NEW YORK (AP) Yainer Diaz hit a three-run homer in the first inning off a struggling Luis Severino, Yordan Alvarez homered in the fifth to knock out the right-hander and the Houston Astros beat the New York Yankees 7-3 on Friday night.
Rookie Hunter Brown (8-7) won consecutive starts for the first time since April, allowing two runs and five hits in six innings. Brown struck out four, walked one and got eight groundouts - three on the first pitch.
Kyle Tucker added a two-out two-run RBI double in the sixth and stole two bases. Alex Bregman had the other RBI for the Astros when he was hit in the back by Severino’s fastball with the bases loaded in the second.
“That’s a big win for us,” Houston manager Dusty Baker said.
Including last year’s sweep in the ALCS, the Astros are 10-3 against the Yankees since the start of last season. Houston also improved to 13-7 since the All-Star break and 7-4 in a stretch of playing eight of nine series against opponents with winning records.
“We feel good about it,” Brown said. “We like what we bring to the table and we’re ready to compete in every sense that we can.”
Jake Bauers and Isiah Kiner-Falefa homered off Brown for the Yankees, who were coming off a 4-3 win in the series opener and a 7-2 victory over Tampa Bay. Giancarlo Stanton homered for the third straight game in the eighth.
Aaron Judge was held out of the starting lineup for the second time since returning from a toe injury last week. The slugger struck out with two on as a pinch hitter in the seventh against Hector Neris.
Severino (2-6) allowed five runs and five hits in four-plus innings. He saw his ERA climb from 7.49 to 7.74 and lost his fourth straight decision.
“It’s difficult. It’s no fun when you’re going through that and you’re scuffling especially when you’ve been as good a pitcher as he’s been,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.
He also saw his ERA in the first inning climb to 13.85, the most among pitchers with at least 10 starts.
After allowing Alvarez’s homer, Severino was booed off the mound. He sat down at the end of the dugout and a few teammates and coaches walked over to console him.
Diaz matched the Houston rookie record for homers by a catcher when he lined his 14th homer to right field. He tied the mark set by Mitch Meluskey in 2000.
“We’ll take all he has and we got two months to go, so I’m sure he’s going to hit another one before the season’s over with,” Baker said.
“I’m very grateful that a lot of the work I’m doing is being reflected on the field,” Diaz said through a translator about matching the record.
Severino started the second with consecutive walks to Chas McCormick and Jeremy Peña. After Jose Altuve singled, Severino plunked Bregman.
Bauers hit a drive that banked off the left field foul pole in the third but Alvarez homered into the Houston bullpen in left-center for a 5-1 lead.
Center fielder Jake Meyers made a sliding catch along the warning track in left-center when he snagged a fly ball by Billy McKinney with two on to end the first. According to Statcast,
Meyers covered 93 feet to make the play.
“I initially thought it was going to be a home run and then I looked back and Jake made an unbelievable catch,” Brown said. “Honestly, it kept the momentum with us.”
As he finished the play, Meyers’ knee hit the wall and he was limping slightly but he said he was fine.
“You got to risk it to get the biscuit is what I call it,” Meyers said with a laugh. “It’s a lot of fun and I enjoy doing that.
Yankees: RHP Jonathan Loáisiga (right elbow inflammation) allowed two runs and four hits on 21 pitches in his third rehab appearance for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He will have the weekend off and could be activated next week for a series in Chicago against the White Sox.
RHP Justin Verlander (6-5, 3.15 ERA) is set to start for Houston on Saturday in his first appearance for Houston since rejoining the Astros on Tuesday in a deal with the Mets. Verlander will oppose New York LHP Nestor Cortes (5-2, 5.16).
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