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Series Recap: Scrappy Yankees snag series from Angels

During this series, the New York Yankees ran their winning streak to six straight and scrapped and battled for their third consecutive series victory. Despite a frustrating finale, the Yankees managed to fly across the country and take three of four from the Los Angeles Angels. You may have been sleeping with the late start times but you weren’t dreaming, the Yankees pulled it off.

GAME 1

In years past the Angels would’ve had the Yankees’ number and this would’ve been a lengthy, frustrating loss. Yet, it was a fairly entertaining game if you managed to make it through the 14-inning affair. Luckily I was awake enough to witness Gio Urshela and his defensive and offensive exploits, win the game for a second time and the Yankees held on for a 4-3 victory.

VOIT WASTES NO TIME

Luke Voit helped jump the Bronx Bombers on the board with a solo home run to center off Matt Harvey in the first frame. Voit’s home run extended his consecutive game streak of reaching base safely to 33.

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HAPPY CAMPER

J.A. Happ rebounded from a second-inning two-run homer to center by Jonathan Lucroy. Three of Happ’s five strikeouts came via the breaking ball, rather than sole reliance on the four-seam fastball up in the zone. Happ’s ledger included seven innings, three hits, two runs, two walks, and five strikeouts.

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MANUFACTURING RUNS

New York bounced back to tie the game in the third inning. Kyle Higashioka set the table with a double to center. With one out Brett Gardner and Voit coaxed consecutive walks. A sacrifice fly to right by Gleyber Torres squared the game at two.

Other than some defensive exploits not much happened offensively after Urshela’s hit in the fourth inning, until about the 12th inning.

In that 12th inning, the Yankees broke through Taylor Cole. Clint Frazier revved it up with a double to right. After a Mike Tauchman ground out moved Frazier to third, Mike Ford was intentionally walked and Urshela lifted a sacrifice fly RBI to center and put the Yankees ahead 3-2.

BULLPEN UP AND DOWN

Adam Ottavino rebounded nicely from Sunday with his two scoreless frames. Tommy Kahnle was nasty with his fastball and changeup combination in his one scoreless inning. Luis Cessa also battled well with his one scoreless frame.

Yet, in the 12th, Aroldis Chapman got erratic and squeezed too. Kevan Smith singled to left to start the threat and was pulled for pinch-runner Peter Bourjos. Bourjos swiped second base and with two outs, Chapman hit Zack Cozart. The ensuing batter Brian Goodwin singled to center to plate Bourjos and even the contest at three.

SILLY SEASON AND GIO A HERO AGAIN

Stuff got weird in the 14th. Torres struck out swinging against Luke Bard but reached first base safely when Lucroy botched a throw to first on a third strike call. After Frazier whiffed, Torres advanced to second base on a wild pitch. After Tauchman whiffed, the Angels intentionally walked Ford for the second time. Imagine that, Ford had more intentional walks than career hits? Following a steal of third base by Torres, Urshela made the Halos pay with a go-ahead RBI-single to center, and the Yankees led 4-3.

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In the bottom half of the inning, Jonathan Holder, who had one of his better outings of late, and started by whiffing Mike Trout in the 13th, clamped down on the Angels in the 14th. With two down and the Angels having exhausted their position players and designated hitter, the Yankees intentionally walked Kole Calhoun to pitch to Trevor Cahill, a starting pitcher. Holder would fan Cahill to end the game.

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GAME 2

This game was closer than it needed to be but the Yankees kept rolling with the punches with Frazier on the bench and staved off the Angels 7-5.

DO THE LUKEY HOP

For the second time in as many nights, Voit led the charge with a first-inning solo smash to center, giving the Bronx Bombers a 1-0 advantage. The bomb off Chris Stratton extended Voit’s on-base streak to 34 consecutive contests.

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SITUATIONAL BASEBALL

In the second stanza, the Yankees moved another run across the plate with some small ball. Ford set the table with a single to right. Tauchman coaxed a walk. Thairo Estrada, who recorded two hits on the evening, notched his first big league hit with a one-out single to right. The ensuing batter Wade, who made a nice catch on the track in left in the first and laid down a picture perfect bunt in the fourth, beat out a potential double-play ball and plated Ford.

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BUILT FORD TOUGH

New York built on its lead in the fifth frame. Gardner, who’s 6-of-9 hitting out of the three hole and had a four-hit evening, started the Yankees off with a one-out single to left.

With two down, Ford clocked his first major league home run to right and it was a no doubt about it two-run tater. No wonder the Angels intentionally walked him twice the evening before. Other than the “prospect expectations,” is there really any difference between Ford and Greg Bird in terms of production at this point?

DOMINGO DOMINATES

One point which often goes ignored for all of the Yankees’ problems with injuries is how sketchy some of these opposing lineups are across the American League. The AL is so top-heavy with so many teams tanking and you look at the Angels and it’s Trout and a lot left to be desired. Hence, Domingo German continued the solid string of Yankee starts on the bump.

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German gave a tired Yankee pen a reprieve with 6.2 frames, allowing one run on four hits and one walk, fanning five.

SCRATCH AWAY SEVENTH

Adding on with what would prove to be some important runs, the Yankees scratched off a couple more runs against Los Angeles reliever Justin Anderson. Voit set the tone with a walk. Gardner would follow with a double to left. Torres plated Voit with a single to left. Facing reliever Sam Freeman, Urshela, pinch-hitting for Ford, reached on a fielder’s choice which scored Gardner.

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THAT’S TWO THUS FAR LUKE

More important insurance came in the eighth inning, as Voit hammered his second home run of the contest to right off Freeman.

