The term "walk-off" has never been a big favorite with me but there ought to be some similar buzzword for when the defense comes up with the magic touch on the game's final play. Maybe, in deference to the coinage of the expression, we will call Jake Marisnick's ninth-inning beauty that shot down the Brinks Bombers, 3-2, Thursday night for the final out a "Yank Off".
McCann: Tags out Ellsbury
(c) USA Today
Dallas Keuchel tossed six gutty innings of five-hit ball, striking out nine and running up his pitch count to almost 100. The Bearded One gave up one unearned run during that time. It was a strange situation in the fifth where Yuri Gurriel dropped a throw to first that allowed Chase Headley to reach base where he eventually scored as catcher's interfence was charged against Brian McCann. Keuchel came back and struck out the side in the sixth after first giving up a pair of singles that put a Yankee on third with no outs.
The Houston offense got started early. Josh Reddick doubled against Michael Pineda then Carlos Correa jumped on a 2-0 pitch and slammed it into the seats in right-center. The Astros made it 3-0 when George Springer singled over second to plate Nori Aoki in the fifth.
Chris Devenski flipped two innings of hitless relief before Ken Giles entered for the ninth. Jacoby Ellsbury dumped a two-out single to short left which pushed Aaron Hicks to third. Ellsbury then swiped second to put two runners in scoring position.
On the next pitch, Gary Sanchez spanked a single to left which scored Hicks easily as Marisnick, a defensive replacement for Aoki, tapped his glove and readied for a throw to the plate, Marisnick fielded the ball cleanly, came up and fired to the plate. The ball arrived to McCann roughly two steps before the veteran Ellsbury did and McCann dived to tag the evading runner just before he could slap the plate with his hand. Back in the outfield, Marisnick and his teammates celebrated the "Yank Off" victory.
This was the Astros' fourth straight win and pushed them, at 24-11, a full game ahead of the 22-11 Baltimore Orioles for the best record in the American League. The Yanks are 1-1/2 games behind at 21-11.
Lance McCullers (2-1) will try to sustain the momentum when he takes on the Bombers for Houston Friday night at 6:05 Central time. Jordan Montgomery (2-1) will start for New York.
- Bob Hulsey