Yankees Top 19 Games since 2000: No. 12, Baby Bombers lead ALCS comeback
Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez provide the heroics in 2017 ALCS Game 4
To kick off 2019, we're unveiling our count of the Yankees' 19 best games since 2000. Historic feats, classic comebacks and postseason glory all find their way onto the list with an obvious No. 1 coming Jan. 20.
Let's continue with No. 12, as Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez lead Yankees back in 2017 ALCS Game 4.
In No. 13 on our list, Mike wrote about the unofficial beginning of the Baby Bombers Era in the Bronx. For No. 12, we turn the page a year to the core's first late-inning playoff comeback.
Despite trailing 4-0 heading into the bottom of the seventh, the Yankees used big hits from Aaron Judge, Didi Gregorius and Gary Sanchez to beat the Astros and knot up the 2017 ALCS. Though they'd ultimately lose the series, the victory showcased the best of that year's Yankees in dramatic fashion.
After defeating the Twins and Indians, the Yankees trailed the Astros in the ALCS, 2-1, heading into Game 4 following a blowout win in Game 3. Sonny Gray and Lance McCullers Jr. matched zeroes into the middle innings, with McCullers allowing just one hit until the seventh.
The Bombers ran into trouble in the top of the sixth as Gray gave up a leadoff hit, which was followed by a catcher's interference. David Robertson couldn't stop the bleeding, walking Jose Altuve before allowing a bases-clearing double to Yuli Gurriel. A Starlin Castro error in the seventh led to a fourth run for Houston.
In need of a spark, the Yankees turned to Judge, who led off against the cruising McCullers. The Rookie of the Year blasted the first pitch 427 feet to dead center. That's all the Yankees' crowd needed to reach a deafening roar.
Despite McCullers' dominant start to that point, A.J. Hinch decided to take him out in favor of Chris Devenski. Unfortunately for Houston, Devenski immediately gave up a triple to Gregorius, leading to a run.
The best was yet to come for the Yankees. Facing Joe Musgrove, Todd Frazier led off the eighth with a single. Chase Headley followed with a liner towards the left-center field gap that Marwin Gonzalez cutoff. Frazier easily scampered the third base, but Headley tripped between first and second, seeming dead to rights on the basepaths. Luckily, the Astros threw behind Headley, allowing him to just slide safely into second.
From there, the Yankees were set up. Brett Gardner knocked in a run with a groundout, bringing up Judge with a man on third and just one out. The Astros called on closer Ken Giles, who had gotten Judge out in the regular season. He wouldn't find the same success again. Judge got ahead in the count and drove a slider off the left field wall for a game-tying double.
Didi tagged Giles for an infield single, which paved the way for Sanchez's heroics. Sanchez took a Giles fastball to right-center field and the ball made its way all the way to the wall, scoring both Judge and Gregorius.
Aroldis Chapman closed out the game and the Yankees would win the next night as well. Alhough they'd lose the final two games in Houston, the Bombers finished the 2017 postseason undefeated at Yankee Stadium, taking advantage of a raucous home crowd.