It was good while it lasted.
The Yankees 13-game win streak was snapped this afternoon with a 3-2 loss against the Oakland Athletics, their first since the Field of Dreams game on August 12. The offense was completely shut down by Frankie Montas, a ninth-inning rally fell short, and the Yankees will now have to start a new streak tomorrow in the series finale. To the takeaways:
Nestor not nasty enough. Nestor Cortes didn’t have his best day today but was good enough to keep the Yankees in the game. His fastball often sat low-90s in the middle of the zone, which could have been a recipe for disaster, but despite jams in the second and third innings only gave up three runs in 5.1 frames, striking out four and walking three.
Most of the damage against Cortes came in the second inning with two outs; he’d given up some hard contact to get the first few outs on fly balls before allowing a double to Chad Pinder. Aaron Boone thought Pinder was out at second on the relay, despite replay showing him clearly safe, and inexplicably wasted a challenge trying to get it overturned. Cortes then walked Sean Murphy and gave up a single to Tony Kemp to bring the score to 1-0 with runners on the corners. Third base umpire Will Little then called a balk on Cortes to bring in the second run, which neither Cortes nor Boone seemed happy about, but both managed to avoid ejection. Cortes gave up his final run of the afternoon on a Matt Chapman home run in the bottom of the fourth.
The Yankees had a rally in their bones, but couldn’t quite close the gap. For eight innings, the Yankees’ offense was completely missing. Frankie Montas, whom I profiled in Thursday’s series preview, was absolutely dominant all afternoon. He gave up two hits, both to Aaron Judge, over seven innings, allowed no runs, and struck out six. Other than Judge’s two hits, he allowed only a walk to DJ LeMahieu. Three baserunners in total, and the Yankees really never threatened.
When Montas was removed after seven innings and 98 pitches, the Yankees’ luck at the plate turned a little, but not quite enough. Luke Voit hit a single to lead off the 8th inning, and Gary Sanchez scorched a ball that looked destined for the outfield at 103 mph, but Kemp made a leaping catch that almost took his glove off to prevent a rally from starting.
In the ninth, the Yankees faced Sergio Romo, who struggled in his relief outing on Thursday. He struggled once again today; leading off the inning, LeMahieu hit a 103 mph liner right at Matt Chapman for the first out, Anthony Rizzo blooped a single into left center, and Judge got his third hit of the day, a 406-foot home run to bring the Yankees to within one run. Romo settled down afterwards, however, and got Giancarlo Stanton to pop up on a middle-middle slider that he clearly thought he should have hit a mile, and then induced a grounder from Joey Gallo to end the game.
Umpire clown show. The aforementioned third base umpire Will Little really tried to make this game all about him in the early innings. In the second inning, he called a controversial balk on Nestor Cortes that allowed a run to score, and only became more of a circus in the third inning. After Rougned Odor threw away a Starling Marte grounder for a two-base error to lead off the inning, Marte attempted a steal of third. He was very, very clearly out, but Little missed that call, and Boone was unable to challenge because of his questionable second inning challenge on Pinder’s double.
With one out in the inning and the infield in, Yan Gomes lined out sharply to LeMahieu, who threw to third to attempt a double play. To everyone’s eye, Marte got back safely, but Little called him out. The A’s challenged, and the call was bizarrely upheld, leading to Bob Melvin exchanging words with the umpiring crew and getting ejected. I can’t quite figure out what Little thought he saw or the replay crew thought they saw; Marte was so clearly safe that Cortes, still on the mound, was openly amused by the call, and the entire Yankees’ infield stayed at their positions during the review in anticipation of the call being overturned. A very strange sequence of events, but ultimately one that did not impact the final score.
- Giancarlo Stanton went 0-for-4 and did not walk today, snapping his 25 game on-base streak.
- Joey Gallo grounded into a double play in the 7th inning, which was only the 10th double play he’s hit into in his entire 7-year career. For comparison, six members of the 2021 Yankees have hit into 10 or more double plays in this season alone.
- Albert Abreu threw 1.2 scoreless relief innings and is clearly working his way into Aaron Boone’s circle of trust. He has a 2.55 ERA in 14.1 innings since the beginning of August.