After getting postponed one day, the New York Yankees kicked off their 2016 season with a 5-3 loss against the Houston Astros in a rematch of the American League Wild Card game from last season.
Opening Day started Masahiro Tanaka earned a no-decision in 5.2 innings of work, giving up two earned and striking out four over his first start of the season. Tanaka looked sharp despite the bad conditions, retiring the first nine hitters he faced before allowing a double to Jose Altuve in the fourth.
The Yankees struck first in the bottom of the second when Starlin Castro doubled in his first at-bat with the Yankees, scoring Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann. Castro laced a two-out double down the left field line, scoring the two runs.
The most surprising event of the ball game was Alex Rodriguez stealing second base during the third inning. Rodriguez, who was not being held on by Astros first baseman Marwin Gonzalez, took off on a pitch in the dirt and was safe after a close throw.
Jose Altuve doubled to start off the top of the fourth, becoming the first base runner of the ballgame for Houston. After George Springer advanced Altuve to third on a single, Altuve scored on a fielders choice by Carlos Correa.
The Astros would tie up the game 2-2 in the sixth when Correa came up to the plate again and homered on a sharp line drive to right field. After a walk to Colby Rasmus, Chasen Shreve would come in to relieve Tanaka on the mound.
Reigning AL Cy Young award winner Dallas Keuchel went seven strong innings, allowing two runs on three hits while striking out five Yankees and earning his first victory of the season.
The Astros claimed the lead in the top of the eight when Jose Altuve led off the innings with a walk against Dellin Betances. Altuve would steal second, and then score when Correa hit a chopper towards the first base line that Betances went to field. Correa ran on to the grass, causing Betances to throw the ball over the head of Mark Teixeira instead of drilling Correa in the back.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi argued that Correa went out of the baseline on the grass in order to cause a bad throw, and the Yankees played the remainder of the game under protest.
After being called safe at first, Correa attempted to steal second, and was initially ruled out by the second base umpire. Astros manager A.J. Hinch challenged the call, and the ruling was overturned, leaving Correa safe at second base. After a Colby Rasmus walk, Luis Valbuena would hit Dellin Betances’ 3-2 two out pitch into the right center gap, scoring both Correa and Rasmus and extending the Astros lead to 5-2.
The Yankees would immediately answer back, with Didi Gregorius launching his first home run of the season off of newly acquired flamethrower Ken Giles. The solo shot made the score 5-3 in favor of the ‘Stros.
Closer Luke Gregorson would secure the 5-3 victory by setting down the Yankees in order in the bottom of the ninth. The Yankees and Astros meet again tomorrow, April 6, when Michael Pineda and Collin McHugh square off at 7:05pm.