Games 131 & 132: CLE vs. NYY — Rain created a double-header steam roller

After yesterday’s rainy mess that was the entire tri-state area, the Yankees rescheduled their game to combine into a single-admission double-header — the make-up game starting a mere 30 minutes following the close of the first game. It was more than slightly disappointing.

Game 1: (The regularly scheduled Wednesday game)
Jaime Garcia got the start today and just had a rough start right out of the gate. He threw 87 pitches into the 6th inning, and despite not giving up many runs, every inning was just a struggle for the new-ish starter. He gave up 6 hits, 3 walks, and 2 runs (only 1 earned), striking out just 5 batters.

In the 1st, the lead-off batter singled, stole 2nd, moved to 3rd on a single, and then scored on a passed ball (the unearned run). Another single scored the other base runner to put the Indians up fast and first. But then they spent the rest of the game defending this super early lead.

Of course, the Yankees did their best to limit the Indians to those 2 runs as well. And they certainly succeeded. Despite Green’s struggles through each inning, he kept the Indians from cross the plate under the rest of his tenure. He passed the ball to the outstanding Chad Green, who just sailed through the end of the 6th, 7th, and most of the 8th inning, thanks to 7 stellar strikeouts (of his 8 outs). Tommy Kahnle closed out the 8th and threw a great 9th to keep the Indians from adding to their score through the end of the game.

In the mean time, the Yankees tried to ding into the Indians minor lead, and for the most part were unsuccessful. In the 3rd, with 1 out, Hicks worked a walk, moved to 2nd on a ground out, advanced to 3rd on a wild pitch, and then scored on Didi Gregorius’ double. Then despite getting Gregorius into scoring position with hopes to tie up the game, they left him stranded there. And that became the story of the game — leaving runners in scoring position without getting them home.

Final score: 2-1 Indians

Game 2: (the make-up game)
Thirty minutes later, the Yankees were ready to take the field, in all efforts to take one game of the series. Today’s 26th man Jordan Montgomery got the start for the make-up game today, and unfortunately, he didn’t have the greatest outing either.

Montgomery threw 92 pitches in just 4 innings, gave up 6 hits, 3 walks, and 4 runs, and struck out 5 Cleveland batters. His biggest weakness, following his predecessor today, was the 1st inning. A lead-off batter singled, moved to 2nd on a walk, and then scored on a 1-out single. A double then scored the next run, and a single scored 2 more to give the Indians another early lead. Then despite loading up the bases, Montgomery got out of the inning with a well-timed strikeout. (Actually, all 3 outs that inning were strikeouts.)

The Yankees offense answered back again rather softly. In the 2nd, Judge led-off with a single, moved to 2nd on a 1-out single, and then scored on Greg Bird’s single. Once again, they played the get runners on base without getting them home. Which didn’t help Montgomery’s short start.

And it certainly didn’t help ease the relievers, who had their own struggles today. Chasen Shreve came on in the 5th and promptly gave up a lead-off solo home run. Two doubles in the 6th added one more run. Caleb Smith closed out the 6th, but then a 1-out walk in the 7th scored on a 2-out 2-run home run. He also gave up a lead-off solo home run in the 8th, but sailed his way through the next 6 outs.

That was quite the deficit to face as the Yankees were hoping for an 8-run rally in the bottom of the 9th (to tie up the game), as evidenced by the lingering small crowd in the stadium. With 1 out, Todd Frazier worked a walk, and Aaron Hicks singled (his 4th hit of the game, by the way) with hopes for a rally. It would be Greg Bird to the rescue again with a big 3-run home run to reduce the Indians’ lead. But 2 outs later, the rally hopes were dashed, and the Yankees were swept.

Final score: 9-4 Indians, Indians sweep the series 3-0.

Some trivia thanks to the online people who know these things: The last time the Indians swept the Yankees in a 3-game series was April 1989, and the last time the Yankees lost both games of a double-header to the Indians was 1995. Also, the Yankees are the only team in the league that hasn’t lost a game by at least 8 runs thanks to Bird’s last-minute big home run.

Roster move: as I mentioned before, the Yankees chose Jordan Montgomery as their 26th man on the roster, as allowed for all double-headers. I imagine he will be on his way back to Scranton tonight, but no worries, the September calls up is just 2 days away. He’ll be back.

And in a fun story, the stadium had food delivered to each dugout so that the players and staff could munch on stuff during their long stint on the field. One rather brave employee balanced a rather large trays of food, including a rather precariously placed plate of cookies. Just as he was stepping down close to the dugout, the plate was tilting and slipping ever so slightly, but another employee reached up a hand to grab the plate before it fell and the tray was safely delivered. (Hope someone gave the “Cookie Hero” a nice tip!) A fun, positive spin on a rather disappointing day.

Next up: the Red Sox… which is the ultimate series to win this weekend.

Go Yankees!

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