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Yanks try to avoid Astros' brooms

(SportsNetwork.com) - The New York Yankees are slowly falling out of playoff contention in the American League.

Brandon McCarthy gets the call for them on Thursday, as they try to avoid a three-game sweep at the hands of the Houston Astros at Yankee Stadium.

New York has lost the first two games of this set to fall five games off the pace of the AL's second wild card spot. The Yanks fell again on Wednesday, as Robbie Grossman broke a tie with a two-run single during a four-run seventh inning as Houston rallied for a 5-2 victory.

Jake Marisnick had an RBI single and scored in the decisive frame for Houston, which clinched its first-ever series win in the Bronx.

New York starter Michael Pineda's outing ended after he walked Jason Castro to open the seventh. Esmil Rogers replaced David Huff (2-1) after a one-out single by Marwin Gonzalez and served up Marisnick's bases-loaded hit that tied the game at 2-2.

Grossman then found the gap in right-center field and Jose Altuve singled home Marisnick.

Astros starter Scott Feldman (7-9) gave up two runs on eight hits, struck out seven and walked two before departing with two aboard and two outs in the seventh.

"It's always satisfying to get a win like that," said Feldman. "Guys that came in after me all did a great job."

Stephen Drew homered for the Yankees, who have dropped seven of nine overall. Pineda limited Houston to two runs on four hits and walked one.

"He was pretty good. I thought he got a little tired at the end, but that's to be expected," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said about Pineda, who made his second start since coming off the disabled list. "We pushed him a little bit, but I thought he gave us a really good performance."

Hoping for a similar effort on Thursday, the Yanks will turn to McCarthy, who has lost his last two starts after winning his first four decisions following a trade from Arizona.

"Whether the game means more, whether we're chasing, whether it's a month from now or we're in the playoffs, it's just trying to stay as focused as I can on the smallest things I can control," said McCarthy.

McCarthy fell to Tampa Bay on Friday, as he allowed four runs (2 earned) and seven hits in 6 1/3 innings to raise his ERA to 2.30 since the deal. Overall, he's 7-12 on the year with a 4.24 ERA.

In five games (3 starts) versus the Astros McCarthy is 2-2 with a 2.63 ERA.

Houston, meanwhile, will counter with lefty Dallas Keuchel, who is 10-8 with a 3.11 ERA. Keuchel did not get a decision on Friday in Boston, as he surrendered three runs and six hits in seven innings of his team's 5-3 win.

On the injury front the Yanks will once again be without outfielder Carlos Beltran, who had a cortisone shot in his ailing right elbow prior to Wednesday's contest. The elbow ill likely require surgery this winter.

"I've been feeling pain once in a while, but what I was feeling yesterday was very sharp," Beltran said. "I just felt that, talking to the (Yankees team doctor Christopher Ahmad), it probably could be that the previous cortisone (shots) are wearing out."

Houston has won four of five from the Yankees this season after losing 13 of 15 previous meetings.

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08/21 09:13:59 ET

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