Marcus Stroman ineffective, Yankees offense falls short in 4-3 loss to Astros

Two Yankees home runs were not enough to overcome Marcus Stroman's early struggles in their 4-3 loss to the Houston Astros on Thursday night in The Bronx.

Here are the takeaways...

-Stroman had trouble getting that 1-2-3 inning and it started in the first. Yordan Alvarez took Stroman deep with two outs before a Jeremy Pena walk and Jon Singleton no-doubter that hit off the third deck in right field gave the Astros a 3-0 lead after one. Alvarez and Singleton's homers came off the bat at 116.8 and 115.4 mph, respectively.

Stroman would allow a lot of traffic on the bases after the first inning, but did a good job of not letting Houston push across any more runs. He'd give up a run on a Pena single in the fifth, but a nice heads-up play from third baseman Oswaldo Cabrera doubled the Astros shortstop off at first base after a high flyball on the pitcher's mound.

The first-year Yankee didn't have his best start, but grinding out 5.2 innings (95 pitches/59 strikes), giving up four runs on nine hits, two walks while striking out five batters.

-Anthony Volpe got the Yanks on the board in the third. After a leadoff infield single by Cabrera, the shortstop sent a 93 mph fastball from Ronel Blanco just over the right field wall. The home run had an xBA of .050 and would have been a long ball in just four parks.

-Volpe's home run was all the offense the Yankees could muster against Blanco. The right-hander threw 107 pitches, a career-high, over 5.2 innings. He gave up just the two runs on four hits, four walks while striking out five batters.

However, Aaron Judge would get to the Astros bullpen. In the eighth inning, the Captain launched a 473-foot blast to left center field to bring the Yankees within a run. The round tripper is tied for the sixth furthest home run in Yankee Stadium's history.

Judge now has six home runs in his last 15 games.

-In the ninth, Gleyber Torres led off with a single and was moved over to second on a Jon Berti - pinch-hitting for Austin Wells -- force out. Jose Trevino pinch-hit for Cabrera but flew out, which let Volpe come up representing the winning run. The young shortstop, however, struck out on nine pitches to end the game.

Volpe finished 2-for-5, Cabrera went 2-for-3. Juan Soto finished 0-for-2 with two walks.

Game MVP: Astros pitching

There wasn't one hitter or pitcher that stood out in this game, but the collective effort of Houston's pitching should be lauded. They held the Yankees, who scored 19 runs in the first two games, to just three runs (on two home runs) on six hits.

After Blanco, the combination of Bryan Abreu, Ryan Pressly and Josh Hader got the final 10 outs while giving up only one run on two hits and a walk.


What's next

The Yankees hit the road and go to Tampa for the first of three games against the Rays. First pitch is scheduled for 6:50 p.m. on Friday.

Clarke Schmidt (3-1, 3.50 ERA) will be on the mound against Taj Bradley, making his season debut.