For the rest of the week, the second-place Yankees will face off against sub-.500 teams in New York. It began with the opener of a three-game series against the Astros on Tuesday and will conclude after a three-game series with the White Sox on Sunday at Yankee Stadium.
The stretch didn't start the way that New York hoped. Houston got a ninth-inning homer from Chris Carter for a 7-4 win, and New York slipped to 8 1/2 games behind the Orioles in the American League East and four games behind the Mariners and Tigers for the second Wild Card spot.
"You have to win series, you have to win games, and it gets to a point where there's not a ton of room for error," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi. "These are very important games."
As they scramble to make up ground, the Yankees will turn to Michael Pineda, who is making his second start since coming off the disabled list and figures to be able to have a regular-length outing. The starting pitcher threw just 67 pitches against Baltimore on Wednesday and held the O's to one run on two hits over five innings.
Even if Pineda (2-2) shines again, New York will still have to crack Scott Feldman for the first time this season. Feldman (6-9) held the Yankees scoreless for 6 2/3 innings on Opening Day. That was special for him, and his last chance to face Derek Jeter on Wednesday will be another memorable moment for the starting pitcher.
"The significance, I guess, is a good memory for me and something I can always tell my kids about someday," he said. "I got a lot of pretty special memories playing baseball, but facing him Opening Day was something I'll always remember.
"As a player, he's probably one of the guys who was my favorite player now that I've been playing a little while."
Yankees: MLB changes history -- sort of
Turns out, Jeter's infield single on Aug. 8 wasn't the 3,430th hit of his career, and he didn't tie Honus Wagner for sixth place on the all-time list that day.
After a scoring change on Tuesday, Jeter's hit was ruled an error on Cleveland's Carlos Santana, so the hit that tied Wagner now occurred the following day, when Jeter reached on an infield single off Cleveland's Corey Kluber that was initially recorded as the go-ahead hit. Jeter's double in the fifth inning off Baltimore's Bud Norris on Aug. 11 is now actually the hit that gave him sole possession of sixth place.
Jeter still has the history-making ball, though. Athletic trainer Steve Donohue had a feeling the call may be changed, so he made sure to retrieve the other balls from the shortstop's next hits.
"So there's no story," Jeter said. "I got another hit; I got the other ball."
Astros: Looking to play spoiler
The Astros play several teams with playoff hopes in the final six weeks of the season, including the Yankees, A's, Angels and Mariners, and manager Bo Porter hopes his team can have a say.
"I think you owe it to baseball to always put forth your best effort when it comes, even if you're not in playoff contention," Porter said. "When you can have an effect on the playoffs, you owe it to the game to put forth your best effort and try to do everything you can to make it as hard as possible for all the teams that you face."
That didn't work out too well for the Astros last year, losing their final 15 games of the season against teams who were going for playoff spots.
• Since blowing a save against Baltimore during Wednesday's Yankees loss, Dellin Betances has gone back to his dominant self. In three outings of an inning each, the relief pitcher has allowed two hits and no runs with five strikeouts and a win.
• New York's Masahiro Tanaka will throw another bullpen session on Wednesday as he continues his rehab from a right elbow injury.
David Wilson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.