Yankees take Astros to brink with Aaron Judge 473-foot HR, Juan Soto trash talk

Almost a sweep. Almost an epic moment. But they got the job done this series.
Detroit Tigers v New York Yankees
Detroit Tigers v New York Yankees / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages

Can't complain with the result, New York Yankees fans. The season series against the Houston Astros is complete, and the Bombers came out on top 6-1 with two series victories. They were one swing of the bat from an epic sweep and a 7-0 record.

On Thursday evening, the Astros squeaked out a 4-3 victory to avoid the brooms in the Bronx, but the Yankees took every last ounce of energy out of them before they hopped on a plane for a weekend series against Detroit. The Yankees will head to Tampa for a set with their division rivals.

This one was oh so close to joining the modern day Yankees history books. After going down 3-0 early as Marcus Stroman faltered in the first inning, surrendering home runs to Yordan Alvarez and Jon Singleton, the Yankees once again battled back. They made it a 3-2 game. Then they made it a 4-3 game.

Then they put the tying run on second in the bottom of the ninth before Josh Hader managed to dodge the ire of Astros fans after a rough Sunday.

What this loss has once again taught us, however, is that this Yankees team is different. They're still frustrating when they're in their droughts, but the energy Juan Soto brings is unmatched, and it's proven to be infectious. Here he was staring down Ronel Blanco in the fifth inning before he worked a walk.

Yankees take Astros to brink with Aaron Judge 473-foot HR, Juan Soto trash talk

Soto worked the count full after a couple of close calls, and he made sure to remind Blanco his attempts were indeed out of the zone. He had some words for catcher Yainer Diaz after ball four, too. This lineup is relentless, and that'll hopefully give them the mental edge when the games count the most.

Unfortunately, after putting runners on first and second when Soto took first, the Yankees couldn't capitalize. Aaron Judge hit the first pitch on the screws, but the grounder went right to third baseman Alex Bregman, who turned two and ended the inning.

But Judge redeemed himself in the eighth. After Soto sent a laser directly to right fielder Kyle Tucker for the first out of the inning, Judge clobbered a 473-foot homer off Ryan Pressly. The Bronx was absolutely rocking and felt like it was nearing implosion when Giancarlo Stanton stepped to the plate after an Alex Verdugo walk.

Stanton worked the count full, but got fooled by a Pressly curveball that just clipped the inside corner. Rizzo popped out against Hader, who got the call for a four-out save because Astros manager Joe Espada was desperate.

Stroman didn't have his best stuff. The Yankees' offense logged just six hits and five walks while striking out 10 times. And they still nearly swept the hated Astros, who always seem to have the Yanks' number. Houston snapped a nine-game losing streak to the Bombers with the nail-biting victory, and improved to 13-24 on the season.

Sure, a sweep would've been euphoric, but these Yankees, at 25-14, are showing exactly how tough they're going to be come October (should everything continue on its current trajectory). And fans have to feel good about that because, before this year, one of these games would've been a 5-1 snoozer of a loss with maybe a handful of competitive at-bats.

The dawgs are still barkin' in the clubhouse regardless of the result.