HOUSTON — Here we go again.
The Yankees, fresh off their ALDS-clinching win over Cleveland in The Bronx on Tuesday night, came to the place where their last two ALCS appearances ended: Minute Maid Park.
And this series didn’t get off to a promising start for the Yankees, who dropped the opener, 4-2, on Wednesday.
Justin Verlander shut down the Yankee offense and Clarke Schmidt and Frankie Montas combined to give up three homers out of the bullpen, as the Astros pulled away for the victory.
Verlander gave up one run in six innings and struck out 11.
He went up against Jameson Taillon, who’d pitched just once since Oct. 4.
Taillon provided the Yankees pretty much what they could have hoped for, giving up just one run in 4 ⅓ innings before Schmidt took over in the fifth and got out of a jam.
But Yuli Gurriel hit a go-ahead homer to lead off the bottom of the sixth and Chas McCormick another solo shot with one out later in the inning.
Montas gave up a leadoff homer to Jeremy Pena in the seventh to make it 4-1.
Anthony Rizzo homered with two outs in the eighth off Rafael Montero to get the Yankees within two runs.
Giancarlo Stanton singled to bring up the tying run, Josh Donaldson, who walked after striking out in his first three at-bats of the night.
Houston closer Ryan Pressly entered to face Matt Carpenter, who fanned for the fourth straight time — overmatched in his first start since Aug. 8 after missing two months with a fractured left foot.
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