For 14 months, the Yankees could be counted on to do one thing: score every single game. They went 220 consecutive games with at least one run, facing Cy Young favorites, dominant bullpens and a mix of everything else without getting shut out.
As you likely know, that ended Monday when Mike Minor, Shawn Kelley and Emmanuel Clase combined to hold the Yankees scoreless on Labor Day. Did the Yankees have to sit through a long rain delay? Sure, but the Rangers did, too, and they scored seven runs. No excuses.
To commemorate the impressive streak the Yankees put together from June 30, 2018 to Sept. 2, 2019, I went back and looked for some of the games where they came closest to getting shutout, only to rally down to their final outs. Here are the four games that seemed the most on the brink of a shutout:
Aug. 4, 2018: Red Sox 4, Yankees 1
In the first step of the Nathan Eovaldi Revenge Tour, the now-Red Sox starter faced the Yankees in a defining regular season series at Fenway Park. It was the third game of a four-game sweep, one that put the AL East out of reach for good last year.
On the Yankees side, Chance Adams make his MLB debut and was fine considering he was facing a dominant lineup. However, Eovaldi let just four batters reach base in eight innings of work. Just one runner made it to scoring position.
With Eovaldi’s injury history, Alex Cora removed the flamethrowing righty after 93 pitches, handing the game to closer Craig Kimbrel. You’d figure Kimbrel could finish the hapless Yankees off that day. Wrong. After striking out Neil Walker and Brett Gardner, he gave up back-to-back doubles to Giancarlo Stanton and Didi Gregorius, surrendering a run.
Kimbrel would also walk Aaron Hicks and Gleyber Torres, bringing Greg Bird up as the potential go-ahead run. Though Bird flew out, it showed the Yankees’ fighting spirit.
Aug. 16, 2018: Rays 3, Yankees 1
This was a frustrating loss for the Yankees. They were held in check for five innings by the eventual Cy Young winner, Blake Snell, but the Bombers had their chances to come back against the Rays’ bullpen. Ultimately, they came within four outs of a scoreless afternoon in the Bronx.
Tampa Bay scored two runs in the first inning off Masahiro Tanaka and added another run in the eighth off David Robertson. Meanwhile, Chaz Roe and Jose Alvarado combined for two scoreless innings and paved the way for Ryne Stanek.
Stanek got two outs around an Austin Romine single and nearly had a double play to end the inning. With two outs, Giancarlo Stanton hit a ball about 313 feet to right field, just short of a two-run homer. It was called a homer initially before getting overruled.
The Yankees loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the ninth against closer Sergio Romo, but Bird, Romine and Brett Gardner were each retired by Adam Kolarek to come up empty in the threat.
London Series Game 1
July 13, 2019: Blue Jays 2, Yankees 1
I hated this game with every part of my being. J.A. Happ was great for five innings, then Adam Ottavino allowed two of Happ’s inherited runners to score for Toronto’s only runs on a bloop single.
Starter Clayton Richard left the game after two innings with injury. A series of Blue Jays relievers proceeded to shut down the Yankees’ lineup. Gary Sanchez was robbed of a two-run single with the bases loaded. This is the type of game that makes a fan’s blood boil.
In the ninth inning, Ken Giles was unavailable to close for Toronto, so Daniel Hudson had to get the job done. He walked Aaron Hicks before getting two flyouts, putting the Yankees within one out of a shutout.
But DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Judge weren’t going to go quietly. They hit back-to-back singles to cut the deficit to one, though Judge just missed a tying double. Luke Voit struck out to end the game, but hey, at least they didn’t get shut out!
Sunday: Yankees 5, Athletics 4
Less than 48 hours ago, the Yankees were down by four runs entering the eighth inning. The Athletics only got three outs from there. This is basically just a good excuse to look at Brett Gardner and Mike Ford’s homers again.
Monday’s game was inevitable in that this streak wasn’t going to go on forever. Every offense is going to hit a skid or an off-day. Now, it’s on to the next streak.