HOUSTON (AP) — Jose Altuve hit the ball a really long way. Carlos Correa did just the opposite to win the game for the Houston Astros.
Altuve homered to the train tracks above left field to get the Astros on the board, and Correa’s broken-bat RBI infield single in the eighth inning helped them rally past the New York Yankees 4-3 on Monday night for their fourth straight victory.
Aaron Judge went deep off Houston ace Justin Verlander as New York built a 3-1 lead in a matchup between AL powerhouses that met in the 2017 league championship series. Robinson Chirinos tied it with a two-run double in the seventh against Zack Britton.
The game was tied with one out in the eighth when Adam Ottavino (1-1) walked Alex Bregman before a single by Michael Brantley sent Bregman to third. Correa then shattered his bat on a grounder that dribbled up the first base line, allowing Bregman to score.
“Sometimes it’s better to hit it soft, I guess,” Astros manager AJ Hinch said with a smile.
Correa smiled and shrugged as he reached first base.
“You’ve got to take them,” he said. “This is a tough game. Sometimes you hit the ball hard right at people and sometimes that happens. That’s why we love this game so much — you never know what to expect.”
Yankees manager Aaron Boone said it was a well-executed pitch by Ottavino.
“It bounced their way on that one,” he said. “That’s baseball. That’s going to happen every now and then. Certainly frustrating, especially when you make the pitch. Credit for them for creating traffic there in that inning and making it tough on us.”
The Astros trailed by two and had runners at first and second with two outs in the seventh when Chirinos doubled off Britton. The burly 5-foot-11, 225-pound Tyler White scored from first when he slid in just ahead of the tag by catcher Gary Sanchez.
Ryan Pressly (1-0) extended his scoreless streak to 22 1/3 innings with a perfect eighth to get the win. Roberto Osuna pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his third save.
Correa and Chirinos finished with two hits apiece.
A day after hitting seven homers in a 15-3 win over the Orioles, the Yankees got a solo shot from Judge in the fifth but were shut down by Houston’s bullpen in the last three innings, snapping their three-game winning streak.
New York starter Masahiro Tanaka allowed just one earned run in his third straight start, scattering three hits over six innings.
Verlander yielded seven hits and three runs in six innings.
“We couldn’t quite break through and really break it open but we did a good job of making it real hard on (Verlander), obviously, getting him out of there with the lead,” Boone said. “I thought our plan was good. I thought guys executed. I thought guys played well. Masahiro was terrific. So, it stings a little bit when you lose a game like that.”
The Yankees loaded the bases with one out in the third on two walks and a single. Luke Voit’s single gave New York a 1-0 lead, but Verlander retired the next two batters to limit the damage.
Houston tied it in the fourth when the 5-foot-6 Altuve sent a drive 448 feet onto the train tracks above left field.
New York quickly regained the lead when Judge launched a fastball from Verlander over the short wall in right for an opposite-field homer in the fifth.
DJ LeMahieu doubled with two outs in the sixth and the Yankees padded their lead when Clint Frazier hit an RBI single off the left field wall to make it 3-1.
Yankees: Boone said left-hander CC Sabathia came out of his fourth minor league start well on Sunday and he’ll return to the rotation at some point this weekend. Sabathia is on the injured list recovering after having a stent inserted into his heart in December because of the blockage of an artery. … New York reliever Dellin Betances (shoulder) threw to hitters and is scheduled to pitch a simulated game Thursday. If that goes well, he could pitch for Class A Tampa this weekend. … Ace right-hander Luis Severino is returning to New York to have more tests on his ailing shoulder.
Former Yankees and Astros pitcher Andy Pettitte, who serves as a special adviser to New York general manager Brian Cashman, threw batting practice before the game. The 46-year-old Pettitte is the pitching coach for a Houston high school.
Yankees: Rookie RHP Jonathan Loaisiga (0-0, 2.25 ERA) is scheduled to start for New York on Tuesday night. Loaisiga allowed one hit and one run in four innings against Detroit in his last start.
Astros: RHP Gerrit Cole (0-2, 3.00) will start for Houston when the series continues Tuesday night. Cole will look for his first win this season after dropping his first two starts, capped by a 4-0 loss to Texas in which he allowed four hits and three runs in six innings.