After a gut-punch of a loss in the cornfields on Thursday, tonight’s game against the White Sox had all the makings of a second consecutive heartbreaker. Extra innings, blown leads, and Albert Abreu in a save situation improbably added up to a 7-5 win for the Yankees in Chicago, evening the series at one game apiece. To the takeaways:
Judge and Gallo in the clutch. The Yankees were in a position to win today’s game thanks in very large part to Aaron Judge, who had one of his best games of the season today. He went 3-for-4 with four RBIs, all of which were of the go-ahead variety. Judge started his productivity early, hitting a sacrifice fly with one out in the first to plate DJ LeMahieu and give the Yankees an early lead. In the top of the 3rd, with the score tied at 2, he hit a two-out double to bring Brett Gardner home to once again put the Yankees on top. In the 8th, the score now 3-3, he homered off Craig Kimbrel to give the Yankees a 4-3 advantage, and singled Gardner home in the 10th to put the Yankees up 5-4. He had great at bats all night and since the beginning of August he’s hitting .327 (18 for 55) with 5 home runs.
Joey Gallo also came through today, hitting two home runs including a crucial 2-run 10th-inning blast against Liam Hendriks that gave the Yankees a 7-4 lead. He also walked once, and has now drawn at least one walk in 8 of his last 10 games.
Taillon battles through. Jameson Taillon has been the surprising ace for the Yankees over the past few months; since his disastrous start on June 12 against the Phillies, Taillon was 6-0 with a 2.11 ERA coming into this game, and had lowered his season ERA from 5.72 to 3.82. Taillon had his worst start in a while today, but still got the job done. He appeared to not have great control of his fastball, and often missed up and in the middle of the strike zone, which can be dangerous against an offensively strong team like the White Sox; he gave up single runs in each of his first three innings of work, but kept the Yankees in the game and finished with three runs allowed in five innings with four strikeouts.
Gardner quietly productive. A quieter star today was Brett Gardner, who contributed in significant ways on all sides of the ball. He hit a two-out triple in the third inning, scoring on Judge’s double, and made a few crucial plays in the outfield in the third and sixth innings on drives to the center field wall that could have resulted in big offensive innings for the White Sox. In the 10th, he started as the ghost runner on second base, and took third on a pitch in the dirt that barely got away from Chicago catcher Zack Collins, making it easy for him to then score on Judge’s single. Much has been made this year of Gardner’s decline, but he’s still a great example of what can happen when you properly utilize speed on the basepaths.
Green and Britton’s struggles continue, but the Yankees close it out. That was the good – now, for the bad. Chad Green and Zack Britton once again struggled, and almost combined to cost the Yankees the game. Green’s struggles seemed isolated – he came in in the 8th inning to relieve Wandy Peralta, gave up a single, and struck out Collins on a 98 mph fastball. He returned in the 9th trying to protect a 4-3 lead, got the first two outs, and then hung a curveball to Jose Abreu who hit it out to tie the game. That seemed to be a case of poor pitch selection, as Abreu had not seemed like he was catching up to Green’s fastball throughout the at-bat, but was reminiscent of several other heartbreakers Green has been involved with this year, including the July 11 loss in Houston and the July 22 loss in Boston.
Zack Britton, on the other hand, struggled from the jump as he was brought in in the 10th inning to close out what was then a 7-4 game. Britton really seems out of his element right now, as he reportedly told Aaron Boone after Thursday’s loss that he “didn’t deserve” to be used in save situations and functionally tried to remove himself from the closer’s role. He retired the first batter he faced, Yoan Moncada, on a deep fly out which drove ghost runner Eloy Jimenez to third, then walked Brian Goodwin on four pitches, gave up a hard RBI single to Luis Robert, and walked Andrew Vaughn, again on four pitches. He seemed visibly shaken throughout the inning and was removed with the bases loaded and one run already in.
Albert Abreu got the call to finish out the game. After retiring Seby Zavala on a lineout, he had to face Tim Anderson, who is not only one of the game’s most dangerous hitters but who had already sent the Yankees home disappointed once this series. After a 6-pitch at bat, however, Abreu solicited a game-ending ground ball to third base.
- Jonathan Loaisiga was solid in his 1.1 innings of relief. He came in in the 6th with the bases loaded and one out and induced a force out at home and a fly out, dialing his fastball up to 100mph to get out of the inning.
- The Yankees continued their dominance of Liam Hendriks, who has now given up 10 home runs to the Bombers in only 21 innings over the course of his career. He was removed to boos from his home crowd after surrendering three runs in one third of an inning in the 10th.
- DJ LeMahieu picked up two hits today, and now has a 7-game hit streak and an 11-game on-base streak.
- Aaron Judge’s 8th-inning home run was the 145th of his career, which passes Reggie Jackson for 31st on the Yankees’ all time list.
- This was Aaron Boone’s 500th game as Yankees’ manager, and his 300th win.
- The Yankees are now 64-52, tying their season-high at 12 games over .500.