HOUSTON (AP) — Jasson Domínguez got nicknamed The Martian before ever even playing in the majors, due to his rare combination of size and strength at such a young age.
Just three games into his big league career, the New York Yankees’ prized prospect has shown it’s a moniker that fits.
“He’s lived up to every ounce of hype that I’ve heard,” teammate Michael King said. “I heard he was otherworldly and he comes out here and just dominates.”
Domínguez hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the sixth inning to help the Yankees to a 6-1 win over the Houston Astros that completed a three-game sweep Sunday night.
It was the second home run in three career games for the 20-year-old Domínguez, who became the youngest Yankees player to go deep in his major league debut Friday night when he hit a two-run shot off Justin Verlander in his first at-bat.
Domínguez is the youngest player in franchise history to homer twice in his first three games and just the fourth Yankees hitter to do it, joining Aaron Judge (2016), Joe Lefebvre (1980) and Yogi Berra (1946).
“When he goes up to the plate, there’s not a lot of anxiety. He plays the game with ease,” New York manager Aaron Boone said.
Domínguez was happy to play so well in front of the friends and family members who made the trip to Houston this weekend. But he can’t wait to make his Yankee Stadium debut Tuesday night.
“I think it’s going to be big-time,” he said.
Houston’s weekend slide came after a five-game winning streak and it left the third-place Astros a game behind the first-place Mariners and a percentage point back of second-place Texas in a tight AL West race.
“That’s not the way you want to start September,” manager Dusty Baker said. “They beat us up pretty good and it’s mostly the young guys that beat us.”
For the last-place Yankees, this series was a bright spot in a dismal season. It was their first sweep since taking three games against Kansas City from July 21-23 and the first time they’ve swept the Astros since September 2013.
“Obviously, nothing’s gone how we wanted it to this year,” Boone said. “But we’re playing for a lot in there, and never know what can happen. We just want to go out and play our best baseball and hopefully make some noise this month. And who knows?”
Gleyber Torres added a solo homer in a three-run ninth after missing two games with lower back tightness. New York rookie Austin Wells had an RBI double for his first career extra-base hit.
That sent Houston fans streaming for the exits as chants of “Let’s go Yankees!” filled Minute Maid Park.
King yielded five hits and a run with four strikeouts in five innings. Tommy Kahnle (2-3) worked two hitless innings
Jonathan Loáisiga took over for the eighth and was greeted by a single from Jeremy Peña. There was one out in the inning when pinch-hitter Yainer Diaz singled, but Jose Altuve grounded into a double play to end the threat.
Houston starter Cristian Javier (9-3) allowed four hits and three runs with eight strikeouts in six innings.
Alex Bregman singled with one out in the first before moving to third on a single by Yordan Alvarez. The Astros took a 1-0 lead when Bregman scored on a sacrifice fly by Kyle Tucker.
Torres singled to start the second, but Javier retired the next 13 batters. New York’s next baserunner came when Oswaldo Cabrera singled with one out in the sixth. DJ LeMahieu followed with a double to left-center that scored Cabrera to tie it 1-all.
Alvarez was shaken up on the play when he slipped on the warning track, fell to his knees and crashed into the wall. Center fielder Mauricio Dubón called for an athletic trainer and Alvarez pointed at his left knee. But he got up after a couple of minutes and remained in the game after talking to the trainer for a bit.
“His knee banged up against the fence, so he’ll probably be sore tomorrow,” Baker said. “We’ll have to see how he is.”
There were two outs when Domínguez connected on his shot to the seats in right field that put the Yankees on top 3-1.
Alvarez hit a foul fly ball into the left-field corner with two outs in the bottom half that a fan reached out and deflected. That caused left fielder Everson Pereira to change direction quickly and tumble to the ground without making the catch.
The umpires met and talked the play over before calling Alvarez out on fan interference.
Yankees: RHP Ian Hamilton was placed on the 15-day injured list, retroactive to Thursday, with a right groin strain. RHP Greg Weissert was recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to take his place on the roster.
Yankees: New York is off Monday before Gerrit Cole (12-4, 2.95 ERA) starts Tuesday night in the opener of a three-game series against Detroit at home.
Astros: RHP J.P. France (10-5, 3.49) starts for Houston in the opener of the last series with Texas this season as the Astros, Rangers and Mariners fight for the AL West title.
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