reliever Phil Maton, who struck out Giancarlo Stanton but walked Anthony Volpe to load the bases. Maton then allowed a sacrifice fly to Austin Wells and an RBI single to Everson Pereira that plated Dominguez with the go-ahead run.
Dominguez, Volpe, Wells and Pereira all are rookies.
Brito (6-6) entered in the fifth after the Astros stressed Severino for 104 pitches over four innings. Brito completed one trip through the Astros' lineup and allowed only one hit, a leadoff single to Kyle Tucker in the sixth negated by a Jose Abreu double play. When Dubon opened the eighth with a single, Brito induced Alex Bregman to hit into a double play.
Brito allowed two hits over 3 2/3 scoreless innings and improved to 3-0 as a reliever. Clay Holmes recorded his 17th save with a scoreless ninth inning.
—Field Level Media