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Yankees Refuse to Lose, Defeat Astros With Latest Thrilling Comeback

The Yankees scored four runs in the bottom of the ninth to storm back and defeat the Astros, securing their league-leading 21st comeback victory of the season.
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NEW YORK — Entering the bottom of the ninth at Yankee Stadium on Thursday night, it seemed like the Yankees had met their match.

The Astros had out-homered New York's high-powered lineup, holding them to just two hits (both coming in the first inning).

Yankees manager Aaron Boone referred to this Astros team as the most complete club that New York has faced this year in the hours leading up to first pitch. Dusty Baker's squad proved it between the lines over the first eight frames.

And yet, even as Astros closer Ryan Pressly jogged in from the visitor's bullpen to record the final three outs, there was an energy in the Bronx that this ballgame was far from over. At that moment, it was almost as if the Yankees switched into another gear, recognizing that it was winning time.

What followed was a clinic of quality at-bats, key contributions from the bottom of New York's order and a decisive blow from this team's leader, a four-run outburst to secure a dramatic 7-6 victory on the biggest stage.

With nobody out and two men on, left fielder Aaron Hicks—who has been dreadful with runners in scoring position this season—deposited a game-tying three-run home run into the right-field bleachers. The roar from a crowd of 44,071 fans at Yankee Stadium, as Hicks' blast soared to the bleachers in right field, was deafening.

A few batters later, Aaron Judge delivered the knockout punch, ripping a walk-off single into the left-field corner. His second walk-off hit of the season clinched New York's 21st comeback victory of the year, the most in Major League Baseball.

"We're just never out of a game," Judge said after the win. "No matter the score, even if we get down early, if we have a lead and blow it, it doesn't matter. As long as we still have a chance to hit, this team has a chance to still win the ballgame."

While the Yankees showed emotion as Hicks tied the game, storming the field and mobbing their teammate when Judge won it, Boone and his players spoke about an overwhelming confidence and calmness in the dugout as New York began to mount their comeback. 

Time and time again this club has taken care of business with their collective backs against the wall. That's why they were able to trust each other to get the job done, producing quality at-bats after getting shut down for eight innings.

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"You can see it in everybody's faces when they're in the box," Judge added. "There's no emotion. There's some emotional when Hicks hits a game-tying homer in the ninth. You show some emotion there. But then it's right back to work. Up and down our lineup, guys just working the at-bat, the moment not getting too big for guys and just believing in each other."

Hicks' three-run shot and Judge's game-winner will make all the highlight reels, but those two plays wouldn't have happened if it wasn't for clutch walks from Giancarlo Stanton, Gleyber Torres and DJ LeMahieu, in addition to base hits from Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Jose Trevino.

Boone called all those plate appearances, "winning plays."

"Let's go have a good at-bat. That was the mindset," the skipper explained. "There was kind of a calm and a resolve, an energy certainly, but I'd say the opposite of emotional. It was just like 'let's go grind this thing out and have good at bats.' G and Gleyber there to start things off working walks there really set us up and then just some more tough at-bats put us in that position."

As the Yankees continue to face talented opponents this summer and look to get over the hump down the road in October, it's going to take performances like these to be the last team standing. 

Whether they'll be able to produce in those spots four months from now remains to be seen, but this team is resolute in their late-game mentality with a track record of proven success. That's part of the reason why New York is on pace for 120 wins through 70 games. 

"We don't like to lose," Hicks said. "We're a team that's gonna keep fighting until the end. Until the last out is made, we believe that we still have a chance."

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