Hicks HR ties it, Judge wins it as Yankees rally past Astros

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NEW YORK (AP) — Aaron Judge lined a game-winning single on the eve of his salary arbitration showdown, capping a four-run ninth inning that included Aaron Hicks’ tying three-run homer off closer Ryan Pressly in the New York Yankees’ 7-6 victory over the Houston Astros on Thursday night.

Batting with two on against Ryne Stanek, Judge smoked a 3-0 splitter into the left-field corner to score Jose Trevino from second base. It was the Yankees’ ninth walk-off win in 70 games this season — their most since 1943 — and one that seemed mighty unlikely when they entered the last inning with only two hits.

New York took the opener of a highly anticipated four-game series between the American League’s top two teams, winning for the 19th time in 22 games to improve to 52-18 — the third-best 70-game start in the majors since 1930.

New York also extended its home winning streak to 15 games, the team’s longest since 1961.

Alex Bregman and Giancarlo Stanton traded three-run homers in the first inning. Yordan Alvarez added a three-run shot in the third off Yankees starter Jameson Taillon.

Miguel Castro (4-0) worked a hitless inning for the win. Pressly (1-2) took the loss.

Up next, an unusual in-season arbitration hearing Friday — rulings are usually made in the offseason but were pushed past opening day due to the sport’s labor lockout. Judge is asking for a $21 million salary, while New York has offered $17 million in his final season before reaching free agency.