Yankees 9, Red Sox 2…
The most critical play of the game might have been when the Yankees challenged the call in the bottom of the 6th. The bases were loaded and two outs for Gary Sanchez. He hit a hard smash to third. Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers dove to stop the ball and got up, throwing the ball to first. The ref signaled out and it appeared the inning was over. But hold on, the Yankees challenged the play and replay showed that Sanchez had reached first just ahead of the ball. The call was overturned and the inning continued. Six runs later and the Yankees had placed a dagger in Boston’s heart.
The Yankees had runners at third in the first two innings but nothing to show for it. Luis Severino was dominating the Red Sox but the Yankees were getting their chances against Boston starter Chris Sale. Finally, to open the bottom of the 3rd, Chase Headley sent a Sale pitch into the left field stands (just over the wall).
In the bottom of the 4th, the long ball continued to be the only weapon. Matt Holliday, after battling off a few pitches, blasted a solo shot to the deepest part of the park in center and was followed by Todd Frazier’s homer to left (a few rows back). The Yankees had taken a 3-0 lead.
When Chris Sale was pulled with one out and runner at first in the top of the 5th inning, he was laboring and had thrown 109 pitches. It’s amazing that as dominant as Sale has been this year against the Yankees, he failed to win a game in four tries.
|Credit: Rich Schultz-Getty Images|
The Sox finally got on the board in the top of the 6th. Eduardo Nunez made it to first with one out when Todd Frazier failed to handle a grounder to third and the ball rolled into left field. Following the second out by Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts hit a grounder to third but Frazier’s low throw bounced past first baseman Chase Headley. Frazier’s second error of the inning. The runners moved up to second and third. Nunez came home to score when a low Sevy pitch got past Gary Sanchez to the backstop. 3-1, Yankees. Boston was unable to bring Betts home from third when Mitch Moreland struck out swinging. It would be Luis Severino’s final pitch but what a game for the young right-hander! Two hits, one run (but none earned), no walks and nine strikeouts. Chris Sale may very well win the AL Cy Young Award (I know, Corey Kluber will have something to say about that) but on this day, Luis Severino was better.
|Credit: Corey Sipkin-NY Post|
With Boston’s Joe Kelly on the mound, Matt Holliday opened the bottom of the 6th by working a walk. Kelly struck out Todd Frazier and was replaced by Robby Scott. Jacoby Ellsbury greeted Scott with a single lined to right. Brett Gardner walked and the bases were full of Yanks. The Sox made another pitching move and brought in former New York Met Addison Reed. Reed struck out Chase Headley for the second out. Gary Sanchez was next. During the at-bat, Red Sox pitching coach Carl Willis was barking about balls and strikes from the Boston dugout when he felt several calls were missed. He got an early departure from the game for his troubles. Sanchez hit the ball to third and it appeared that he was out at first for the final out. The play was incredibly close but I was uncertain. While Yankee players were signaling safe in the dugout, the Yankees challenged the play and the call was overturned when it showed El Gary’s foot touching first base just ahead of the throw. The safe call validated Holliday’s run. It was 4-1 Yankees.
Starlin Castro kept the inning going with a hard liner to right. The ball went to the wall for a double and all three baserunners scored. Minutes earlier, the game had been a tight pitching duel and now the Yankees had a six-run lead. It brought Aaron Judge to the plate. Boom! No doubt about it as the ball sailed 469 feet into the left field seats at an exit velocity of 115.1 mph.
|Credit: Bill Kostroun-Associated Press|
From there, it was about riding the bullpen to victory. Despite the eight-run lead, it was a slightly bumpy ride. Tommy Kahnle was first. He pitched the top of the 7th in relief of Severino after Manager Joe Girardi decided against bringing Sevy back out after the long bottom of the 6th. Kahnle looked rusty as he walked the first batter, Dustin Pedroia. Deven Marrero was brought in to pinch-run for Pedroia. Rafael Devers singled to left which moved Marrero to second and no outs. Fortunately, Kahnle struck out the next two batters and got the final out when Jackie Bradley, Jr popped out to third in foul territory.
