Game 153: LAA vs. NYY — Sabathia’s last stand, but still waiting for #100

Under a clear New York evening sky, tonight’s crowd in the Bronx had the privilege of witnessing Yankee veteran CC Sabathia pitch his final regular season start at Yankee Stadium. Sabathia tipped his hat in appreciation to the roaring crowd, who gave him a well-deserved standing ovation as the All-Star pitcher walked off the mound to be congratulated by his teammates in front of the dugout. Sabathia, who has been a Yankee longer than any current player except Brett Gardner, may well be called upon for the playoffs. So fans have reason to hope for a few more priceless chances to see “Dub” pitch before he officially retires.

Yankee starter, CC Sabathia, pitched into the 3rd inning tonight, throwing 62 pitches to 15 batters for 4 strikeouts and giving up 5 hits, 2 walks, and 2 runs. In the 1st inning, Sabathia gave up 2 singles, but no runs. In the 2nd, Sabathia each of his 3 batters struck out swinging. Sabathia returned in the 3rd to allow a walk and 2 singles that scored a run. Another walk and a mound visit was followed by another single that gave up a second run to the Angels, and Sabathia was done for the evening.

After a break in the action as the crowd gave Sabathia his farewell ovation, German replaced Sabathia for the 3rd out to end the inning. German got 3 quick outs in the 4th, followed by a single and a walk in the 5th, but allowed no runs. Adam Ottavino took over in the 6th, giving up a double and 2 singles to load the bases. His wild throwing error to home allowed a runner to score. Kahnle replaced Ottavino for the final 2 strikeouts of the 6th. Green was called on in the 7th, and despite a walk and hit by pitch, allowed no runs. Britton’s 8th ended up being 3 solid outs in a row, and Cessa’s 9th allowed a single but no further runs.

New York was hoping to get that 100th season win tonight, but the goal proved elusive when the Yankee batters struggled to even get in scoring position. After a scoreless 1st inning, the 2nd inning began with lead-off batter Giancarlo Stanton as he was welcomed back to the Bronx with an ovation from the stadium crowd. Returning from time on the IL for a knee injury, Stanton doubled a line drive to center that put the Yankees in scoring position, but 3 outs followed and Stanton was left on base.

The Yankees scored 2 runs in the 3rd inning when LeMahieu led off with a walk and then crossed the plate on Aaron Judge’s 24th home run to right field. But then that awful pattern emerged again: A solid double put Torres on 2nd to lead off the 3rd, but 3 outs followed that left him on base; and in the 4th, Gardner bunted for a single and moved to 2nd base on a wild pitch, but then 3 outs later, he too was stranded.

After a quick, scoreless run for the next 4 innings, the last chance for the Yankees to score was in the 9th. With 1 out, Gardner hit a ground ball to center field, and the crowd was quite hopeful to tie up the game, but 2 quick outs followed and ended the evening.

Final score: 3-2 Angels

Injury update: Dellin Betances was in the dugout for tonight’s game, sporting a walking boot to protect his partially torn Archilles tendon. No surgery is scheduled at this time. The Yankees still have 9 players on the IL, none of which will be returning for the playoffs. The 9 include Betances, Tauchman, Hale, Holder, Bird, Hicks, Ellsbury, Andujar, and Barrett.

The Yankees also activated Giancarlo Stanton from the 60-day IL to play in tonight’s game. Stanton looked strong in his outing but was unable to contribute much in tonight’s game, much like the rest of his offensive teammates. Also, the Blue Jays claimed pitcher Ryan Dull off waivers. Best of luck to him on his journey.

Go Yankees!

Game 149: NYY vs. TOR — Even a butterfly couldn’t help in extras

For this weekend’s 3-game series, the Yankees traveled across the northern border to Toronto to meet the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. Tonight’s game was long and grueling, tied for most of the innings as both teams battled for the win, even going into extra innings to battle it down to a walk-off.

Masahiro Tanaka took the mound for New York through 5 innings, giving up 8 hits and 4 runs, for a not so memorable start. Tanaka started well and quickly faced 3 batters for 3 outs.  In the 2nd, Tanaka gave up a home run to left field, and later, 2 singles and a double allowed 2 more runs in the 4th. And Tanaka gave up a double and a single that scored another run for Toronto in the 5th. Tanaka was replaced in the 6th by Tommy Kahnle who gave up a single, but no runs.