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BANGING CHAD

I don’t know what happened to Chad Green but right now he looks like the 2019 version of 2018 Kahnle. During the eighth inning, Green didn’t record an out and yielded a grand slam to center by Justin Bour. Is it me or does it feel like Green is getting beat on his secondary pitches? In any event, the grand slam cut the advantage to 7-5 but luckily Cessa was able to keep the Angels down and Britton registered the save in the ninth. Green was optioned to Triple-A after the game.

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GAME 3

Asleep or awake, one may not have believed what transpired in the Yankees 6-5Ā  comeback victory. The only thing I can compare it to is when the bottom of the order of your little league team comes up with kids “looking for a walk” and are able to grind and fight and rally.

LOW BATTERY

Incredibly not clicking out of all of this was some of the Yankee veterans still in the mix. CC Sabathia was chasing career strikeout No. 3,000 against a Halos lineup with more hackers than WikiLeaks. Gary Sanchez made an unceremonious return behind the plate with an error and the golden sombrero of four strikeouts at the dish.

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Andrelton Simmons took Sabathia yard in the first and fourth and Kole Calhoun smacked a three-run bomb to right in the fourth as well. The Sanchez error on a Goodwin bunt in the fourth and Wade allowing two Pujols hits, including one in the fourth, to fall in front of him in left, didn’t help Sabathia’s cause, nor did the lineup starting off 0-for-12.

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Sabathia would only strike out as many as he would allow home runs (three) in five frames, yielding five runs (four earned) on six hits.

SCRAPPY SIXTH

The Godfather Part III Yankees pulled everyone back in during the sixth inning. Facing Luis Garcia, Wade set the table with an infield single. LeMahieu found his hitting shoes again and broke the shutout with an RBI-double to left. A Voit single to center advanced LeMahieu to third. With two down, a passed ball by Lucroy enabled LeMahieu to scamper home.

SAGE SEVENTH

Facing Felix Pena in the seventh, Ford coaxed a walk, Urshela singled to center, Tauchman walked and Wade earned a free pass and RBI on four consecutive balls. It was unreal.

With Ty Buttrey in the game, LeMahieu lifted a sacrifice fly RBI to left. The ensuing batter Voit grounded into a fielder’s choice at short as Simmons came home but a nice slide by Tauchman tied the game at five.

Adding to the surreal inning was perhaps the hardest hit ball of the inning by Gardner, which of course was flagged down by Trout in center and on the play Wade was called out on a hidden ball trick at second base in one of that non-spirit of the replay rule type plays to end the threat.

LATE LASAGNA

Sometimes it gets late and you’re hungry and what else are you going to do but heat up some Stouffer’s lasagna, am I right? The Yankees warmed up Jonathan Loaisiga and he was hot to the task. Loaisiga pulled a Game 7, 2003 ALCS, Mariano Rivera out of his hat and tossed three scoreless frames to make the New York rally hold up.

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NO MORE WADING AROUND

The gritty gutty Yankees found more two-out magic in the ninth. Wade atoned for his earlier mistake with a single to right and a steal of second. A pumped-up LeMahieu recorded the go-ahead run with a laser RBI-single to right, making it 6-5 Yankees.

CHAP BACK

Chapman rebounded in the ninth, even holding the pinch-runner Bourjos at first base, sealing the victory without much drama.

GAME 4

In the series finale, the Angels flipped the script and it was a frustrating kind of loss that the Yankees would endure during the Joe Torre era when Anaheim would have their number. An early 4-0 advantage on cruise control quickly turned into a 6-4 deficit and ultimately an 11-5 loss.

SPEED KILLS

The combination of Wade and LeMahieu was right back at it in the third inning. Facing Cahill, Wade reached on an infield single to second. After swiping second and third, Wade scored on a base hit to center by LeMahieu.

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A HAPPY FELLA

In the fourth frame, Urshela smashed a solo shot off Cahill to left-center for his first as a Yankee, doubling the lead to 2-0.

SCRAPPY FIFTH

New York would double its lead again in the fifth inning but it also felt like there was a knockout blow left languishing. Voit and Gardner reached on consecutive singles and Sanchez loaded the bases on a walk. With Justin Anderson on, Tauchman whiffed and Voit scored on a wild pitch. A single to center by Torres would make it 4-0. Yet, Ford would pop out to third and Urshela flew out to center to end the threat.

START NO FINISH TANAKA

Masahiro Tanaka had previously dominated the Angels to this point and had yet to lose to them. Tanaka was fairly economical and in cruise control until the fifth frame when he struggled with control of his off-speed stuff and couldn’t put the Halos away. The home run also became a bugaboo with La Stella and Calhoun squaring the contest at four on a pair of two-run home runs.

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During the sixth, Tanaka walked two around two pop outs and had to be lifted. Holder couldn’t hold it down either and Sanchez, who’d made a nice throw on a strike ’em out throw ’em out double-play, allowed a passed ball. David Fletcher busted the game open with a two-out, two-run single to left.

Things wouldn’t get much better in the sloppy seventh. Holder issued a leadoff walk to Calhoun and was lifted for Stephen Tarpley, who walked Trout. Calhoun moved to third on a passed ball by Sanchez. After Bour struck out, Tarpley was lifted for Joseph Harvey, who allowed a steal to Trout. Two runs came around on a Simmons single and error by Urshela. Consecutive walks to Goodwin and Lucroy, followed by a ground out by La Stella, set the stage for another two-out blow by Fletcher, a bases-clearing triple.

ON DECK

At 14-11, the Yankees move up to Northern California to take on the San Francisco Giants in a three-game series starting Friday evening.

Pitching probables, James Paxton vs. Madison Bumgarner, J.A. Happ vs. Derek Holland, Domingo German vs. Dereck Rodriguez.

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