As Yankee legend Babe Ruth once said, “It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.” Very fitting words for tonight’s game between the Yankees and the Indians before a crowd of 32,951 on the shores of Lake Erie. Like two thoroughbreds in a match race, the Bombers and the Tribe tenaciously refused to give up, running neck-and-neck though 11 innings until one team finally found an extra gear and won in the final stretch.
Back in the land he started his professional career, CC Sabathia started for the Yankees, pitching 5 2/3 innings, giving up 7 hits and 5 runs. In the 1st, a lead-off hit-by-pitch moved to 2nd on a sacrifice bunt and then stole 3rd. He scored on an RBI single later in the inning to get the Indians on the board first. In the bottom of the 3rd, with 1 out and runners on the corners, 3 consecutive hits scored 3 more runs for Cleveland. A great play stopped the fourth run right at home.
In both the 5th and the 7th (because the Indians only scored in odd numbered innings this afternoon), a lead-off double moved to 3rd on a ground out and then scored easily on a 2-out RBI single. (Talk about deja vu.)
Enter the Warriors Three for the long haul. Dellin Betances pitched 1 1/3 innings, allowing 2 hits and 1 run and was followed by Andrew Miller throwing for 1 2/3 inings giving up 2 hits and no runs. A rather odd and kind of scary collision in the ninth had Headley colliding with the runner going to 3rd; the runner was called out for interference, as it’s football and you can’t tackle the defense to make sure your team gets the win. To be fair, it clearly wasn’t intentional, but it was a rather odd event in this particular sport. (Chase Headley also had a bit of a reaction on the collision after the game.) Aroldis Chapman replaced Miller in the bottom of the ninth for 2 1/3 innings allowing no hits and no runs and threw four of his scary strikeouts to end the game with the win for New York.
For over four hours, the Yankees were determined to not give up this game to the AL Central Division leaders. Typical New York perseverance and a refusal to quit were evident in both their offense and defense on the field as they fought for the win. In the third inning, a double by Gardner, an RBI single by Carlos Beltran, and 2-run homer from Didi Gregorius put the Yankees in the lead by 2 runs.
At the top of the sixth, with 2 outs, the Yankees loaded the bases with Headley and Refsnyder’s singles and pinch-hitter Rodriguez’s walk. Romine came in as Rodriguez’s pinch-runner. The Tribe changed pitchers, but Gardner cleared the bases with a beautiful triple to put New York ahead by a run. When Cleveland tied the game in the 7th, the Yankees pushed forward in hopes for a leap again in the offense. Unfortunately, so did Cleveland. So they went into extra innings.
So with the continued tie game through the 10th inning, the Yankees finally regained control of the game in the 11th. With two outs, Beltran singled and was pinch-run by Ronald Torreyes as pinch-runner. It would be Brian McCann to hit a RBI double to right field and score Torreyes to break the tie and the Yankees were ahead by one. At the bottom of the 11th, the Indians finally ran out of steam, and after an eventful tag play to catch a runner stealing 2nd, New York took home the win.
Final score: 7-6, Yankees, in 11 innings.
Injury update: Aaron Judge, the power hitter of Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, who was set to compete in the Triple-A Home Run Derby was placed on the DL with a knee injury. Test results show a sprain and bone bruise. No word on how long he will be on the DL or how this will affect his All-Star Game appearance as a participant in the minor league home run derby this Monday night.
This Day in Yankee History: Five years ago today, former shortstop Derek Jeter became the first Yankee to record 3,000 hits with a home run off of Rays pitcher David Price (now with the Red Sox) in Yankee Stadium. Jeter, of course, ended his career in 2014 with 3,465 hits with only five other players recording more lifetime hits.