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Matijevic’s 9th-inning single lifts Astros over Yankees 3-2

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Houston Astros pinch hitter J.J. Matijevic, second from left, celebrates with Justin Verlander after hitting a walkoff single during the ninth inning in the first game of a baseball doubleheader against the New York Yankees, Thursday, July 21, 2022, in Houston.
AP Photo/Kevin M. Cox

HOUSTON (AP) — Rookie J.J. Matijevic’s pinch-hit RBI single with two outs in the ninth inning lifted the Houston Astros to a 3-2 win over the New York Yankees on Thursday in the opener of a day-night doubleheader between the American League’s top teams.

Alex Bregman led off the Houston ninth with a single against Michael King (6-3). Bregman advanced to third on Aledmys Díaz’s double. After Yuli Gurriel struck out, pinch-hitter Yordan Alvarez was walked intentionally to load the bases.

King looked as if he might be able to escape the jam after he struck out Chas McCormick, but Matijevic drove in Bregman with an infield single to shortstop.

The doubleheader between the major league-leading Yankees and the Astros is to help make up a series that was postponed because of the lockout. Houston won the first game of the series on June 30.

The Astros carried a 2-1 lead into the ninth. But Aaron Hicks singled against Héctor Neris (3-3) and scored on Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s two-out single, a grounder that rolled just past shortstop Jeremy Peña and into left field for the tying hit.

DJ LeMahieu hit a solo homer in the fifth, but the Yankees were just 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position.

Houston jumped in front by scoring in each of the first two innings against Jordan Montgomery.

Jose Altuve and Peña opened Houston’s first with back-to-back bunt singles. Bregman drove in Altuve with a one-out single to center.

Mauricio Dubón walked and scored on rookie Korey Lee’s double in the second.

The Yankees loaded the bases with no outs in the third, but Cristian Javier escaped the jam with some help from his defense. Matt Carpenter lined to Gurriel at first, and he completed a double play by beating Aaron Judge back to first. Gleyber Torres then flied out, ending the inning.

Montgomery tied a season high with eight strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings. He allowed seven hits and walked one.

For more coverage of the New York Yankees, head to amNY.com.

Javier tied a season high by issuing four walks while allowing one run and two hits in five innings. It was Javier’s first start against the Yankees since he pitched seven innings in a combined no-hitter at New York on June 25. Neris and Ryan Pressly finished the historic gem.

It was just the third doubleheader for the domed Minute Maid Park, which opened in 2000.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Astros: Alvarez was reinstated from the 10-day injured list before Thursday’s games. OF Jose Siri was optioned to Triple-A Sugar Land. … Pressly was not with the team after going on the paternity list following the birth of a daughter Wednesday. LHP Parker Mushinski was reinstated from the 15-day IL.

UP NEXT

New York’s Domingo Germán will make his season debut after sitting out with a shoulder injury in Game 2 of the doubleheader against Luis Garcia (7-3, 3.65 ERA).

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