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Yankees’ Josh Donaldson has another rough night offensively

HOUSTON — Josh Donaldson recorded his first extra-base hit of these playoffs on Thursday.

The remainder of his night looked more like the rest of his postseason.

Besides a double in his first at-bat, Donaldson had another tough night, striking out twice and walking in the ninth inning of the Yankees’ 3-2 loss to the Astros in Game 2 of the ALCS at Minute Maid Park.

In seven playoff games, Donaldson is now batting 5-for-22 with six walks and 11 strikeouts. Two of those hits came in Game 1 of the ALDS, but it has mostly been downhill since then for the veteran third baseman, including striking out multiple times in five straight games.

Donaldson was coming off a rough Game 1 of the ALCS in which he went 0-for-3 with a walk and three strikeouts and left four men on base. The 36-year-old was bumped down a spot in the lineup to batting sixth on Thursday for the first time since Game 1 of the ALDS.

Josh Donaldson strikes out in the fourth inning of the Yankees' 3-2 loss in Game 2 of the ALCS.
Josh Donaldson strikes out in the fourth inning of the Yankees’ 3-2 loss in Game 2 of the ALCS.
N.Y. Post: Charles Wenzelberg

“I think teams have challenged him in different ways,’’ manager Aaron Boone said before the game. “Teams have gone after him hard and other teams have spun [breaking balls] on him. All year, he’s been in-between, looking offspeed or heater. That said, he’s played so well at third. I feel he’s got a chance to impact us and we need him to.”

Donaldson, whom the Yankees acquired in spring training while taking on the two years and $50 million left on his contract, has provided quality defense at the hot corner but a largely unproductive bat. He struggled to find any kind of consistency during the regular season, and though a hot stretch in September offered hope that Donaldson was finding his groove at the right time, he has not been able to carry it over into the postseason.

Game 2 got off to an encouraging start for Donaldson in his first at-bat when he lined a double to right field off Astros lefty Framber Valdez.

But Valdez came back to get Donaldson whiffing at a curveball in the strike zone in the fourth inning with one out and a runner on first after the Yankees had just pulled within 3-2.

Then, in the seventh, Valdez struck out Donaldson again, chasing a curveball in the dirt.

In the ninth, Donaldson worked a full count against closer Ryan Pressly before laying off a low curveball to earn a walk. He was pinch run for at first by Tim Locastro.

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