NEW YORK -- Collin McHugh pitched well into the seventh inning and Evan Gattis homered twice as the Astros defeated the Yankees, 6-2, on Wednesday afternoon at Yankee Stadium, taking the rubber contest of a three-game set.
McHugh took advantage of a Yankees lineup that was outscored, 21-4, in the series, limiting New York to two runs and five hits, striking out eight in 6 1/3 innings. The right-hander snapped a three-start losing streak and earned his 14th victory as the Astros notched consecutive road victories for the first time since June 17-18 at Coors Field. Houston's won 10 of its past 14 games.
"We haven't won one on the road in a while, and it obviously feels good," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "I love the way we swung the bats today. I thought we pitched pretty well. I think it shows when we put things together, we can win on the road. We've done it before, but to do it against this team is a nice start to this road trip."
The Astros, who surpassed last year's win total with their 71st victory, extended their lead in the American League West to five games over the second-place Rangers, who played Toronto on Wednesday night.
Yankees right-hander Michael Pineda permitted five runs and six hits over just 4 1/3 innings in his return from the disabled list. Gattis homered off Pineda in the second and went deep again off Adam Warren in the eighth. Houston rallied for four runs in the fifth, highlighted by run-scoring hits by Jake Marisnick and Marwin Gonzalez.
Didi Gregorius hit a two-run homer in the seventh for the Yankees, who have lost five of their past seven.
"We're obviously not playing up to expectations," Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner said. "I know that from the top to the bottom, especially the fans, they expect more of us. But nobody expects more out of us than ourselves, so we're working hard, trying to do our best to get out of it and right the ship." More >
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Start them up: The only runs the Yankees managed against Astros starters in the series came on the two-run homer by Gregorius in the seventh off McHugh. Still, Astros starters had held the Yanks scoreless for 21 consecutive innings before the homer, and Houston's starters have allowed two or fewer runs in 16 of the team's past 17 games.
"It's the second time through against a lot of these teams, so we've got a good game plan and we've been fortunate enough to execute well," McHugh said. "For us, it's important down the stretch. If you can pitch and play defense, timely hitting will win you some ballgames, and every ballgame means a lot down the stretch." More >
Not Pin-point: Pineda returned from a right forearm flexor muscle strain and held Houston to a run over the first four frames before coming unraveled in the fifth. Pineda permitted hits to the first three batters he faced, including an infield single to Marisnick where Pineda and Stephen Drew had trouble covering first base. After a walk and a sac fly, Chasen Shreve uncorked a run-scoring wild pitch and allowed a RBI single to Gonzalez before escaping.
"You know, I thought he did pretty good," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "That inning got away from him, the confusion at first base, two people at first base. It cost us some runs. I thought he threw the ball pretty well." More >
Who needs the long ball? The Astros' homer-dependent offense went off script in the fifth, batting around and scoring four times without the benefit of an extra-base hit in between a pair of Gattis homers. The Astros had four singles (including two infield singles), two walks and a sacrifice fly, and they benefited from a wild pitch with the bases loaded.
"We put back-to-back-to-back hits together, without the home run," Hinch said. "And that's something that we try to piece together -- good at-bat after good at-bat and get a good opportunity. We got a few free bases when it came to some 90 feet that we took advantage of, we had the bunt play. We manufactured an inning, which is good for this team to realize we can do."
"I feel like we just haven't been swinging the bats. You can say we run into good pitchers, but I think the at-bats overall probably could get better." -- Yankees catcher Brian McCann
"I think one of the things we have going is we have a lot of strengths, and when we play up to those strengths, we can do a lot of damage and we can win a lot of games." -- Hinch
Astros outfielder Colby Rasmus was ejected for arguing a called third strike in the fifth. It's the sixth Astros ejection this year, and first by a position player.
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The Astros had lost their past 11 road series of at least three games before taking two of three from the Yankees.
WHAT'S NEXT Astros: The Astros are off Thursday before opening a three-game series Friday against the surging Twins at 7:10 p.m. CT at Target Field. Left-hander Scott Kamir (7-8, 2.39 ERA) will be making his seventh start since coming over from the A's in a trade. He's 2-3 with a 2.41 ERA with Houston.
Yankees: Following an off-day Thursday, the Yankees travel to Atlanta to open a three-game Interleague series with the Braves on Friday at 7:35 p.m. ET at Turner Field. Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka (9-6, 3.61) draws the start in McCann's return to Atlanta after signing a five-year contract with New York before last season.