Adam Ottavino took over in the 7th. He gave up a single that moved to 2nd on a wild pitch. After a walk and fielder’s choice, runners were on the corners, but a balk moved the runners up and scored a run for the home team to tie up the game at that point. Zack Britton took strong command in the 8th for 3 quick outs, including a swinging strikeout and a rather close call with a butterfly. (Yes, a real live butterfly.)

Cessa came out for the 9th and 10th, and gave up a couple of singles, but allowed no runs, keeping the game tied. Tyler Lyons replaced Cessa for the 11th, facing 3 batters for 3 outs. But when Lyons remained on the mound in the 12th, things didn’t resolve in their favor. Lyons gave up a home run to the first batter of that inning, allowing a walk-off win for the Blue Jays.

Scoreless in the first 4 innings and behind by 3 runs in the 5th inning, New York bats finally came alive in a big way. Gardner doubled and then promptly scored on a double by Clint Frazier. A single to left by Austin Romine scored Frazier.

LeMahieu’s single on moved Romine to 2nd, and Torres hit into a fielder’s choice that left runners on the corners. Luke Voit then reached base on a fielder’s choice, scoring Romine to tie-up the game. And wild pitch moved the runners into scoring position so that Gio Urshela’s single allowed both Torres and Voit to score and jump the Yankees ahead.

After the Blue Jays evened up the score again by the 7th, the Yankees tried to break that tie through the rest of their game. And while they certainly had some great opportunities, they never were able to cross home pate again.

Final score: 6-5 Blue Jays, in 12 innings

Injury update: Good news for JA Happ. Sidelined with recurring bicep tendonitis, he is showing improvement since a cortisone shot. He is expected to return to the mound next week during the Yankees’ final home stand. And he could be joined by some other teammates working their way off the IL as well.

Roster moves: In the last week, the Yankees have activated pitchers Ben Heller and CC Sabathia from the IL, and both pitched pretty well this week too. They also put Mike Tauchman on the 10-day IL due to his calf strain. Stephen Tarpley began his rehab assignment with the AA Trenton Thunder on Tuesday before being activated back to the major league roster on Thursday. And they also designated reliever Adonis Rosa for assignment before outrighting him to AAA Scranton.

Finally, MLB is currently featuring the New York Yankees for their annual honoring of Hispanic Heritage Month. The story features several current and former players. Check out the video here.

Go Yankees!

Game 145: NYY vs. BOS — Yankees shutout Boston in game and in division

With tonight’s win, and the series win, the Red Sox are officially eliminated from the AL East division title. However, they are still in contention for the wild card, being 8 games behind the current wild card leaders (Rays, Athletics, and Indians). This day is one for many celebrations, including this shut-out win for the New York Yankees in the shadow of a defeated Green Monster.

Big Maple got the start for the Yankees tonight. James Paxton was dominant in the shut-out of the Red Sox, giving up 4 hits and 3 walks into the 7th inning. He also struck out 7 Boston batters for his 13th win of the season. Britton closed out the 7th, keeping the shut-out alive. Gearrin and Lyons each took a 1-hit, 1-strikeout inning to close out the game.

After 4 quiet scoreless innings for both teams, the Yankee batters came alive in the 5th when Austin Romine hit a home run to right field to give New York a 1-0 lead. At the top of the 7th, Gio Urshela sent his 19th season homer to left center field. Austin Romine followed with a line drive double to left and moved to 3rd on a wild pitch. A single by DJ LeMahieu then scored Romine.

After a Boston pitching change, Aaron Judge came to the plate in the 7th and served up a double line drive to center that moved LeMahieu to 3rd. Gleyber Torres’ sacrifice fly to left field allowed LeMahieu to score and the Yankees were ahead 4-0.

At the top of the 9th, Romine earned a walk and moved to 2nd on a walk from Judge. Torres followed with a single ground ball to left to load up the bases. So Luke Voit’s RBI single to left scored Romine for the 5th run in New York’s shut out victory.

Final score: 5-0, Yankees, Yankees take the series 3-1

Injury updates: While CC Sabathia is still hoping to return in some capacity this season, the news for Mike Tauchman is not so good since his injury in tonight’s game put him on the IL for 6-8 weeks. Diagnosed with a Grade 2 calf strain, Tauchman will likely be done for the season.

This allows the possibility to see more of Cameron Maybin, Clint Frazier, and/or Tyler Wade on the field. But Tauchman will be much missed from the roster. But in better news, Giancarlo Stanton could be ready to rejoin the team at home in New York next week.

