HOUSTON (AP) — Aaron Judge homered for the second consecutive game and the New York Yankees got a big effort from their bullpen Saturday night in a 5-4 victory over the Houston Astros.
Michael Brantley hit his first home run since June 2022 for the Astros, who fell a game behind first-place Seattle in the AL West. The Mariners beat the New York Mets 8-7.
Brantley had a two-run shot in the second inning and scored on Yainer Diaz’s two-run homer in the fourth.
After starter Luis Severino lasted only four innings, three New York relievers combined to throw shutout ball the rest of the way. Severino needed 104 pitches to get 12 outs as the Astros fouled off 41 of his pitches, but he left with a 5-4 lead.
“I haven’t seen something like this in my whole career,” Severino said. “They made me work really hard.”
Jhony Brito, Wandy Peralta and Clay Holmes posted zeros the rest of the night.
Brito (6-6), a rookie who has a 1.27 ERA out of the bullpen this season, started the fifth and faced the minimum over 3 2/3 innings, inducing a pair of double plays. Peralta took over with two outs in the eighth and plunked Yordan Alvarez with his third pitch, only to keep the Astros off the board by getting Kyle Tucker to fly out one pitch later.
"(Brito’s) sinker I thought was really good tonight and then mixing in other stuff,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “He was on the attack. He was in the zone. He was dictating counts. He was efficient. He goes back out there for the eighth and gives up the leadoff single and then puts the next guy on the ground for a huge double play.”
Holmes allowed a two-out infield single in the ninth, but froze pinch-hitter Jon Singleton with a 1-2 sinker to lock down his 17th save.
New York grabbed the lead in the second, when Oswaldo Cabrera followed Oswald Peraza’s RBI single with a bases-loaded walk. Houston answered in the bottom half when Brantley, playing his first home game since June 22, 2022, hit a two-run homer to right field.
Brantley returned recently from a shoulder injury.
“He’s the same old vintage Brantley,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “He worked hard to get to this point. He went down and didn’t rush his rehab assignment, and he’s going to be a key factor down the stretch.”
The Astros could not score again in the second despite making Severino throw 39 pitches in the inning. New York regained the lead when Judge hammered a first-pitch slider from Hunter Brown to right-center for his 31st homer this season in only 82 games.
It came one night after Judge became the fastest player in major league history to reach 250 career home runs.
“He’s just a great, great player,” Boone said. “He’s just so consistent in his approach, and who he is, and how he plays the game.”
Houston took its first lead on Diaz’s homer, the 20th of his rookie season, in the fourth. But the Yankees took advantage of second baseman Mauricio Dubón’s error and scored two unearned runs on Austin Wells’ sacrifice fly and Everson Pereira’s two-out RBI single.
Peraza finished with three hits, his first multi-hit game of the season.
Brown (10-10) allowed five runs, three earned, over four-plus innings to go with four walks and five strikeouts.
“I feel like they spit on some good pitches, and the uncompetitive ones, I obviously didn’t have a chance to get a swing or a positive result,” Brown said.
Brantley had two hits and scored twice. Five Astros relievers combined for five scoreless innings.
Yankees: 2B Gleyber Torres missed his second consecutive game with lower back tightness, but Boone said Torres was doing better and he hoped to have him back Sunday.
Astros: 2B Jose Altuve did not play after fouling a ball off his left shin in the first inning Friday. Before the game, Baker said Altuve wasn’t “walking or running too good."
New York RHP Michael King (3-5, 2.96 ERA) opposes RHP Cristian Javier (9-2, 4.66) when the series concludes Sunday night.
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