The New York Yankees put an emphatic end to their early-season offensive malaise with a power display for the ages. After scoring just five times in their previous three contests, the Yankees belted 14 homers and plated 29 runs in their next three to gain a bit of momentum entering Monday's opener of a three-game series against the host Houston Astros.
Gary Sanchez clubbed three of New York's seven homers on Sunday as the team moved above .500 for the first time since its Opening Day win with a 15-3 drubbing of Baltimore. Clint Frazier answered belting a three-run homer in Saturday's 6-4 victory with two more blasts to cap a four-hit performance in the series finale versus the Orioles. Houston rebounded from losses in five of its previous six by scoring 15 runs en route to a sweep of Oakland. Jose Altuve, who has seven hits in his last four games, drew a four-pitch walk with the bases loaded in the ninth inning of Sunday's 9-8 win.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, ESPN, YES (New York), AT&T SportsNet-Southwest (Houston)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Yankees RH Masahiro Tanaka (1-0, 1.46 ERA) vs. Astros RH Justin Verlander (1-0, 4.09)
Tanaka allowed just one earned run and did not walk a batter in his second straight start, but the 30-year-old Japanese star departed with a no-decision despite striking out seven in 6 2/3 innings against Detroit on Tuesday. Tanaka also left without a decision in his lone outing versus Houston last year despite registering a quality start. Carlos Correa (3-for-15, two homers, five RBIs) and George Springer (4-for-12, two homers, three RBIs) have enjoyed success against Tanaka.
Signed to a two-year contract extension worth $66 million, Verlander answered a strong Opening Day start by surrendering four runs on six hits in four innings of a no-decision at Texas on Tuesday. The 2011 American League MVP and Cy Young Award recipient will look to get back on track versus New York, against which he is 7-7 with a 3.49 ERA in 20 career starts. Aaron Judge is 0-for-6 with three strikeouts versus Verlander while Sanchez is 1-for-6 with two strikeouts.
1. Houston 3B Alex Bregman is 11-for-20 during his six-game hitting streak.
2. Yankees 2B Gleyber Torres is 8-for-15 with three homers, five RBIs and six runs scored during his four-game hitting streak.
3. Springer has scored five runs during his six-game hitting streak.
PREDICTION: Astros 5, Yankees 3