Finally, before tonight’s game, former Red Sox slugger David Ortiz threw out the ceremonial first pitch and spoke to the adoring Boston crowd. This is the first public appearance by the future Hall of Famer after being shot at a club in the Dominican Republic just 2 months ago, a case still under investigation. (Full video clip here.)

Ortiz underwent several surgeries to save his life and keep the recovery progressing, both initially in the DR and later back in Boston, so his participation before tonight’s game was quite literally a miracle. While he will always be seen as a life-long opponent to the Yankees, his positive attitude, tough work ethic, and generous heart is rather appreciated by all of us across the baseball world. We are certainly glad he’s doing great, and we are glad he’s no longer in a Red Sox uniform!

Go Yankees!

Game 137: OAK vs. NYY — Bronx Bombers for the win

The Bronx Bombers gave the hometown New York crowd quite a show today. Despite facing a strong pitching team in this often frustrating extra inning match-up, New York never gave up and earned this well-deserved win.

Domingo German started the game and pitched a solid 5 innings, throwing 90 pitches for 5 strikeouts, allowing two runs. Loaisiga replaced German at the top of the 6th and managed to get out of the inning with no further runs allowed.

A pitching change at the top of the 7th brought Adam Ottavino to the helm, but he struggled with a couple wild pitches, beaning one batter. After 2 outs, he was replaced by Kahnle who faced one batter for the third out to close the inning. The 8th inning brought up Zack Britton who faced only two batters for two outs before leaving the game with a sudden injury to his leg. (More below.)

Green replaced Britton, who walked three batters and loaded the bases before securing the third out. In the top of the 9th, with the game tied up, Chapman faced 5 batters for two walks and finished with a solid swinging strike as the game headed into extra innings. Cory Gearrin came in to close out the game for 2 strong innings, facing 6 batters for 6 quick outs.

The Yankees faced some strong arms today from only 4 pitchers that tallied up 15 total strikeouts and only gave up 6 hits to the home team. And yet, even with several scoreless innings, the Bronx Bombers showed why their nickname suits them. All 4 runs today were homers sent to the outfield stands amid the cheering hometown crowd.

After a scoreless 1st, Gary Sanchez sent a home run to left field in the 2nd to put the Yankees on the board first, and then did it again with a lead-off solo home run over the fence to right center to tie the game at that point. Aaron Judge homered in the bottom of the 8th to again even up the game’s score and send it into eventual extra innings.

So, as the game went into the 11th inning, DJ LeMaheiu smashed a walk-off homer to right center to take the game for the Yankees. That’s four batters. Four homers. For the win.

Final score: 4-3 Yankees

Injury update: As mentioned above, Zack Britton left the game in the 5th with a severe right calf cramp. Since the pain seemed to ease up, there are no scheduled tests but the Yankees will just wait and see how quickly Britton recovers from appears to be a kind of “charley horse” injury.

CC Sabathia, who left Friday’s game with intense pain and inflammation in his right knee, has been placed on the 10-day IL. Sabathia is confident he will return to the mound soon for his last season before retiring at the end of the season. To fill his spot on the roster, the Yankees recalled Jonathan Loaisiga, who came in to pitch in today’s game.

Go Yankees!

Game 132: NYY vs. LAD — Rubber match redemption

After Saturday’s game, and that still unexplained game-changing call for time by the umpire, the Bronx Bombers roared back today as a team and claimed this game for New York. And despite so many still on the injury list, the Yankees showed up in force.

Domingo German started the game and pitched a full 6 innings, allowing only 1 run. Adam Ottavino and Tommy Kahnle shared the 7th inning for 3 strikeouts. Zack Britton commanded the 8th and protected the Yankees lead. At the top of the 9th, Aroldis Chapman took command of the mound and finished the inning strong, striking out a Dodger favorite with his 100 mph four-seam fastball.

Yankee bats were awake and active today. At the top of the first, DJ LeMahieu homered deep to center field to get the Yankees on the board first. Didi Gregorius was drilled hard by a pitch to his right shoulder, but he took his base determined to stay in the game and moved to 2nd on a wild pitch.

The game was tied at the top of the 3rd, so Aaron Judge homered to center to regain the Yankees’ lead. Didi Gregorius’ shoulder was a concern and replaced by Mike Ford in the line up when Gregorius was later pulled from the game in the 4th. So, the bottom of that inning saw a shuffle in the Yankee infield — LeMahieu manning 1st, Ford on 2nd, and Torres as shortstop.

