HOUSTON — Having already homered off one Yankees killer in his major league debut, Jasson Domínguez teed off on another on Sunday.
The 20-year-old, playing in just his third game, cranked his second home run in the sixth inning when Cristian Javier hung a slider over the inside part of the plate. The two-run blast broke a 1-1 tie, thus paving the way for a 6-1 win and series sweep for the Yankees.
“He’s comfortable,” Aaron Boone said of Domínguez. “When he goes up to the plate, there’s not a lot of anxiety. He plays the game with ease. Obviously, the skill set jumps off the page at you. It’s obviously a huge — probably the — blow tonight to give us the lead there. He put a really good swing on the ball.
“Sean Casey talks a lot about slowing things down, letting go of anxiety when you’re at the plate. Anxiety is your enemy as a hitter, and [Domínguez is] the opposite of that. He goes up there real cool, calm and collected with a grin on his face, and there’s no tension in what he’s doing. And you sense that.”
The Yankees had not swept the rival Astros in a three-game series since September 2013. Domínguez, who homered off the 40-year-old Justin Verlander on Friday, was just 10 years old at the time.
The right-handed Javier entered Sunday’s start with a 1.83 ERA over 19.2 career innings against the Yankees, and he mostly cruised until the sixth. A DJ LeMahieu double got the Bombers on the board just before Domínguez’s blast.
Javier totaled six innings, four hits, three earned runs, zero walks, eight strikeouts and 96 pitches.
Gleyber Torres, who missed the last two games with a back issue, added a run in the ninth when he launched a José Urquidy pitch to the train tracks at Minute Maid Park. Austin Wells then picked up an RBI double before Oswald Peraza did the same, giving the Yankees one last insurance run.
“The way he steps on balls, he’s got massive power, so that ball’s hammered,” Boone said of Torres, whose homer traveled 435 feet. “But I’m not surprised. That’s what he’s capable of.”
Meanwhile, Michael King demonstrated that his trial in the rotation is a worthwhile endeavor for the second straight start. The righty logged his longest outing since 2021, tallying five scoreless innings against a strong Astros lineup. King allowed five hits, walked none and struck out four while throwing a season-high 69 pitches.
Houston’s run came on a Kyle Tucker sac fly in the first frame.
Prior to the game, Boone said that King has “definitely put himself in that conversation” to start next year, thought the manager noted that the look of the Yankees’ roster could change by then. Nonetheless, King has been impressive his last two outings, as he blanked the Tigers for four innings on Aug. 29.
“I’ve wanted it for a while,” King said of a chance to start. “I think that having the confidence from the coaching staff is really nice, and even just being on a five-day [schedule] is fun. And game-planning for multiple times through is fun. And then being able to do it the last few times out definitely gives me the confidence to feel like I am a starter.”
Tommy Kahnle followed King with two perfect innings out of the bullpen on Sunday. Jonathan Loáisiga and Clay Holmes then wrapped the game up for the Yankees.
With a three-city road trip over, the Yankees will begin a home stand with a three-game series against the Tigers on Tuesday before hosting the Brewers over the weekend. Tuesday will mark Domínguez and Wells’ first chance to play in front of Yankees fans.
“He’s lived up to every ounce of hype that I’ve heard,” King said of Domínguez after separately praising the job Wells did behind the plate Sunday. “I heard he was otherworldly. And he comes out here and just dominates. I mean, I was more impressed with just his poise. You come up as a top prospect, you think of a guy that could easily have a big ego and think that they’re the best. And he comes up and he’s very humble. He’s very quiet. Honestly, being like a very good rookie. And then when he goes out there and produces, it just makes you love him even more. So I’m very excited to see his career play out.”
Domínguez, meanwhile, is looking forward to his first time in pinstripes.
“I think it’s gonna be big time,” he said. “It’s gonna be awesome. A lot of family’s gonna come to the game, too. So it will be awesome.”
Gerrit Cole, looking to further his case for a Cy Young award, will start the first game against Detroit. The Tigers had not decided on their starting pitcher for the opener, but they have Matt Manning and Eduardo Rodriguez lined up for the second and third games of the series.
Clarke Schmidt will start on Wednesday for the Yankees, while Carlos Rodón will get the ball on Thursday.