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Yankees lineup listless again; down 0-2 headed back to the Bronx

HOUSTON, Texas — It’s hard to win when you can’t hit. Much like Game 1, the New York Yankees couldn’t find a big timely hit. Conversely, once again the Houston Astros beat the Bronx Bombers at their own game with the long ball and took a 2-0 lead in the ALCS with a 3-2 victory in Game 2.

While the Astros struck out 14 times, including six against Luis Severino, the Yankees were like Bo Gentry and had trouble with the curve against Framber Valdez, fanning nine times against him and 13 times total.

The pitching and defense (hello Oswald Peraza) were there for New York.  Alas, the big hiccup came for Severino in the third inning. Severino hit Martin Maldonado. Ensuing batter Jeremy Pena singled to center. Yordan Alvarez grounded into a force out. However, Alex Bregman followed by smoking a 1-2 fastball to left for a 3-0 advantage.

Fortunately, the Yankees were able to scratch out a pair of runs with some help from Valdez. Aaron Judge led off the fourth frame with a single to left. Ensuing batter Giancarlo Stanton reached on a fielder’s choice after Valdez bobbled a comebacker and proceeded to make a desperation throw, slinging the ball into right field.

With runners in scoring position, Anthony Rizzo grounded to first, plating a run. An infield single deep in the hole to short by Gleyber Torres, plated Stanton for the second run. However, Josh Donaldson and Kyle Higashioka both whiffed to kill the rally.

Alas, that was as close as the Yankees could come to cracking the Astros pitching staff. After that Torres hit, Yankee batters struck out 10 times, right down to the final out on a miserable pinch-hit at-bat whiff by Matt Carpenter to end the game.

From here, the Yankees need to stop complaining about exit velocity and defend home field with some big timely hits.