Mike Ford homered to right center field in the 6th to widen the Yankees lead. The 8th inning had DJ LeMahieu reach base on a grounder to center, followed by Mike Ford’s double that scored LeMahieu. In the 9th, Gardner singled and later scored on Gio Urshela’s pop out to give the Yankees their final score.

Final score: 5-1 Yankees, Yankees win the series 2-1

Next up: The Yankees head up the Coast to visit the Mariners for a 3-game mid-week series. After a travel day back to the East Coast on Thursday, the Yankees will host the Athletics and Rangers before hitting the road again, starting in Boston.

Injury update: Didi Gregorius had his shoulder x-rayed after being hit by pitch in tonight’s game. Results show maybe a bone bruise, but nothing to be overly concerned about. His shoulder is expected to be painful for a few days, and the treatment prescribed is mainly icing and rest. He’s, of course, anxious to return to the field as soon as possible.

Further news came out today that Luke Voit is expected to return within a week. Many other players on the Injured List are expected (hopefully) to return in September including Betances, Encarnacion, Estrada, Stanton, Hicks, and even possibly Bird.

Roster moves: Jordan Montgomery was sent to Tampa Tarpons for rehab assignment. This will be his first game since Tommy John surgery last June. Nagging post-surgery shoulder inflammation kept him out of action until now. The Yankees are hoping he will be game-ready and available as a reliever for September.

And finally, Yankees still waiting on an explanation for the umpire’s call for time out while sending Torres back to third during Saturday’s game. The unusual timing of the umpire’s call while play was still happening was a potential game changer. Just add it to the growing list of odd calls by umpires across the league this year.

Go Yankees!

Game 125: CLE vs. NYY — Legendary drama on sunny Saturday in the Bronx

Sunny, clear skies. A warm Saturday afternoon. Former Yankees in the Bronx. And a tight ball game. It was a good day to be at the ball park today.

James Paxton got the start today and had a decent outing overall. He threw 88 pitches in 5 innings, gave up 6 hits, 3 walks, and 4 runs, and struck out 4 Cleveland batters in this third game of the 4-game weekend series. Paxton bookended his outing by splitting his allowed runs.

In the 1st, a lead-off walk and double had runners in scoring position to do so on a long single to get the Indians on the board first. After the Yankees tie up things and then took the lead, the Indians found their next chance in the 5th. With 2 outs, a double and a walk on base, consecutive singles scored both runs to tie up the game.

Ottavino breezed his way through a 13-pitch 6th, and Kahnle allowed a couple of runners but got out of the 7th without allowing the visitors to add to the score. Zack Britton got into some trouble in the 8th. His lead-off double moved to 3rd on a single and then scored on a wild pitch. Later with runners on the corners, he and the defense snapped into action with a standard double play. And Chapman earned his 35th save with an efficient 10-pitch 9th inning to close out the game.

Meanwhile, the Yankees pieced together their eventual win. With 2 outs in the 2nd, Maybin worked a walk and then scored on Mike Tauchman’s single and a fielding error. That error gave Tauchman a bit of false hope as he was thrown out trying to make it to 2nd just after Maybin scored the Yankees’ first run.

Romine led-off the 3rd with a single but was out when Estrada hit into a fielder’s choice. After a strikeout, Estrada stole 2nd and then scored on DJ LeMahieu’s single and a throwing error. That tied up the game from the Indians’ strong start. Then in the 4th, Didi Gregorius and Gleyber Torres went back-to-back with solo home runs to put the Yankees in the lead.

In the 5th, with 2 outs, DJ LeMahieu hit a solo home run to close out the Cleveland’s starter’s afternoon. Torres got his second homer of the day, a 1-out solo home run in the 6th. That would be the insurance run they needed, just preceding the dramatic ejections of Boone, Gardner, and Sabathia.

Final score: 6-5 Yankees

Now, whenever there’s some drama that leads to ejections, I always go back and look at the graphics to see whether it was a legitimate concern or just overblown competitive machismo. But yes, it was legitimate today. The “called strikes” mostly weren’t strikes. So it had to be frustrating for both pitchers and batters when they can’t guarantee the consistency of the strike zone.

So, in this case, Maybin was openly questioning the final called strike of his at-bat in the 6th. Before things got too heated, Aaron Boone did his job and got between the umpire and Maybin. But Boone continued “chirping” as he’s prone to do, and that just seemed to be the straw that broke the camel’s back for everything. So Boone got tossed.