Chasen Shreve took over in the 8th. Given his recent struggles, I felt far from secure. But he proved me wrong by retiring the three batters he faced (two by strikeout). For the 9th, Girardi brought in Giovanny Gallegos. I know that the Yankees had a big lead, but I probably would have gone with Aroldis Chapman for no other reason than to get him some work. Oh well, they pay Girardi to make the decisions. Sam Travis was up first and he singled to left, just past Todd Frazier at third. A wild pitch (high throw from Gallegos) moved Travis to second. Gallegos was looking a bit like a rookie but then he struck out Deven Marrero. A groundout by Rafael Devers moved Travis to third. Blake Swihart came in, pinch-hitting for Hanley Ramirez, and drew a walk. Sandy Leon’s single to left scored Travis. Swihart moved to second. Gallegos, with Aroldis Chapman warming up, finally got Jackie Bradley, Jr to swing at the third strike to end the game. The Yankees win!
|Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports|
The Yankees (73-63) moved to within 3 1/2 games of the Red Sox with the win in the final head-to-head match-up between the two teams. The Yankees took the season series, 11 games to 8. This was a huge series. If the results had been in reverse, the Yankees could have potentially been looking up in the Wild Card Standings and holding a distant view of the top of the AL East. Instead, they are still within striking distance for the division crown and continue to hold the edge in the Wild Card. The Yankees maintained their 3 1/2 game advantage over the Baltimore Orioles. The O’s fought back against the Toronto Blue Jays to win 5-4 in 12 innings. The Minnesota Twins lost (5-4 to the Kansas City Royals) so the Yankees increased their Wild Card lead to two games.
Luis Severino (12-6) was outstanding. The guy welcomes the challenge of continually facing the top aces in the game. Sevy became the youngest Yankees pitcher to record 200 strikeouts in a season by age 23 since Al Downing did it back in 1964 with 217 strikeouts.
|Credit: Rich Schultz-Getty Images|
It was good to see Aaron Judge hit his 38th home run. Cody Bellinger of the Los Angeles Dodgers had hit his 36th earlier in the day. The rookies might not reach Mark McGwire’s rookie record of 49 (set in 1987) but they’re certainly giving it a try.
Credit to Gary Sanchez for his effort to get to first base in the 6th inning. I was listening to sports announcers earlier in the day who were complaining about Robinson Cano’s “60% effort”, at times, when running to first base. Sanchez showed that hustle can make a difference.
Next Up: Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards, Baltimore, Maryland…
After playing a Sunday night game in New York, the Yankees turn right around and play an afternoon game in Baltimore. It probably feels like a night-day double-header. No rest for the wicked…or in this case, no rest for the good guys.
Here are the scheduled pitching match-ups:
Yankees: Jordan Montgomery (7-7, 4.15 ERA)
Orioles: Dylan Bundy (13-8, 3.94 ERA)
Yankees: CC Sabathia (11-5, 3.71 ERA)
Orioles: Ubaldo Jimenez (5-9, 6.85 ERA)
Yankees: Sonny Gray (8-9, 3.36 ERA)
Orioles: Jeremy Hellickson (2-3, 6.55 ERA)
I was glad to see the Yankees replace Jaime Garcia with Jordan Montgomery. Not that Monty pitched much better than Garcia last time out (the actual line was worse) but I trust Monty more with the chips on the line. Hopefully the Yankees can take this series to hold off the recent charge by the Orioles.
Odds & Ends…
The Yankees have placed OF Aaron Hicks on the 10-day DL with a left oblique strain. After missing time earlier this summer with a right oblique strain, maybe Hicks should invest in a new personal trainer. Hopefully this is not the end for Hicks’ 2017 season. LHP Caleb Smith was recalled from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to take A-A-Ron’s roster spot.
Have a great Monday! It’s Labor Day but let’s hope it is not too much labor to carve out the O’s. Go Yankees!