Capping off a 5-2 homestand at Yankee Stadium, the New York Yankees earned another series victory against a winning club, taking three of four from the Seattle Mariners. All around the pinstripes received solid defense and timely hits and kept it rolling in the Bronx.
Granted they have a lot of mileage on those arms but I never thought I’d see the day where a pitching matchup between Felix Hernandez and CC Sabathia would yield a combined five home runs. This one went from a runaway to some tense moments to ultimately a relatively easy 7-3 win for the pinstripes.
In this chess match, the Bronx Bombers moved quickly and left the king exposed. Right off the rip, DJ LeMahieu extended his hitting streak to eight straight with a ground-rule double to left in the first. Luke Voit followed with king-maker clout on a two-run tater to left. The launch job was Voit’s tenth of the campaign.
Luke Voit is a threat every time he comes to the plate.
As the inning continued, Mike Tauchman hit a ground-rule double to left and LeMahieu plated him with an RBI-single to left for a 6-0 advantage.
In the third, a friendly Stadium wall flap in right enabled Gardner to leg out a two-out triple. Urshela would send him home with an RBI-single to left.
CC AND SOLID D
CC Sabathia made his first home start since surpassing 3,000 strikeouts. The veteran lefty was solid the first time through the order and whiffed five batters, including three of the first five batters he faced, in five frames. A two-run homer to center by Domingo Santana in the fourth and a solo shot to right by Dee Gordon in the fifth made it a little dicey but Sabathia was able to work out of trouble and earn career victory No. 248. Sabathia also tied Allie “Superchief” Reynolds for tenth in franchise history with 131 victories in pinstripes.
There was also helpful defense provided by Urshela and Estrada for that matter. Urshela made a solid leaping grab on a ball hit by Omar Narvaez on the first out of the third and a nice barehand putout of a Tim Beckham grounder on the first out of the fourth. Flashbacks of Scott Brosius.
Along with Ottavino, Zack Britton rebounded with a scoreless frame and Luis Cessa rounded it out with two whiffs in a scoreless ninth.
Hopefully, you didn’t go to bed mad after the rain delay because it was bedlam in the Bronx! For the longest stretch, the Yankees couldn’t get out of their own way but the Mariners gave them an opening and they took advantage for the 5-4 walk-off win.
MAD MASA AND MISUNDERSTANDING
Masahiro Tanaka gave the pinstripes length but was far from a perfect form with virtually no splitter. After each team scrapped out a run apiece early, Tanaka pitched out of trouble in the fourth following a flyball to right-center off the bat of Jay Bruce, which fell between Gardner and Clint Frazier. Tanaka was not pleased and was also visibly frustrated when Frazier had a ball hit by Beckham go off his glove for a two-base error in the seventh. Mind you I didn’t see any fielder’s clap back when Tanaka yielded his requisite home run to Edwin Encarnacion in the sixth on a 2-0 splitter.
Tanaka went 6.2 frames, allowing five hits, two walks, two runs, striking out four.
WHEN IT RAINS IT POURS
The end of the rain delay didn’t mean the end of the rain or sloppy play. Tommy Kahnle would lose his scoreless streak the hard way, granted none of the runs were earned.
After Mitch Haniger reached on a one-out single to right, Daniel Vogelbach reached on a rare error by a shifting Urshela. With two down, Domingo Santana singled home a run to left. The ensuing batter Bruce doubled home a run on a tough pop beyond third which evaded Urshela.
GIO’S ATONEMENT AND LEMAHIEU’S LE WALK-OFF
In football, if you have a quarterback controversy, you don’t have a quarterback. In baseball, if you go closer by committee, you don’t have a closer. After the Yankees inched back on a wild pitch in the eighth, they popped off on ex-Yankee Anthony Swarzak and the other alleged closer Roenis Elias.
Torres set the table with a one-out single to center. The ensuing batter Urshela went higher and deeper to center, Monument Park to be precise, with a game-tying two-run tater. Call me sacrilegious but this dude has some Brosius vibes.
Cameron Maybin kept the hits coming with his tenth hit in as many games with the Yankees and his single to right sent Swarzak to the showers.
Maybin kept his wheels going by stealing second against Elias.
With two-down, LeMahieu, he of the nine-game hitting streak, singled to right and a solid send by third base coach Phil Nevin and slide by Maybin was enough for the pinstripes to squeak out the walk-off victory.
I’m not sure what was on the inside of Yusei Kikuchi’s brim but the Yankees’ bats found themselves in a sticky situation. The pitching wasn’t any better and the end result was a 10-1 snoozer.
NO WAY OUT
Jonathan Loaisiga was firing heat but didn’t have an out pitch against the M’s bats. Loaisiga yielded four runs on six hits and two walks in four frames, including a solo home run to Haniger in the third.
Luis Cessa, who followed, fared somewhat better, fanning five in three frames, yielding a home run to Encarnacion in the fifth. Perhaps Cessa has earned a start the next time around, granted he’s not exactly as stretched out as he was during spring training.
Jake Barrett took one for the team in the final two innings, allowing five runs on 48 pitches, with a bus trip back to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre as his reward. Barrett gave up a home run to Healy, who was a beast with four hits on the evening.
STUCK IN NEUTRAL
Either they didn’t see it or they didn’t want to see it until the eighth inning but there’ was definitely something going on underneath Kikuchi’s cap. The Yankees didn’t muster a hit until Tauchman doubled with one out in the sixth. New York would push home a run after LeMahieu extended his hitting streak to ten straight to put runners on the corners and a sacrifice fly by Voit would send Tauchman home.
Considering the pitching matchup, this game had all the trappings of a slugfest. Yet, it wound up a 3-1 Yankees victory because that’s baseball Suzyn.
HAPPY HAPPY JOY JOY
J.A. Happ was effectively wild. I mean, dude was like Arianna Grande, working side to side, recording quite a few swinging strikeouts off both sides of the plate. Happ registered seven strikeouts in five frames, allowing zero runs and not allowing a hit until a two-out single by Tom Murphy in the fifth. The closest thing to a bomb directed at Happ was the f-bombs from Dee Gordon when he was plunked on the hand in the third and had to leave the game.
In a tight contest, the New York defense shined late. With one out and the bases loaded in the sixth, Adam Ottavino coaxed a 6-6-3 double-play out of Domingo Santana, on a beautiful take charge play by Torres.
With Kahnle on in the seventh, Maybin made a sparkling play to rob Healy in right. Urshela, on as a defensive replacement for Miguel Andujar at third base, took care of a tough short hop off the bat of Tim Beckham and recorded the second out. Kahnle’s nasty changeup sent Daniel Vogelbach, “Vogel-back” to the bench to end the inning.
What looked at first glance like nice insurance tack on runs proved to be much more in the eighth inning. Facing Connor Sadzeck, LeMahieu, who registered another multi-hit contest and extended his hit streak to eleven straight, singled to center, past a diving Encarnacion, who was playing out of position at second base. Gary Sanchez followed with a single to left. A force out grounder by Gardner made it runners at the corners. After Gardner stole second, Urshela was able to fight off an up and in pitch and send it to right for a two-run single, making it 3-0.