But it didn’t end there. The bench was sparked in Boone’s defense. First, Brett Gardner was tossed when the umpire said he wasn’t allowed to use his bat to pound against the dugout, which doesn’t seem like something the umpires would police as it seems more like a grounds or stadium crew issue. He rushed the umpire asking him why exactly they ejected him, only to find out the umpires believe that dugout behavior with a bat is under their purview. CC Sabathia came to his teammate’s defense, and they tossed him too. Honestly, kind of ridiculous on a lot of fronts.

But before the game, the Yankees honored Yankee legend Mariano Rivera. Just a few weeks ago, we all watched the iconic closer be honored by being inducted into the Hall of Fame. To commemorate that, the Yankees hosted Rivera and his family in a pre-game ceremony where they honored this milestone with a replica plaque to be placed in Monument Park.

Mo&MoJr08.17.19
Rivera and son exit field after first pitch. (Photo credit: Yankees Twitter)

His former manager Joe Torre was also on hand for the festivities. And Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner presented Rivera’s foundation with a check for $250,000 to help build a learning center in New Rochelle, New York. Rivera threw out today’s ceremonial first pitch (a high ball, by the way) to his son, Mariano Rivera Jr and later hung out with the Yankees broadcasters to reflect on his career and today’s special event.

Go Yankees!

Games 119 & 120: BAL vs. NYY — Double the Monday power of Torres

The Yankees start their home stand and this series against the Orioles with a doubleheader, the first game a make-up of the rain out game from May 14 to close out that series. And the Yankees continue to dominate their division rivals, this team in particular thanks to the “Oriole Killer” Gleyber Torres.

Game 1 (make up of May 14)
James Paxton got the start for the afternoon game of today’s doubleheader. He threw 107 pitches through 6 innings, gave up 5 hits, 2 walks, and 3 runs, and struck out 7 Baltimore batters. In the 1st, a lead-off single moved to 2nd on a grounder and then to 3rd on a single before scoring on a sacrifice fly to get the O’s on the board first. A 2-out solo homer in the 3rd and a 1-out solo home run in the 6th capped off the allowed runs under “Big Maple” today.

Kahnle sailed his way through the 7th inning, but Luis Cessa had an unexpected rough patch in the 8th inning. He quickly loaded up the bases with 2 singles and a walk. A simple grounder moved all the runners up and scored another run for the visitors. And another walk loaded the bases again. That was it for Cessa’s outing.

Zack Britton came in to try to stop the threat. After a strong strikeout, he gave up a walk that scored one more run for the Orioles before he got the final out in the 8th. Chapman breezed his way to his 32nd save with a 9-pitch 9th inning.

The Yankee offense, however, came ready to play. In the bottom of the 1st, Gardner led-off with a walk, moving to 2nd on a slow fielder’s choice that Urshela hit into and made it safely to 1st. Didi Gregorius then smacked a big 3-run home run to leap the Yankees ahead on the scoreboard. After an out, Gleyber Torres smacked a big solo home run.

In the 2nd, with 2 outs, Gardner doubled and then scored on Gio Urshela’s double. Urshela kept things rolling with a 1-out solo home run in the 5th. Cameron Maybin got in on the fun with a 2-out solo home run in the 6th. And with 1 out in the 7th, Gardner worked a walk, advanced to 3rd on Urshela’s single, and then scored on Gregorius’ sacrifice fly.

Final score: 8-5 Yankees (the May 13-15 series closes with a Yankees sweep 3-0)

Game 2 (regularly scheduled game)
The Yankees went to their “opener style” with their now usual opener Chad Green, who quickly breezed through his 4 outs with just 11 pitches. Then new Yankee Joe Mantiply got in some long-term relief, pitching into the 5th. His lone allowed runs were in the 3rd, when a lead-off triple scored on a ground out. And a 2-out single scored as part of a 2-run home run.

Brady Lail came in for the next shift on the mound, closing out the 5th and pitching through the 7th, and he had his own issues. But only at the end. He gave up a lead-off walk and a single that scored as part of a 3-run home run before getting out of the inning and the game.

Nestor Cortes Jr had a clean 8th inning, but he tripped up a bit trying to close out the 9th. But he loaded up the bases with 3 singles with just 1 out, so the Yankees turned to Adam Ottavino. But he gave up a single that scored 2 of those runners before getting the final 2 outs of the game.

