Late-Inning Heroics Lead New York Yankees To Improbable Game 4 Victory (Highlights)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 17: Todd Frazier #29 of the New York Yankees celebrates after a go ahead run during the eighth inning against the Houston Astros in Game Four of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium on October 17, 2017 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

The New York Yankees score six unanswered runs in the late innings of Game 4 paving the way for a tied ALCS at two games apiece.

In a game that started out as an unbelievable pitcher’s duel between Sonny Gray and Lance McCullers Jr., the Yankees put a rally together that gave them a lead they would never relinquish as they bested the Houston Astros 6-4 tonight in the Bronx.

Despite some suspect defense in the middle innings, Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez reminded the whole world exactly why they are as heralded as they are. Both men played crucial roles in the late innings that saw the Pinstripers score six runs in two innings to pull themselves even and turn this ALCS into a three-game series.


Good Pitching Beats Good Hitting

When you consider that Sonny Gray is pitching on 12 days of rest and that Lance McCullers Jr. has not started a game in over a month, the pitching performance between both starters can only be categorized as brilliant. But it was the different approaches the hurlers took that really stood out.

McCullers only needed 17 pitches to get through the first two frames, whereas Gray took the more non-conventional route of needing 41 to get through the same amount of work. While McCullers really looked like he had it on cruise control through the first half of the ball game. Gray appeared to endure a more laborious outing. The fascinating and unpredictable result, however, was that both men were tossing one-hit shutouts through the first five frames.

Sonny’s Struggling Sixth

Despite having just allowed the one hit through five, Sonny Gray’s haphazard command and a bit of misfortune led to his demise as the Astros knocked the Vanderbilt product out of the game in the top of the sixth.

Gray started off the frame by walking George Springer on four straight pitches. The next batter Josh Reddick saw two more consecutive balls before reaching base on a catcher’s interference call against Austin Romine. Manager Joe Girardi had seen enough, and went out and grabbed his starter Gray in favor of right-hander David Robertson.

Robertson, finding himself in immediate hot water with two on and no outs for Jose Altuve, worked a long at-bat before inevitably walking Altuve to load the bases for superstar Carlos Correa with still no outs. But Robertson’s nickname isn’t “Houdini” for nothing, as the impressive righty got Correa to strike out on a breaking ball in the dirt.

Unfortunately, Robertson was not so successful with the next batter, Yuli Gurriel.

As you can hear in the clip, Yankee Stadium went near silent as the Astros struck first and struck big for three runs in this heavyweight bout of a ball game.

Sloppy Seventh

With a three-run lead but just two hits, more sloppy Yankee defense reared it’s ugly head as the Astros extended their lead in the top of the seventh.

Marwin Gonzalez started the mini-rally by recording just his third hit of the postseason, a line drive one-out double off of newly inserted Chad Green. The former Yankee Brian McCann then smacked a ground ball to second that saw Starlin Castro bobble the ball to allow Gonzalez to score from second to make it a 4-0 ball game.

When you’ve made it this far into October, you simply cannot afford to have mental miscues of this magnitude and still expect to win.

Don’t Call It A Comeback

Just when it seemed like Houston was going to cruise to a Game 4 win, Aaron Judge took McCullers off of his game by unloading on a fastball to dead center for a 437-ft solo blast that brought the score to 4-1.

Following suit, Sir Didi Gregorius laced a triple off of McCullers’ replacement Chris Devenski with still no one out in the seventh. Gary Sanchez kept the string of quality at-bats going by lofting a fly ball to right for a sacrifice fly that scored Didi from third to pull the Yankees back to within two at 4-2. Greg Bird then walked, spelling the end of the evening for Devenski.

Right-handed reliever Joe Musgrove came on in relief of Devenski and got Castro to fly out to end the threat and the frame. Regardless, the Yankees were finally into the most suspect part of the Astros’ team; their bullpen.

Late Inning Magic

While Chad Green worked a scoreless eighth, the Yankee offense got together and had themselves an inning for the ages.

Todd Frazier led off the frame with a sharp single, advancing to third on a pinch-hit double by Chase Headley. Musgrove was then pulled for the Astros closer Ken Giles, who immediately got Brett Gardner to ground out to second that scored Frazier from third to make it a one-run game.

Just when you thought the rookie campaign for Aaron Judge could not get any more impressive, the larger-than-life right fielder smoked a double to left that just missed being a home run by a matter of inches that easily plated Headley from third to tie the game at four apiece.

Keeping the line moving, Didi smacked a ground ball single just beyond the shortstop Correa and into left that moved Judge up to third. Then the series-struggling Gary Sanchez drilled a double into the right-center field gap that plated both Judge and Didi to give the Yankees their first lead of the night at 6-4.

The loud go-ahead rip spelled the end of the night for Giles, as manager A.J. Hinch came out to replace his closer with right-hander Luke Gregerson. And the former Seattle closer escaped the inning without any further damage as he got the 10th batter of the inning, Todd Frazier, to ground out to end the frame.

Aroldis Chapman came out in the ninth and shut the door on any Houston hopes of a comeback, sealing the deal on one of the most improbable and amazing playoff comebacks you will ever see.

What’s Next

Now having all the momentum in the world, the Yankees go into tomorrow’s game with their sights set on taking a 3-2 series advantage tomorrow night. New York sends Masahiro Tanaka to the mound to try and build off his quality game one start, where the righty pitched exceptionally well but received no run support in a game that the Yankees would ultimately drop. For Houston, the Yankee-killer Dallas Keuchel will toe the rubber to see if he can send his Astros back to Houston with a one-game advantage.

First pitch is scheduled for 5:08 p.m. ET tomorrow evening and can be seen on FS1 and heard on WFAN 660/101.9 FM.

After losing my eyesight as a result of a brain tumor in 1996, baseball and music ushered me back to reality and led me to who I am today. I turned my love of the game and for my New York Yankees into writing for the best company in sports: Elite Sports NY. i use my Psychology & Music degree from James Madison University to articulate my thoughts in my writing and use my vocal/piano skills to professionally play music in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.