NEW YORK — For the Houston Astros and New York Yankees, Sunday will feature two games with a ceremony in between.
The Astros and Yankees will conclude a four-game series with a doubleheader and in between games Derek Jeter will have his No. 2 jersey retired.
Sunday was originally slated to feature the ceremonies for Jeter followed by a nationally televised night game, but heavy rains in New York created the need to play two games.
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In between games, the Yankees will retire their final single digit and honor Jeter, whose last at-bat at home was a game-winning single in the ninth inning against Baltimore on Sept. 25, 2014.
Jeter will be the 22nd player or manager to have his number retired and the sixth from New York’s dynasty of four titles in five years from 1996 to 2000.
Mariano Rivera’s No. 42 was retired in September 2013, manager Joe Torre’s number was retired in August 2014 while Bernie Williams, Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada had their numbers retired the following year.
Jeter finished a 20-year playing career with a .310 average and is sixth on the all-time hits list with 3,465. He batted .308 and hit 20 home runs in 158 postseason games as the Yankees won five World Series and seven American League pennants.
“I think any time Derek comes back, it’s special, but this will be even more meaningful,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “We’ve all been looking forward to it. I’m sure he’s looking forward to it.”
Besides the Yankees, there are connections to Jeter from the Astros. Catcher Brian McCann and designated hitter Carlos Beltran were his teammate in 2014 and enjoyed the experience.
“It’s going to be fun,” Beltran said. “I got the opportunity to play him the last year. It was a great experience for me as a player. I got to see him grind every single day, coming to the ballpark with the mentality of going out there, playing shortstop and doing his job every single day. I’m happy to see him getting celebrated the way he deserves.”
Said McGann: “What I took away the most was his routine and what he did on a nightly basis. He is who he is. His career speaks for itself. Talk to everyone and they want to be Derek Jeter. I was fortunate to play with him and learn a lot.”
Before the ceremony, the Astros will try to continue the best start in team history. At 25-11, Houston surpassed the 1972 team’s 24-12 start for the best opening to a season with Friday’s 5-1 victory over the Yankees.
McCann slugged a three-run home run and Lance McCullers Jr. pitched six scoreless innings as Houston ran its winning streak to five games and won for the 10th time in 12 games.
“I’m most proud of how we’re playing good consistent baseball,” manager A.J. Hinch said. “I’m not comparing it to the last couple of seasons, you know how I feel about that. But I feel like we’re playing really well in a lot of different facets.”
The Yankees matched a season high with their third straight loss Friday. They also dropped three straight April 5-8 when they opened 1-4, and ended the first three-game skid with an eight-game winning streak.
New York is 3-for-24 with runners in scoring position in the last three games. In those three games since Monday’s 10-4 win at Cincinnati, the Yankees are hitting .204 (20-for-98) with 34 strikeouts.
“We’ve seen a couple of good pitchers,” Girardi said. “You’re going to go through that. You’re not going to hit home runs every game. You’re not going to hit two and three home runs every game. We’ve hit a little streak here but we’ll bounce back.”
After Dallas Keuchel and McCullers combined to allow an unearned run and get 16 strikeouts in 12 innings, Mike Fiers and Charlie Morton will start for the Astros.
Fiers (1-1, 4.88 ERA) gets the opener and is coming off his first win of the season. In Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Angels, Fiers allowed three runs and four hits in five innings of a 5-3 victory.
Fiers will be facing the Yankees for the second time. In Houston’s 8-5 loss in New York, Fiers allowed five runs and nine hits in five innings while taking a no-decision.
Morton (4-2, 3.63) has been getting good run support as the Astros scored 27 times in his last three starts. Morton takes a three-game winning streak into Sunday night after allowing one earned run and five hits in 5 2/3 innings against the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday.
Morton will be making his second career start against the Yankees. He took the loss in the first game of a doubleheader in New York on May 18, 2014 when he allowed four runs and six hits in seven innings for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Luis Severino (2-3, 3.40) starts the opener for the Yankees and he hopes he does not pitch in another marathon. Severino allowed one run and four hits in seven innings during Sunday’s 18-inning win at Wrigley Field over the Chicago Cubs when Aroldis Chapman blew 4-1 lead.
Sunday will be Severino’s first start against the Astros. He pitched two scoreless innings in Houston last July in relief of Masahiro Tanaka and struck out three.
Tanaka 5-1, 4.36) will start the nightcap and will try to become the fourth six-game winner in the majors. Tanaka is 5-0 with a 2.78 ERA in his last five starts after allowing three runs and 10 hits over seven innings on Monday.
Tanaka is 0-1 with a 6.89 in three regular-season starts against the Astros. He also opposed Houston in the 2015 wild card game.