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Juan Soto throws out tying run at plate in 9th inning of Yankees’ debut, 5-4 win over Astros

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HOUSTON (AP) Long lauded for his prowess at the plate, Juan Soto wowed on defense Thursday in his New York Yankees debut.

Soto threw out the potential tying run at the plate in the ninth inning after starting New York’s comeback from a four-run deficit in a season-opening 5-4 win over the Houston Astros.

“That was a Yankee classic right there,” New York captain Aaron Judge said. “Juan’s debut, that was pretty special out of him. Come up, get his first hit, first at-bat, he takes a walk. Then come up there and, biggest moment of the game and just be cool, calm and collected and deliver a strike home.”

Oswaldo Cabrera homered and Judge doubled and scored the go-ahead run in the seventh inning as the Yankees went ahead.

Mauricio Dubón and Yordan Alvarez singled off Clay Holmes to give the Astros two on with one out in the ninth.

Kyle Tucker lined a single to right and Soto, an All-Star acquired from San Diego in a December trade, made a one-hop 87.6 mph throw slightly up the third-base line. Catcher Jose Trevino made a sweep tag and caught Dubón’s left arm just before the runner’s finger touched the plate. Umpire James Hoye’s call was upheld in a video review.

“I just prepare before that happens,” Soto said. “My mindset was just try to make a great throw to the plate and let (Trevino) do whatever he wants to do.”

Judge raved about the work of his new teammate, a three-time All-Star who can become a free agent after the season.

“That just speaks volumes of the type of player he is and the type of presence he has in the box and also in the field,” Judge said.

Soto was asked if it bothers him that people don’t talk about his defense.

“Not at all,” he said. “I got to do stuff so they can start talking. Like stuff like I did today. ... They’re going to be talking about my defense later on.”

Alex Bregman grounded into a forceout as Holmes got the save.

Joe Espada, in his first game since replacing Dusty Baker as Astros manager, tapped former closer Ryan Pressly to pitch the seventh in the reliever’s first appearance in that inning since the 2021 World Series.

Judge greeted him with a double to the left-field corner and scored the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly by Alex Verdugo, who like Soto was making his Yankees debut.

Chas McCormick hit a two-run single in a three-run first and Jake Meyers homered in the second off Nestor Cortes, who was limited to one major league appearance after May because of a strained left rotator cuff.

Jonathan Loáisiga (1-0) pitched two scoreless innings for the win.

Astros starter Framber Valdez was charged with three runs in 4 2/3 innings, getting double plays to end three of the first four innings.

“Command wasn’t on all day but he still executed pitches when he needed to,” Espada said. “Then at the end there... in the fifth, he just kind of lost the zone a bit. But he competed. He gave us a chance and it was just not the way we wanted to end his outing today.”

Cabrera hit a tying home run off Rafael Montero in the sixth.

Anthony Rizzo was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the fifth, his 214th time hit - 60 more than any other active player.

The Yankees debuted a new road uniform for the first time since 1973. It wasn’t a big change but did remove the white piping from around the letters and numbers on their jerseys.

Houston reliever Bryan Abreu served the first of a two-game suspension for intentionally throwing at Texas star Adolis García in last year’s AL Championship Series.

UP NEXT

Houston’s Cristian Javier, who took the loss in Game 7 of the ALCS, opposes Carlos Rodón when the four-game series continues Friday.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb