Yanks hope offense stays hot in series finale vs. Astros

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Aug 5, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA;  New York Yankees second baseman Gleyber Torres (25) and right fielder Aaron Judge (99) celebrate after defeating the Houston Astros 3-1 at Yankee Stadium.
Aug 5, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees second baseman Gleyber Torres (25) and right fielder Aaron Judge (99) celebrate after defeating the Houston Astros 3-1 at Yankee Stadium.
Image: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Three wins in four games hardly qualifies as a hot streak but for the New York Yankees, it might represent some progress at the plate

New York attempts to keep getting more positive results with its offense Sunday afternoon when it hosts the Houston Astros in the finale of a four-game series


New York has scored 14 runs in its past three wins but also combined for 27 hits and struck out only 18 times in those games, a strikeout total matched in last Sunday's 9-3 loss at Baltimore

On Wednesday, the Yankees scored five runs and got five hits off Tampa Bay ace Shane McClanahan. On Thursday against Cristian Javier -- who combined on a no-hitter June 25, 2022 -- the Yankees scored three runs and got four hits


In Saturday's 3-1 win, the Yankees scored twice and got seven of their nine hits off Justin Verlander, who struck out only four. Rookie Anthony Volpe hit a sacrifice fly in the second inning and Jake Bauers hit a go-ahead homer in the fifth before Gleyber Torres added a homer in the eighth

"It's just a few games but it has been (encouraging)," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "The at-bats have been better. It's not always results in a big number or a big score but you want to feel like you're putting together good at-bats. I think the last three, four days, we've seen that and we got to continue that.

Including last year's four-game sweep in the ALCS, the Astros are 10-4 against the Yankees since the start of last season. Houston also is 11-6 in its past 17 games and attempts to avoid losing a series for the second time since the All-Star break

Houston is also hoping to produce significantly better offense than Saturday. The Astros had two hits against five pitchers and struck out 16 times -- one shy of their season high and their second-highest total against the Yankees


Jose Altuve hit his 200th homer and is hitting .375 (12-for-32) over his last eight games but Kyle Tucker, Alex Bregman and Yordan Alvarez were a combined 0-for-10 with six strikeouts

"Usually we don't strike out that much but they were dealing over there," Houston manager Dusty Baker said


Carlos Rodon (1-4, 6.29 ERA), who is off to a rocky start in the first year of his six-year contract with the Yankees, pitches after allowing at least four runs for the third time this season. Rodon followed up 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball against the Mets on July 26 by allowing four runs on four hits in four innings of a 5-2 loss to the visiting Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday

Rodon is 2-0 with a 1.55 ERA in seven career starts against the Astros, who are batting .213 in those outings and have never scored more than three runs against him. The left-hander last faced them on July 18, 2021, for the Chicago White Sox when he allowed one hit and struck out 10 in seven scoreless innings


Jose Urquidy (2-2, 5.20) will return after missing 84 games because of right shoulder discomfort and make his first start since April 30 when he allowed two runs against Philadelphia. He made that start after he allowed a combined 10 runs and 14 hits in seven innings against Toronto and Tampa Bay on April 18 and April 24

Urquidy's only career start against the Yankees was June 26, 2022, in New York when he took a no-decision. He allowed a Giancarlo Stanton homer for the only hit and the Yankees won on a game-ending, three-run homer by Aaron Judge


--Field Level Medi