Yankees on the rise with Dominican star Juan Soto. GETTY IMAGES

The New York Yankees beat the Houston Astros on Sunday to consolidate their best start since 2003 and complete their first four-game series sweep of the season.

The 'Bronx Bombers' defeated the Astros 4-3 on the road in another brilliant day for Soto, whose arrival has been instrumental in revitalising the struggling franchise.

The most successful team in US baseball history, with 27 World Series titles and 40 appearances in total, are coming off a forgettable season last year in which they missed the playoffs (for the first time since 2016), but appear to have been revived this year thanks to the contribution of Dominican-born outfielder Juan Soto Pacheco.

Last season was terrible for the New Yorkers, who spent $295 million on a disastrous campaign in which they didn't make it out of the regular season. After failing to make it to the post-season, the world's most famous team, with over 3.4 million followers on Instagram, underwent a major rebuild for this season.

This included the departure of nine players and the arrival of Dominican Soto, who arrived in New York last December in a trade with the San Diego Padres and with several million dollars (around €30 million) in his bank account.

The New York Yankees swept the series from the Houston Astros after beating them in all four games, sealing the victory in the fourth game at Minute Maid Park with 4 runs to 3. The New York team is looking to return to prominence and has begun a 2024 season that promises to bring them back to what they once were. 

At Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas, the New York bats once again struck fear into the hearts of the crowd. Singles by José Treviño and Jon Berti and a sacrifice by Aaron Judge gave the Yankees an early 3-1 lead, while Venezuelan José Altuve hit his first home run of the season for the 2022 World Series champion Astros. 

Clarke Schmidt pitched 5.1 innings for New York and left with men on base, including Altuve. Nicaraguan Jonathan Loáisiga came on in relief, but his pitches were off, allowing Altuve and Kyle Tucker to score runs that tied the game at 3-3. 

In the ninth inning, Juan Soto appeared to seal the victory for the Broncos with his third hit of the game, allowing Venezuela's Gleyber Torres to reach home plate.

The New York Yankees have kicked off an MLB season in which Shohei Ohtani is the main star. The Japanese is now the highest-paid player in the world following his move to the Los Angeles Dodgers, but also because his great on-field great performance (batting .385 in his first three games in blue has been overshadowed by a sports betting scandal.

Shohei Ohtani is under investigation by the MLB for the betting case involving his former interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, who is accused of stealing $4.5 million (€4.17 million) from his bank accounts to pay off debts to an illegal bookmaker.

Los Angeles Dodgers' Shohei Ohtani facing the St Louis Cardinals this season. GETTY IMAGES
Los Angeles Dodgers' Shohei Ohtani facing the St Louis Cardinals this season. GETTY IMAGES

If the link is proven, Major League Baseball could suspend Ohtani from one year to indefinitely, depending on the severity of the matter, for violating MLB Rule 21.

According to the interpreter, he only placed bets on NFL, soccer and college football games; never on baseball games, something that needs to be clarified beyond the fact that Ohtani claims he never bet on any game or asked anyone to bet on his behalf. "I never bet on baseball or any other sport, nor did I ever ask anyone to bet on my behalf. I never went to a bookmaker to bet on sports."

Mizuhara, his former interpreter, stole money from his bank account. "Ippei stole money from my account and told lies," the Japanese player said in his defence.