HOUSTON – Thousands of fans left Minute Maid Park with a gift replica of José Altuve’s 27th shirt on Sunday.

The Houston Astros star couldn’t get off the field with his own.

Altuve hit a three-run home run to cap a surprising six-run comeback in the bottom of the ninth inning, having his shirt ripped off in a frenzied celebration that led the Astros to an 8-7 win over the New York Yankees. .

“It was a miracle,” manager Dusty Baker said.

The Astros had been shut out by the Yankees in the previous two games, highlighted by ace Gerrit Cole’s three-hit shutout in a 1-0 victory Saturday night.

But in a series where teams took turns trolling each other after persistent ill-will over the years, including Yankees star Aaron Judge, who appeared to poke fun at Altuve, the Astros and their dynamic second base had the last word.

“It was quite surprising how Altuve did it again,” catcher Martín Maldonado said. “He’s a guy with a big heart and he’s the face of this team. He came to the plate and we knew something big was going to happen.”

New York led 7-2 after Gary Sanchez’s three-run homer in the eighth inning and was ready for a sweep before the Astros broke loose and gave the Yankees another painful loss in the final inning.

“It’s the best shot to the stomach,” manager Aaron Boone said. “You have a five-run lead in the ninth against a great team with a chance to win by sweep and they come back to win. We have some things to improve on and make sure all hands are where they need to be.”

It was the first time the Astros won after trailing by five or more runs in the ninth inning since also trailing 7-2 before coming back to beat the Montreal Expos 9-8 on July 25, 1980, according to information. provided by the Astros from Elías Sports Bureau.

After the first two Astros reached base against Domingo Germán in the ninth, Chas McCormick hit a two-run double off Chad Green (3-5). Abraham Toro followed up with an RBI double to make it 7-5, still with no outs.

Pinch-hitter Jason Castro singled and one out later, Altuve launched his big shot to left field. His teammates greeted him at the plate and ripped off his jersey in celebration, leaving him shirtless as he hugged Baker as he left the field.

“I was 100% sure it would happen if he hit the home run,” McCormick said of Altuve’s jersey.

Baker added: “That was the most wonderful thing I’ve seen in years.”

Altuve was not available for a post-game interview. The Astros said their father was in the hospital and rushed to be with him.

Boone was asked why he didn’t go with closer Aroldis Chapman in the ninth.

“I’m trying to put him in situations [positivas]”he said.” It is critical that we get him back to where we need to be. I want him to launch those situations where he passes with a clean start under his belt. “

Ralph Garza Jr. (1-2) pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings for the win. He allowed three walks in a day the Astros won despite conceding a whopping 14 walks.

For the Astros, Maldonado homered in the third off Jameson Taillon, giving Houston its first run of the series.

Maldonado pulled his shirt down the left side, exposing his bare chest as he rounded third base.

“It was a bit hot,” he said with a smile. “Trying to get some air inside my shirt.”

The move came a day after Judge clasped his shirt with both hands while doubling down third after a home run. It was a gesture that some interpreted as a reference to Altuve grabbing his shirt to continue celebrating with his teammates and not taking it off after his winning homer in Game 6 of the 2019 American League Championship Series against the Los Angeles. Yankees.

After the Houston sign theft scandal was uncovered, some speculated that Altuve did not want his shirt removed because he was concealing a doorbell that aided in the plot. The accusation was never proven, and Altuve said he did it because he was shy and got into trouble with his wife when his shirt was ripped off earlier.

Altuve was not available early to discuss Judge’s exhibit, but Baker chimed in Sunday.

“I realized what he did,” Baker said. “That was wrong”.

Sanchez also tugged on his shirt in much the same way as Judge did as he trotted to the plate with his home run. He was greeted on the steps of the dugout by Rougned Odor, who wrapped him in a heavy Yankees coat, perhaps a reference to Judge saying he did what he did because it’s “pretty cold” in Minute Maid Park when the roof is closed. .

Boone was in no mood to talk about all the back and forth between the players after the loss.

“I really have no interest,” he said. “We lost with a 7-2 lead. I don’t think it has anything to do with the additional things that people are talking about.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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