Finally. That was the sentiment shared by most of Yankee Universe as a result of tonight’s finale of what turned out to be a rather arduous 4-game weekend series at Fenway. The Red Sox never make things easy for the Yankees, but this series felt a little more challenging.
Domingo German was the key in tonight’s game, taking the mound for the Yankees and commanding the game from the start. He threw 77 pitches into the 6th inning, gave up 4 hits, a walk, and just 3 runs, and struck out an impressive 9 Boston batters along the way. In fact, for most of his outing, German kept the Red Sox off the scoreboard, a stark divergence from the previous 3 games.
In the 4th, a 1-out single scored on a 2-out 2-run home run to get the home team on the board. Then he gave up his lone walk to lead-off the 6th that moved to 3rd on a double and then scored on a grounder. That was it for German, but that was a great cushion for the visitors too.
Tommy Kahnle closed out the 6th for German, and after giving up a 1-out single, he handed the ball over to Adam Ottavino. A single and throwing error allowed runners in the corners, and a sacrifice fly scored Kahnle’s runner. Britton came out for the 8th, and despite loading up the bases, he managed to escape the jam without adding to the scoreboard.
But Aroldis Chapman seemed to take that to the next level of drama in the 9th. He gave up a lead-off walk and a 1-out single, and a passed ball moved runners into scoring position. After a great strikeout, a long single scored both runners to inch the Red Sox closer to the Yankees, but one more strikeout ended the home team’s rally.
Meanwhile, the Yankees struck first and kept the cushion big enough for their pitching staff’s later stumbles. In the 3rd, with 1 out, Maybin worked a walk, and then Austin Romine smacked a monster 2-run home run into those Green Monster seats. The Yankees liked that pattern and repeated it in the 4th — with 1 out, Voit walked, and Didi Gregorius hit him home with a 2-run home run, this time into the right field seats.
In the 6th, Gregorius led-off with a walk but was tagged out when Torres hit into a fielder’s choice. Gio Urshela’s double scored Torres. After a pitching change, sending the Red Sox’s starter to the dugout, Cameron Maybin singled home Urshela.
The Yankees loaded up the bases in the 7th, with Hicks’ walk, Encarnacion’s double, and an intentional walk to Voit. Then things got weird with a really messy defensive play. Didi Gregorius hit a long fly ball out to center field. So he was out, but Hicks was on his way home for the traditional sacrifice fly. But then the center fielder threw the ball to 1st, where no fielder was present, so the ball rolled into the dugout as Encarnacion ran home and Voit made it all the way to 3rd on the throwing error.
Then to cap off the Yankees’ offense, with 1 out in the 8th, Maybin doubled, moved to 3rd on a ground out, and then scored on a wild pitch. Call it teamwork, call it sheer determination. Whatever it was, it worked for the Yankees as they head back home again on a positive note.
Final score: 9-6 Yankees, Red Sox win series 3-1
Next up: After an off-day tomorrow (Monday), the Yankees will host a 2-game mini-series against the Diamondbacks. They get another off-day on Thursday as the Red Sox come to the Bronx for a rematch of this past weekend. They will face off in another 4 games with a doubleheader on Saturday, the evening game the make-up of the rain out on May 30th. Then they’re back on road to face other divisional rivals, the Orioles and Blue Jays.
Injury update/roster moves: DJ LeMahieu is skipping the IL right now, due to the low-level of his groin strain, which is really more of a pulled muscle than anything serious. He is available off the bench if he is needed, but really, I doubt he’ll be needed any time soon. But Gary Sanchez’s groin strain is much more serious, though he is improving as measured by strength tests. His return is probable for later in August, with September on the outset if there’s a setback.
After yesterday’s outing, CC Sabathia was on his way to the trainer’s room. After a diagnosis of inflammation in his right knee, the veteran pitcher is headed back to the injured list again while he receives treatment. As a roster move, the Yankees recalled infielder Tyler Wade (hence the “no need” for LeMahieu, as stated above).
And the upcoming Trade Deadline is fast approaching — this Wednesday, July 31. But there have been no moves for the Yankees as of yet. So, we’re looking at a last minute deal if there is any, and most of the talks, especially after this last series, is in getting a new starter. But who knows? We got Luke Voit last year at the trade deadline, and look at how well that turned out.