Game 51: Yankees Win Five-Hour Slog in Fenway 6-5

Well, that sure was a Yankees-Red Sox game. It lasted five hours. Extra innings lasted forever. There were about 15,000 lead changes and game-tying hits. But the Yankees came from behind and won the game 6-5, taking their 11th in a row from Boston:

The Yankees are now guaranteed a .500 season as this was their 30th win of the year. This was a ridiculous game, but I’d be lying if I said I was sad it’s over. Let’s get right to the takeaways.

1. Jordan Montgomery Was Okay Until He Wasn’t: That was not a great start from Jordan Montgomery. It was ultimately worse than it needed to be and the line isn’t great: he lasted just 4.2 IP and gave up 4 runs on 5 hits. He struck out 7 and walked 2, and he needed 93 pitches to do it. Here is his plot, which tells the story of the night:

He was all over the place with his curveball, with the pitch either right down the middle or nowhere close to the zone. (He did get 4 whiffs on 9 swings on the pitch, though.) One of those looked like this…

…so the plot is a bit deceptive, too. In any case, Monty was strong to start out the night, pitching around some shaky Yankees defense (including, to be fair, one error by Montgomery himself) and inducing some timely double plays when he walked his way into some traffic, too. Plus, he induced some very soft contact all night, too:

Until he didn’t, that is. The only “hard hit” ball of the night came on a 4th inning, 3-run blast to 9th hitter Christian Arroyo. It followed two soft-hit singles, including one that got past the shift at 3B. Annoying! Here is the home run, which was a no-doubter over the monster:

That was really the big blow off Montgomery. A 3-run home run is a killer, as we all know. Despite how soft the preceding singles were, he earned this home run. I mean, look at the location:

You can’t be doing that, and it put the Yankees in a 3-0 hole. He walked Rafael Devers in the 5th inning before being lifted in favor of Luis Cessa, who allowed the run to score. That was his 4th and final run.

It was not a great start, but some bad luck – some soft singles and bad defense – made his pitch count rise. He worked around it until he didn’t, and that was that. Oh well. Go get ’em next time, Monty.

2. The A-Lineup Blanked By MartĂ­n PĂ©rez: Tonight was one of the few times all season we were treated to the A-lineup, so of course the team threw up an offensive stinker against the Sox starter. As unpredictable as baseball is, sometimes you really can predict it. PĂ©rez has actually been rolling of late, so it’s not that big of a deal, and he got some preferential calls from the umpire:

But whatever. What can you do except try to get some hits? PĂ©rez, to his credit, limited the Yanks to just 4 baserunners (3 hits and a walk) through his 6 innings of work. They were thoroughly dominated:

The Red Sox also deployed some slick defense behind him. Check this out:

That’s basically just how it went. Oh well. The Yankees weren’t done just yet anyway.

3. There’s No Quit in the Yanks: The Yankees were undaunted despite being down 4-0 going into the 7th inning. In fact, they staged a rally basically right away. Despite two quick outs after Giancarlo Stanton walked to open up the frame, Aaron Hicks added a single and Gio Urshela walked to load the bases with two outs to bring up Gary Sánchez.

It was a huge moment in the game, and Gary delivered a great at-bat. He hammered a sinker into the right field corner and drove two runs in the process:

That was Gary’s second 104+ mph ball of the night, by the way. He’s looking better each and every day, and you don’t have to squint to see it. It’s a genuinely great sign.

Unfortunately, Clint Frazier grounded out to follow this great at-bat, and so ended the 7th inning rally. There was more to come in the 8th, after Aaron Judge laced a one-out single. Giancarlo Stanton, hitting after Judge for once, showed why this should happen all of the time by hammering an RBI double to the monster to drive him in:

All three runs came courtesy of Gary Sánchez and Giancarlo Stanton, with a nice Aaron Judge single to get the ball rolling for the latter. How I’ve missed this. Just how we all drew it up in December 2018, eh? Unfortunately, Luke Voit lined out to third and Gleyber Torres struck out looking in a bad at-bat to end this rally. This was especially annoying because Mike Tauchman pinch-ran for Stanton, which came back to bite the Yankees later. Gah.

