Severino, Yanks' bats struggle in loss to Astros

Severino, Yanks' bats struggle in loss to Astros

HOUSTON -- Marwin Gonzalez tagged Yankees starter Luis Severino with a two-run homer in the second to ignite the Astros as Houston cruised, 8-1, on Sunday at Minute Maid Park to clinch its 19th series win in 2017.

"We're going to play every game," said Astros manager A.J. Hinch. "We're going to play hard, we're going to win a lot of games and a lot of series. What order they come in doesn't matter to me. I just want to win."

The Astros' 27th win in 45 home games this season saw Mike Fiers become the first starting pitcher since 1913 to throw 100 or more pitches and four innings or fewer without allowing a run. At 56-27, the Astros are 29 games over .500 for the first time since holding a 91-62 record on Sept. 27 of the 2001 season.

"This is a special group of guys," Hinch said. "But they're not satisfied. They have so many elite qualities about themselves as a group."

"We're talented, we're hungry and we want to be great," said Astros catcher Brian McCann. "We show up with that attitude on a daily basis. Besides that, we've got some guys that can flat out play the game of baseball."

Add in five innings from Houston's workhorse bullpen, and a season-high seven doubles from the offense, and it was enough to handle the Yankees, who finished their seven-game road trip at 3-4. Severino allowed six runs over 5 1/3 innings.

"It's difficult. Right now, it's the hottest team in baseball," Severino said. "You have to command your pitches. I think that was the problem."

Carlos Correa sparked the Astros with four hits, including two doubles, to extend his season-best hitting streak to 12 games and career-long on-base streak to 20 games. Correa, who drove in three runs, has 58 RBIs to lead all Astros and all American League shortstops. Correa had four hits Sunday, which tied his career high, and three two-outs RBIs.

"He's gotten really good at being productive and driving in runs," Hinch said, "and having big at-bats in big moments."

Correa and Yuli Gurriel, who also hit a two-run homer and finished a triple shy of the cycle, combined to drive in five runs.

Gurriel's two-run home run

Chris Carter's ninth-inning RBI single off Ashur Tolliver helped the Yankees avoid being shut out for the first time this season.

"Nobody is as disappointed in the way the last few weeks have gone than the guys in this room," Brett Gardner said. "That being said, we're only a couple of games out of first place. We have had a good first half. We just couldn't seem to come through with the big hit."

Carter's RBI single

Win-sealing second: Beginning with a double by Carlos Beltran, the Astros knocked in either a double or a home run in five of eight at-bats in the second inning against Luis Severino, building a 3-0 lead. After Beltran's wall-smashing double in left field, switch-hitting utilityman Gonzalez cracked an opposite-field, two-run homer to left. Gurriel followed with another double, as did Josh Reddick two at-bats later.

"His slider was not sharp today, and I think that really hurt him," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "It's a pitch that's really important against a right-handed club."

Reddick's RBI double

In the Play Index era (1913-Saturday), there have been 305 instances of a pitcher throwing 100-plus pitches in four innings or fewer. Fiers' became the first pitcher ever to do so without allowing a run.

With Sunday's barrage of extra-base hits, the Astros have knocked at least one double in 40 consecutive games, extending the franchise record. The 40-game streak is the longest in MLB since the Pirates had a 44-game streak in 2008.

Yankees: The Yankees will return home on Monday to open a three-game series with the Blue Jays at 7:05 p.m. ET, with Masahiro Tanaka (6-7, 5.56) trying to continue his recent run of better pitching performances. In his last four starts, Tanaka is 1-1 with a 2.92 ERA, striking out 32 in 24 2/3 innings while holding opponents to a .674 OPS.

Astros: The Astros will fly to Atlanta on Sunday before a scheduled day off on Monday. Houston will begin a two-game set against the Braves on Tuesday, beginning at 6:35 p.m. CT at SunTrust Park in Atlanta. Brad Peacock is scheduled to make his eighth start this season after allowing one run on two hits in five innings vs. Oakland on June 29.

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Christian Boutwell is a reporter for based in Houston.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.