Houston 5, NY Yankees 3
When: 1:05 PM ET, Tuesday, April 5, 2016
Where: Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York
Dana DeMuth, 1B -
Greg Gibson, 2B -
Ed Hickox, 3B -
NEW YORK -- Carlos Correa had one big swing to help the Houston Astros rally and had a small swing to spark a late-inning rally.
Correa hit the game-tying home run in sixth inning off Masahiro Tanaka and reached on a controversial throwing error by Dellin Betances in the eighth as the Astros opened the regular season with a 5-3 victory over the New York Yankees at frigid Yankee Stadium.
Correa was involved in Houston's first three runs but it was the third play that generated the most talk on both sides.
With one out and Jose Altuve on second, Correa made weak contact on a 1-2 pitch and hit the first-base side of the mound. Betances (0-1) went to field the ball but made a high throw over first baseman Mark Teixeira's head into right field and Altuve scored the tiebreaking run.
"I was running," Correa said. "I swung and I was out in front so I started running the whole time. You don't focus on the line and try to get to the base. That's what I tried to do. Maybe I was inside the line."
Manager Joe Girardi came out to argue with plate umpire Dana DeMuth as he contended Correa was out of the baseline. After consulting with the other umpires, DeMuth upheld the call original call and Girardi returned to the dugout without being ejected.
"My explanation on the call was in my judgment he didn't impede or hinder the first baseman from fielding the ball," DeMuth said to a pool reporter. "The pitcher launched it, threw it off to right field. That runner does not have to be in the 45-foot baseline. Joe thinks he does. That's what he protested on."
The Yankees played the rest of the game under protest although the play cannot be reviewed.
"I don't think there's really a lot of options for Dellin," Girardi said. "He tried to throw a touch throw - which most pitchers don't have in their arsenal - over Correa. That's difficult. I think it's interference, but the rule reads the way it does, and we have to live with it."
Designated hitter Alex Rodriguez could see the difficulty in the play.
"Look, that's a challenging play," Rodriguez said. "You have a plus-plus runner, and I thought Betances did a nice job of getting over to that ball. Then he kind of just tried to throw it over. It's one of those plays. It is what it is."
Correa's involvement in Houston's first three runs gave the Astros their fourth straight season-opening win and it occurred during the coldest game-time temperature in any of their 55 openers. The game-time temperature of 36 degrees was the coldest in New York since April 8, 2003.
"There was a lot going on," Houston manager A.J. Hinch said. "Obviously the difficult call for the umpires is going to be whether he impedes the throw or the catch. So obviously there was a lot going on, where the runner is where the fielder is and then ultimately where the ball ended up, which is well over first base and the bag. From the interpretation, I think it's difficult on both sides.
"I think you would have found it would be argued on both sides. It's just a tough judgment call whether he impeded the thing. We certainly took advantage."
After the controversial play, the Astros took a 5-2 lead on a two-run single by Luis Valbuena. Ken Giles allowed a home run to Didi Gregorius but quickly finished the eighth and Luke Gregerson pitched a perfect ninth for the save.
It also was 31 degrees cooler than the AL wild-card game on Oct. 6 and it impacted Dallas Keuchel's ability to command the ball early. Keuchel (1-0) issued four walks for the first time since June 20 and second time in his career but wound up retiring the final 11 hitters.
"It seems like baseball is not meant to be played in 30-degree weather," Keuchel said after allowing two runs and three hits in seven innings. "I grinded through, put together my best pitches late and a total team win. A few plays that saved me early that I was very thankful for. You've got to do everything possible to get through that and luckily I was able to do it for seven innings.
Starlin Castro had a two-run double off Keuchel in the second and the Yankees held a 2-0 lead until the fourth.
Houston scored its first run when Correa reached on a force play at second after third baseman Chase Headley was unable to start a double play. Two innings later, Correa became the youngest Astro to homer on Opening Day when he drove a 1-0 pitch from Masahiro Tanaka into the right-field seats.
Tanaka allowed two runs and four hits in 5 2/3 innings.
NOTES: Yankees RHP Bryan Mitchell (left big toe tear) underwent surgery Monday and is expected to be sidelined at least four months. ... Astros DH Evan Gattis (sports hernia) began working out with Double-A Corpus Christi Tuesday and will play in a rehab game Thursday. ... Monday was New York's first postponement in a home opener since 2008. ... Hideki Matsui, who hit a grand slam in the 2003 home opener and was the 2009 World Series MVP, threw out the first pitch. ... Houston manager A.J. Hinch said he wanted to reward INF Marwin Gonzalez's versatility and started him at first base. Gonzalez has been on Houston's Opening Day roster for five straight seasons but had not appeared in an opener since playing shortstop in 2012 against Colorado.
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