I’m so flippant about this because, while those runs would have been nice, it gave Gary Sánchez (who was always going to be fine) an excuse to show how good he is once more. Here is what Gary did with two outs in the 9th inning:

Inject it right into my veins. That was his 3rd batted ball over 104 mph of the night and it tied the game at 4. It was beautiful.

4. Pre-Extras Bullpen: The Yankees bullpen has been a bit unheralded of late, but it’s been very good. Tonight was another example of that. I also enjoyed that Aaron Boone went to some of his best arms tonight despite the deficit. It’s time to make sure that everyone is getting their routine work in before the postseason. Here is everyone’s line tonight:

  • Luis Cessa: 1.1 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 1 K
  • Adam Ottavino: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 BB or K
  • Zack Britton: 1.0 IP, zeros, 2 K
  • Chad Green: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 2 K

Britton looked especially great – Cessa looked a bit worse than the line, but he was fine – but I’m still a bit concerned with Ottavino. He gave up 2 fly ball outs and got only 1 whiff on 7 swings. He’s not quite looking like the elite reliever he was in 2020. If he can figure it out in the next few weeks, the Yankees will be even more dangerous.

Still, this was a good performance overall from the pen. They were handed a 3-0 deficit in the 5th, and while Cessa allowed an inherited runner to score, that was it. They gave the Yankees a chance to chip away and tie the game, which is exactly what they’re supposed to do. Give them props.

5. Extra Innings Frustration: Ugh, the top of the 10th inning was annoying. Clint Frazier was the Yankees’ free man on second and they were unable to get him to the plate. DJ LeMahieu grounded out, which at least helped get him to third base. That meant all Judge had to do was get a sac fly to at least give the Yanks the lead. But it was not to be. To be fair, he wasn’t helped by the ump. Look at this 0-0 “strike”:

That is an at-bat changing call. Judge didn’t look right after this, swinging through some bad pitches off the plate, but that is a horrendous call. There’s a huge difference between 0-1 and 1-0. Anyway, Judge struck out which brought up Mike Tauchman. I’m not sure why Boon didn’t go to Gardner here. Tauchman has been horrible and Gardner is coming off a nice night and starting to look better. I guess they were saving him for a potential defensive replacement? I don’t know. Anyway, Tauchman hit a very weak ball to third and that ended that. It was extremely frustrating!

Also frustrating: Aroldis Chapman’s performance. He was all over the place and tried his hardest to blow the game…but he did not. Somehow. He collected 2 strikeouts despite a walk and 27 pitches that looked like this:

Gary was great behind the plate when Chapman was wild as hell and he probably saved the game here. But in any case, it was no harm, no foul. We went to the 11th, where Luke Voit immediately did this:

https://twitter.com/snyyankees/status/1307164896958783489

To give the Yankees the lead. That was all they could muster, so Jonathan Loaisiga came on for the bottom of the 11th. A wild pitch/passed ball set up a no-outs, runners on 3rd situation. The Red Sox immediately scored on a weak single up the middle and the game was tied at 5. The Sox then bunted – even with 2 strikes! – and defensive replacement Tyler Wade dropped Loaigia’s throw to first. Inexplicable.

Loaisiga then fell behind 2-0 and they intentionally walked Boegarts. That loaded the bases with one out for J.D. Martinez. Loaisiga, of course, struck him out and overpowered him, and also induced a fly ball to get out of the inning. This is the game that would never end: Loaisiga and Chapman threw over 50 pitches with RISP and somehow allowed just 1 run. Boston, apparently, didn’t want to win.

Anyway, on to the 11th. Gio Urshela led off with a single, but Aaron Hicks was held at 3rd.Gary and Frazier struck out. DJ LeMahieu, however, did this:

To give the Yankees a 6-5 lead. Judge grounded out, though, so the Yankees went to the bottom of the 12th with a one run lead. Loaisiga stayed in the game. He induced a groundout to 2B that moved the runner over and then got JBJ to hit a shallow fly ball to center. Aaron Hicks fired a laser home to hold the runner, and then Loaisiga ended the game by getting a routine grounder to short.

