Returning home to face the Texas Rangers, the New York Yankees did their part and took three of four contests from the AL West cellar dwellers. In the process, the Yankees ran their record of consecutive winning seasons at home to 27, dating back to 1992. While the team in New England seemingly never loses, the Yankees did take advantage of teams beating up on each other in the tightening AL West.
Playing powerball, the Yankees enjoyed some home cooking and found the seats five times. Doing damage against a team they should beat soundly, the Bronx Bombers handled the Rangers 7-3.
HICKS TO THE STICKS
Facing Ariel Jurado, the pinstripes pounced early in the first frame. After Didi Gregorius coaxed a two-out walk, Aaron Hicks drilled home run No. 20 into the upper deck in right field, posting the club to a 2-0 advantage. Hicks’ home run gave the Yankees a troika of outfielders with 20 or more home runs for the first time in a season since Hideki Matsui, Bernie Williams and Gary Sheffield turned the trick in 2004.
In the fourth, the Yankees longball parade continued. Following a Greg Bird walk, Miguel Andujar smashed a two-run homer to left. Ensuing batter Neil Walker clocked a solo shot to right, increasing the New York lead to 5-1.
Facing Matt Moore in the sixth inning, Walker went deep for the second time, this time from the right side, homering to left. It marked a first in Walker’s career and capped the Yankees scoring with a 7-1 lead.
J.A. Happ didn’t miss a beat from his spell on the disabled list. Happ held the Rangers without a hit through the first 3.2 frames. On his return outing, Happ posted a ledger of six innings, nine K’s, three runs, four hits and one walk. A solo home run to Jurickson Profar in the fourth and a two-run double to right by Shin-Soo Choo in the fifth were the main blows yielded by Happ in an otherwise quality start.
After a scoreless seventh from David Robertson, Dellin Betances was downright filthy in the eighth. Betances had his nasty hook working in full effect. Betances worked a flawless frame with one strikeout.
Aroldis Chapman looked rusty again until he wasn’t. Getting some work in a non-save situation, the Yankees closer appeared to turn it on midstream after issuing a pair of walks in the ninth. A force out and a pair of K’s helped Chapman squash the threat and secure a Yankees victory.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times, maybe find a different strategy to get a guy out. Last week it was Steve Pearce, this time it was Ronald Guzman with a three home run game, becoming the first rookie to accomplish the feat against the Yankees. Needless to say, the 12-7 loss was worse than the score would indicate.
In his first few outings off the disabled list, Masahiro Tanaka drastically cut down on allowing the longball. Against the Rangers, such was not the case. Adrian Beltre tagged Tanaka with a two-run tater in the fourth and Guzman clocked a solo shot to right-center as well. After yielding a two-run double to Elvis Andrus in the fifth, one could argue Tanaka and his high pitch count should’ve been lifted through five frames.
Is it me or has A.J. Cole been awful since the Yankees traded Adam Warren? Following this outing, Cole has been pitching to a 6.43 ERA in his past four outings. Cole would let up three runs in the sixth and be allowed to pitch the seventh, where he would cough up Guzman’s third home run of the night.
OFFENSE CHIPS AWAY
There were some highlights on the offensive side for the Bronx Bombers. Brett Gardner went deep with a solo shot in the fifth, for home run No. 10. In the sixth, Miguel Andujar plated a run with a ground-rule double and Luke Voit singled home a run. Austin Romine accounted for the rest of the offensive output with home run No. 7 in the seventh and a two-run single during the eighth inning.
Despite the rain, starting Shane Robinson and Walker in the outfield and a rocky bullpen, the Yankees were able to persevere and hold on for the 5-3 victory.
ON THE BOARD IN A HURRY
At DH, Stanton continued to carry the Yankees on one leg. Facing Drew Hutchison, Stanton sent a laser to left for home run No. 29 and provided the pinstripes with a 1-0 advantage in the first inning.
Later in the frame, Andujar legged out a two-out infield single. Bird followed with an RBI-double to left-center, doubling the New York lead.
GOOD ENOUGH TO LYNN
Lance Lynn wasn’t perfect but he pitched well enough to the scoreboard to keep the Yankees in front. Given his impending free agent status, if you’re not going to bring him back, one could argue the Yankees could’ve trotted him back out for the sixth. On the whole, Lynn worked five frames, fanning eight, walking three, while allowing one run on three hits. An RBI-single to right by Andrus in the third was the only major damage inflicted upon Lynn.
Starting off the sixth was Bird with another double, this time to right. With one down, Texas called upon Jeffrey Springs from the bullpen. After the switch, Walker lined an RBI-single to left. It’s the old baseball adage, if you can hit, they’ll find a spot for you.
Following an outing where he fanned three in what essentially amounted to mop up duty the night before, Zach Britton did his best Felix Heredia impression. After recording the first two outs, Britton fell apart, yielding consecutive hits to Choo and Odor and consecutive walks to Andrus and Beltre, walking in a run.
The craziness didn’t end there. Betances balked in the tying run before whiffing Profar to squash the threat.
THAT THING YOU ANDU
With a potential washout looming, the Bronx Bombers made sure to regain the lead in the home half of the seventh. Stanton started the inning with a single to center off Chris Martin. Delivering the deciding blow was Andujar, with a two-out, two-run tater to right. It was home run No. 17 on the season for the frontrunner for AL Rookie of the Year and a timely one at that.
Dealing with a stronger downpour, Chapman dealt with slick conditions during the ninth. After yielding a base hit to Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Chapman got Choo to go down looking. Chapman would allow a single to Odor and get Andrus to pop out to first base on the infield fly rule before hitting Beltre on the thigh to load the bases. A strikeout of Profar on a full count would calm the commotion and help the Yankees earn the win.
Closing out their series with a Sunday matinee, it was pretty much smooth sailing for the Yankees in their 7-2 victory. Pitching and defense and “Didi-fense,” was the name of the game.
SMOOTH SAILING SABATHIA
It wasn’t after a loss but CC Sabathia still gave the pinstripes a sense of calmness on the bump. The big man looks like he’s back in full stride again. Tossing six scoreless frames, Sabathia yielded one hit, three walks and whiffed seven. Only one ball (a fly out to center) left the infield.
As he did Saturday, Stanton helped the Bronx Bombers jump out to an early lead in the first frame on Sunday. Facing Martin Perez, Stanton smashed a solo shot to left for home run No. 30 on the campaign. Serving as DH, the Yankees home run leader continued to carry the club on his back.
After an RBI-single by Gardner made it 7-0 in the sixth, the Yankees called on Sonny Gray in the seventh. Apparently Gray is effective against the Kansas City Royals, Chicago White Sox. Pitching out of the pen again, Gray coughed up two runs on five hits in one inning and couldn’t retire a batter in the eighth. As was the case when Gray’s ineffectiveness against the Baltimore Orioles meant using up Lynn, such was the case with Jonathan Holder, who held off the Rangers with a pair of scoreless frames and four K’s but needed 44 pitches to get the job done.
At 74-43, the Yankees host the New York Mets on Monday night at Yankee Stadium.
Pitching probables, Jacob deGrom vs. Luis Severino.