After closing the door on the disappointing Oakland series, the Yankees needed a good start to the weekend and this series in Los Angeles. And to do so against one of the best teams in baseball right now made things just a little bit sweeter.
James Paxton got the start and just dominated the Dodgers in this opener. He threw 109 pitches into the 7th, gave up 5 hits and 2 runs, and struck out an impressive 11 batters. A lead-off double in the 3rd moved to 3rd on a sacrifice bunt and then scored on an RBI single. A 1-out double moved to 3rd on a grounder. And with a high pitch count, his outing was over.
Kahnle came in and promptly gave up a double that scored that lingering runner. But Kahnle was able to get out of the inning with just 4 pitches. And Cortes sailed his way through the final 2 scoreless innings to keep the Dodgers from adding to their meager score.
Meanwhile, the Yankees gave “Big Maple” quite a bit of run support. In the 3rd, Aaron Judge hit a 1-out solo home run, and Gary Sanchez hit a 2-out solo home run to the same seats in left field. LeMahieu and Judge led-off the 5th with consecutive singles, and after an out, Sanchez was intentionally walked to load up the bases.
Then, with those loaded bases, on the first pitch he saw of the at-bat, Didi Gregorius smacked a big grand slam to ensure the Yankees’ eventual win. Urshela then doubled, and the Dodgers went to their bullpen. Brett Gardner quickly doubled home Urshela.
With 2 outs in the 6th, Gleyber Torres hit a solid home run up the middle. Ford led-off the 8th with a single, moved to 2nd on a grounder, and then scored on Aaron Judge’s single. Finally, Didi Gregorius smacked a solo home run to lead-off the 9th to cap off the Yankees’ big night in LA.
Final score: 10-2 Yankees
Gary Sanchez’s solo home run in the 3rd was his 29th of the season, but it was also his 100th homer of his career. And that made him the fastest catcher ever to hit 100 home runs, in just 355 games. It’s also made him the fastest AL player ever (regardless of position) to do so. (The record still stands for the Phillies’ Ryan Howard at 325 games.)
And we’re already one game into the Players Weekend. Teams across MLB are paired off, one team donning dark uniforms and one team in white. Fun nicknames emblazoned across their backs, and specially created cleats, gloves, sweat bands, batting gloves and accessories find a home on the field. Aaron Judge’s cleats are notable in that they got all 217 Little League World Series players to sign his specially designed shoes for the weekend.