New Baby Bombers reverse Yanks' fortunes in Houston

September 3rd, 2023

HOUSTON -- The Yankees have spilled more than their share of tears within the not-so-friendly confines of Minute Maid Park over the past several years, but don’t tell that to this next generation of “Baby Bombers.”

The youngest Yankees continued to produce inside hostile territory on Saturday night, with each of the five 25-and-unders in the lineup playing contributing roles. collected his first Major League RBI and  drilled a go-ahead single, helping to power a 5-4 victory over the Astros.

“Just up and down the lineup, I think we had great at-bats,” said Aaron Judge, who hit his 31st home run in the win. “We had traffic out there all game long. These guys were working great at-bats, fouling off tough pitches and passing the baton. It’s impressive to see from such a young group, especially with only a few games in the big leagues.”

Rookie Jhony Brito tossed 3 2/3 scoreless innings out of the bullpen, while Oswald Peraza enjoyed a three-hit performance, including an RBI single off Hunter Brown that opened the scoring.

Jasson Domínguez also picked up his second big league hit, helping the Yankees win consecutive series for the first time since the end of June.

“It’s great; you’re playing against a great team in a great environment,” manager Aaron Boone said. “You see how competitive they’re being with their at-bats. Their athleticism is evident. I think it’s great experience for them.”

To Yankees starter Luis Severino, this week has provided echoes of the 2016 reset, when he was part of an up-and-coming group that promised better tomorrows.

“It feels like when [catcher] Gary Sánchez came up that year, started hitting homers, we started winning,” Severino said. “Those kids are ready to play. They’re ready to give 100 percent every day. I’m excited to see what they can do from now on.”

Presented with that comparison, Judge opined of the current crop: “I think they’re better.”

“We had some good guys coming up there in ’16 and ’17, but this group of guys that we have, they’re impressive,” Judge said. “Their demeanor, the way they carry themselves on the field, it feels like they’ve been here all year. Guys that young in a tough environment, a loud environment, they’re just out there playing some ball. It’s pretty cool to see.”

The Yanks won for just the fourth time in their past 13 games against the Astros, dating back to last June and including the postseason.

Mauricio Dubón’s fifth-inning error on a Domínguez grounder set up a decisive rally, featuring Wells’ game-tying sacrifice fly and Pereira’s RBI single to center field.

“It’s just a lot of fun to play with them and experience these types of games, these types of atmospheres,” rookie shortstop Anthony Volpe said. “The fact that everyone is performing and coming through is a testament to everyone’s hard work in the Minor Leagues, all the staff in the Minor Leagues. For everyone to come up and have an instant impact is pretty cool.”

Volpe also had the opportunity to pay homage to his shortstop hero, making a Derek Jeter-esque jump throw to retire Dubón in the fifth inning.

“Over time, it becomes just like a reaction,” Volpe said. “I just mess around in practice on that play a lot.”

Michael Brantley and Yainer Diaz each hit a two-run homer off Severino, who was forced to labor by Houston, tossing 104 pitches (75 strikes) over four innings. The Astros touched Severino for 41 foul balls, the most by any team off a pitcher this season.

“I was just trying to get a pitch they would chase. It was unbelievable,” Severino said. “I feel like [Chas] McCormick and [José] Abreu, it was like 40 pitches to just those guys. They made me work, but at least I gave my team a chance to win there.”

Brito answered the call in relief, limiting the Astros to just two hits in a stellar outing. Wandy Peralta retired a batter, and Clay Holmes notched his 17th save, pitching around an infield hit. But this game, as did Friday’s, belonged to the kids.

Judge, who memorably homered in his first big league at-bat -- as Domínguez did on Friday -- said that he’s enjoying the new perspective.

“Before, I was the rookie, just trying to come up there and stay out of the way,” Judge said. “Now I get a chance to sit back and watch these guys come out here and just take care of business. They’re bringing great energy on the bus and in our hitters’ meeting, in the clubhouse. These guys are hungry and they’re ready to go.”