Game 22: NYY vs. LAA — Urshela’s extra inning heroics

The Yankees played their second extra inning game in as many days on opposite coasts. And with so many really good players still on the IL, it’s more surprising that they’re consistently winning and on the plus side of their average than the fact that they’re battling their way to get there. It actually says a lot about the depth of the organization that stars like Judge, Stanton, Sanchez, and Gregorius and still be charging ahead into successive wins.

In tonight’s opener at the Angels, Yankees starter JA Happ found a momentum that carried him through his 7 innings with just 89 pitches and minimal damage — 3 hits, 2 walks, and 2 allowed runs and 5 strikeouts. In the 2nd, with 1 out, a single scored as part of a 2-run home run for the Angels’ only regular game runs.

The Yankees kicked off the game with Luke Voit’s 1-out solo home run in the 1st, making this his 33rd straight game to get on base in some way, the current leader in all of MLB. In the 3rd, Higashioka led-off with a double, and 1-out walks to Gardner and Voit loaded the bases. Gleyber Torres’ sacrifice fly (and a bad throw from right field) scored Higashioka to tie up the game so early.

Both teams then defended their part of that tied score mostly through some stellar pitching. The Angels and Yankee starters going deep into the game, but their relievers followed up with scoreless innings of their own on into extra innings. For the Yankees, Ottavino closed out the regular game, and Kahnle and Cessa pitched in the earlier extra innings.

In the 12th, the Yankees got the chance to break the tie first. Clint Frazier led-off with a double. He then moved to 3rd on a ground out and watched them give Mike Ford his first (of 2) intentional walk. It was Gio Urshela’s sacrifice fly to allow Frazier to score the go-ahead run. But Aroldis Chapman had a hard time finding his way out of the bottom of the inning to preserve the Yankees’ lead. He gave up a lead-off single, a 2-out hit-by-pitch, and an RBI single to tie up the game again.

Both teams sailing through the 13th, it would be the 14th inning to conclude the game, over 4 hours since the 10:00 pm EST start. Torres struck out but made it safely to 1st on a late throwing error (it’s why you always run it out). He advanced to 2nd on a wild pitch and then stole 3rd after Ford’s second intentional walk. And it would be Gio Urshela again for the heroics — an RBI single to score Torres, the eventual winning run.

Jonathan Holder was strong through the 13th for the Yankees and sealed the game for them in the bottom of the 14th. His strong outing combined with Urshela’s hot bat was enough to deliver the victory to the Yankees late tonight.

Final score: 4-3 Yankees, in 14 innings

Injury update: It looks like the Yankees are going to get Gary Sanchez back really soon. He play his rehab game today with Short-A Charleston and will fly out to the West Coast tomorrow (Tuesday) to hopefully rejoin the team in their final game in Anaheim on Wednesday.

In that 12th inning double, Clint Frazier jammed his ankle diving back to 2nd on a pick-off attempt. It was enough to merit a visit from the trainer but not enough to pull him from the game. In between innings, he did get it taped up to stay in the rest of the game.

He later half-joked that the IL was “too full” for him to not consider playing through his minor sprain. And really, the truth is that his time on the regular roster will be cut short as soon as one of the regular outfielders comes off the IL. After a disappointing 2018 due to injuries, the young outfielder doesn’t want to waste a moment with the team while he can.

Go Yankees!

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