I would apologize for this last section veering into straight recap territory, but I’m not going to. It’s almost 1 am and I am exhausted as hell.

Leftovers

  • The Defense was Shaky: Jordan Montgomery made an error in the first inning on a weak ground ball, Gleyber Torres made an error in the 3rd, bad shifting in the 4th preceded a 3-run home run, Aaron Hicks dropped a fly ball (it was a tough play in the gap) in the 7th inning, and Judge missed a playable fly ball in extra innings against the RF wall. There was also the Wade mistake I highlighted above. All in all, it was not a great evening for the Yankee defense.
  • The Bombers are Back: Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton reached base 3 times in 7 plate appearances hitting back-to-back. It is just so nice to see them in the middle of the order again. It’s cathartic and it makes the Yankees feel that much more dangerous. Their mini 8th inning rally is all of the evidence we need to remember how potent the combination is.

The Yankees and Red Sox will play the second game of this three-game set tomorrow at 7:30 pm ET. J.A. Happ (1-2, 3.96 ERA) will take on Chris Mazza (1-1, 5.57 ERA) in that one. Try to enjoy your night, everyone.

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3 Comments

  1. Mungo

    A win. A win against the Red Sox, and a comeback win. I’ll take it, even if it was a slog.

    As for Martin Perez, he can be an annoyingly competent pitcher at times. If his control is on, he can be tough. Last night was one of those games. The good teams will find a way to win those games, and the Yankees did.

    Sanchez can be an annoyingly streaky hitter. It’s been a frustrating start, but I’ll take it if he goes off on a six-week tear culminating with a socially distanced parade down the Canyon of Heroes, sponsored by Zoom.

  2. CentralScrutinizer

    Ugly, ugly game and I’m ashamed to say that I watched every inning. I won’t be doing that tonight. It’s amazing that no matter how different the rosters over the years the Yankees and Red So seem incapable of completing a game within a reasonable time frame, especially at Fenway.

    I have to take issue with this game report in that it reads more like a fan-boy blog than an objective analysis. Gary Sanchez is looking better bet he was not “always going to be fine” (and yes, I read that post and found it even more fan-boyish than this one with absurdly cherry-picked numbers). Even after last nights heroics Sanchez is still batting .154 on the season and it would be foolhardy to think that the past two days, even though they’ve showed a lot of progress, are a complete foreshadowing of Sanchez’ future performance. The Yankees haven’t exactly been facing world-class pitching lately and Lets not forget how helpless Sanchez was against the Astros arms last fall. So yeah, I’m encouraged by what I’ve seen by Sanchez the past two days but I’m reserving judgement.

    Adam Ottavino has not been an “elite” reliever in 2020. He’s been adequate but not much better. I have never cared much for Cessa and he didn’t endear himself to me by hanging a slider to give up an inherited run (although Monty deserves the lion’s share of the blame for that one).

    I thought it strange enough that Boone had Frazier batting 9th and Hicks 6th last night and even stranger that before Sanchez’ HR tied the game in the 9th he apparently had Gardner on deck to PH for Frazier but didn’t have Gardner hit for Tauchman in the 10th. If he wanted to save an OF for a defensive replacement then why not have Gardner run for Stanton in the 8th and stay in as the DH?

    Finally, I think last night’s game illustrated how stupid the runner on 2nd rule in extra innings is. It may make scoring easier but it also makes it easier for the home team to tie up the game in the bottom of an extra inning thus extending an extra inning game even further. I really hope that MLB is not contemplating making this rule permanent.

  3. Last night’s win was completely unexpected after the 1st 6 innings-Perez was really good last night although the home plate umpire clearly helped him with a few called 3rd strikes that were way inside.

    It’s nice to see Sanchez contributing again and swinging more within himself at the plate. Regardless of any opinions about his future he is someone who can make an impact for the rest of this season and the post-season.

    I’m really glad the Jays, who. according to the resident troll ‘stocked up’ on players at the deadline and would ‘leave the Yankees in their wake’, are now 4 full games behind the Bombers with 9 to play and are in pretty much a free fall.

    Finally, any team that can bat Clint Frazier 9th and make it seem pretty routine is going to be a scary proposition for any pitcher from this point forward.

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