NEW YORK — The Yankee Stadium boos held no boundaries once again during Game 3 of the American League Championship Series on Saturday night.
It began with Matt Carpenter tailed toward Josh Donaldson and then managed to fall on Aaron Judge.
The crowd’s dissatisfaction was directed toward a toothless Yankees offense that only managed three hits and did not stand a chance against Astros starting pitcher Cristian Javier and the rest of his cohorts in a 5-0 defeat in Game 3 of the ALCS on Saturday night.
It was the first time that the Yankees have been shutout in the playoffs since a 4-0 loss to the Astros in Game 7 of the 2017 ALCS.
Judge, the team’s home run king, caught flak following a sixth-inning strikeout at a low splitter by Hector Neris. By then, the Yankees’ hopes of getting back within reach vanished as the Astros built a seemingly insurmountable five-run lead.
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The Astros cashed in on their chances, including a second-inning error by Harrison Bader, and bases-loaded, no-out situation in the top of the sixth inning that ran Gerrit Cole from the game before Christian Vazquez cracked a two-run single that broke the game open.
Meanwhile, the Yankees only had four baserunners in the opening six innings and could not punch through in any of those situations.
The Yankees’ offensive shortcomings sent them toward the brink of elimination against the Astros for the third time in the last six seasons. The loss included a substandard start by Cole, but after blowing back-to-back strong outings by Jameson Taillon and Luis Severino on the road, the only hopes of a historic series turnaround lies with improvement from the team’s offense.
Nestor Cortes won’t have a bat in his hands on Sunday night.
A lead too large
After scratching across two runs in each of the first two games, the Yankees were shut out for the first time in the 2022 postseason on Saturday night.
On the off day, Aaron Boone said he felt the Yankees needed to control the strike zone and make better swing decisions after two narrow losses. After striking out 30 times in the opening two games of the series, the Yankees sliced that number to nine in Game 3, but the contact was too weak to yield results.
The Yankees only managed to hit four balls to the outfield, including the first hit of the game from Giancarlo Stanton to the warning track in right field. But Stanton was stranded in scoring position when Gleyber Torres popped up into foul territory and Carpenter shot a weak flyball to center field.
The Yankees’ three other baserunners in the opening six innings came by way of the free pass.
That lack of results Boone to force the issue in the fifth inning with the Yankees trailing 2-0 after Bader drew a leadoff walk, but he was thrown out attempting to steal second base during the next at-bat.
Saturday’s performance was the worst in a teamwide slump during the ALCS.
With three hits in Game 3, the Yankees have only combined to knock 12 hits throughout the series, compared to the Astros’ 21.
Carpenter reentered the starting lineup on Saturday, but his struggles at the plate continued as he moved to 0-for-10 with nine strikeouts before collecting his first hit in the bottom of the ninth inning. However, Carpenter is not the only struggling Yankees hitter, particularly in the series against the Astros.
Stanton, who delivered the team’s lone hit off Javier, and Bader each have three of the team’s 12 hits. The other six hits have been spread across different members of the Yankees’ lineup.
Judge, who had two home runs in the ALDS against the Guardians, is 1-for-12 in the championship series and struck out two more times on Saturday. Torres has only managed one hit in 11 at-bats with one walk and five strikeouts.