Give me more of this rivalry
The Yankees (currently eight games back in the division and 4 1/2 games out of the second wildcard spot) look like long shots to make it to the playoffs. But every baseball fan should make sure they catch fire in the second half and reach the postseason, because a New York-Houston playoff series would be electric.
This weekend marked the Yankees’ first trip to Houston since the Astros were played out as cheaters, and the visitors got ready for revenge. The Astros were eliminated in the first two games of the series, including a dominant 129-pitch complete game by Gerrit Cole on Saturday.
The lone run in that 1-0 win in New York came on a home run by Aaron Judge. As Judge rounded third base, he pulled on his jersey in an obvious reference to José Altuve begging teammates not to take his jersey off after his ALCS clinching walk-off homer in 2019.
Altuve’s tugboat became the subject of bizarre theories after the Astros’ deception came to light in 2019. to pass signs and that Altuve didn’t want his shirt ripped off and the buzzer exposed. Altuve said he was just trying to hide an unfinished tattoo.
ESPN’s Marly Rivera asked Judge after the game if his gesture was “a little message to the opposing dugout” and Judge hilariously sidestepped the question.
“If they keep the roof closed here, it’s pretty cold,” Judge said. “So, it’s just to let my team know that they need to button up a little bit.”
The Astros noticed. After Martín Maldonado hit a homerun in the third inning on Sunday, he pulled his collar down as if to say: “Look, no buzzer here.”
‘It was a bit hot’ Maldonado said after the game. “I’m trying to get some air into my shirt.”
However, Gary Sánchez got some payback in the eighth, with a three-run clutch that extended the Yankees’ lead to five. He did the same to the jersey and when he got to the dugout, Rougned Odor was waiting for him with a jacket. You know, because it gets cold there.
(Why the Yankees’ equipment crew packed up jackets for a trip to Houston in July is a mystery to be explored at a later date.)
But it was Altuve and the Astros who had the last laugh, with a six-run burst in the bottom of the ninth, capped by Altuve’s three-run walk-off homer off Chad Green.
As Altuve approached home plate, Maldonado began gesturing to Altuve to throw the jersey away. Then Maldonado and a few other Astros tore the jersey off him.
The sight of a shirtless Altuve celebrating a dramatic victory after being the target of so much nonsense was unbelievable. But these teams won’t be playing again this season, so fans will just have to hope for a playoff matchup when the stakes will be even higher.
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Richard Branson did the space thing
a good song
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