And honestly, that would sound like terrible news, but the Yankees continued their offensive dominance from the earlier game right from the start. LeMahieu led-off the 1st with a single, and 1 out later, the bases were loaded with singles from Urshela and Torres. Brett Gardner’s solid triple cleared the bases and leap-frogged into the lead.

In the 2nd, with 1 out, Breyvic Valera singled and moved to 2nd on LeMahieu’s walk. Then a wild pitch and bad throwing error moved the runners up 2 bases, which scored Valera. And Mike Ford smacked a 1-out solo home run up the middle. In the 5th, Judge worked a walk and Urshela singled, and the Orioles finally went to their bullpen. But Gleyber Torres smacked yet another home run against the O’s, this time a 3-run home run to keep the Yankees safely on top.

Valera walked and LeMahieu singled to put runners in the corners. After another pitching change, Judge hit into a fielder’s choice out, where the Orioles snapped into action to get Valera out at home. After another out, Gleyber Torres (who else?) hit another 3-run home run to just dominate the visitors again.

Final score: 11-8 Yankees

Roster moves: Before the game, the Yankees recalled infielder Breyvic Valera from AAA Scranton to be their 26th man for the doubleheader.

Now, among other noteworthy featsGleyber Torres has hit 13 home runs in 17 games against Baltimore just this season. This leaps him among some big names in the record of having the most home runs against a single team in a single season, putting him 2nd only to Lou Gehrig. Gehrig hit 14 home runs against the Indians in 1936, which means that Torres can tie or even surpass the Iron Horse in the next two games of this series.

Also worth noting: Torres has a total of 26 homers this season, so exactly half of those have been off Orioles’ pitchers. He has certainly well-earned the title of “Oriole Killer”.

Finally, the Yankees’ 2020 schedule is out for your future planning. They start 2020 on their road in Baltimore on March 26, playing their home opener a week later on April 2, hosting the Blue Jays. They will close the season out at home against the Rays on September 27.

Go Yankees!

Game 100: NYY vs. MIN — The 10-inning roller coaster

Five hours of eventful baseball isn’t a bad way to spend a Tuesday baseball. The Twins are currently sitting atop the AL Central, just a few games behind the Yankees in the overall AL. So these two teams are positioned for some really good baseball during this mid-week series. After yesterday’s “Triple Play Game”, tonight’s game became quite the battle for the Yankees to come from way behind and then challenge the home team for extra inning glory.

Being the visiting team gave the Yankees the opportunity to strike first, so they did. Hicks led-off with a walk and moved to 3rd on Encarnacion’s 1-out double. They both scored on Didi Gregorius’ 2-out double. But the Yankees’ offense tapered off a bit.

Meanwhile, Domingo German had a night he’d prefer to forget, with a less than stellar start. He threw 82 pitches into just the 4th inning, gave up 9 hits, 2 walks, and 8 runs, and struck out just 3 Twins’ batters. In the 2nd, a lead-off double later scored on a 1-out single to get the home team on the board. A lead-off solo home run in the 3rd tied up the game, but the Twins followed it up immediately with another solo home run to grab the lead.

And then came the 4th inning. The lead-off double moved to 3rd on a wild pitch and scored on a single. After an out, German loaded up the bases with a single and hit-by-pitch. An easy ground out moved all the runners up and scored a run. Then a 3-run home run leaped the Twins into a big lead, and the Yankees ended German’s night by going to their bullpen.

David Hale came in to close out the 4th without adding further runs, despite giving up consecutive singles to threaten. His 5th inning was a bit of a struggle too. A lead-off single moved to 2nd on a grounder and then scored on a double. But then Hale and the Yankees’ defense kicked in and carried them through the next inning without further damage.

The Yankees did find a moment in the top of the 5th to chip away at the Twins’ lead. With 1 out, Judge and Encarnacion each singled. After another out, Didi Gregorius smacked a 3-run home run to score the runners and continue Gregorius’ big offensive night. That was also Gregorius’ 100th career home run, and honestly, this swing alone can be credited with the the turning point in the game because it motivated the Yankees to keep the game close.

They came back in the 8th to charge forward with some of that motivation. Torres led-off with a walk, moved to 3rd on Urshela’s double, and then scored on Mike Tauchman’s double. After a strikeout, Aaron Judge’s double scored both Urshela and Tauchman. The Twins brought in a new reliever. After another strikeout, Voit worked a walk and was pinch-run by LeMahieu. After another pitching change, Didi Gregorius (once again) doubled home Judge and LeMahieu to take the lead in the game.

Kahnle had a scoreless 7th inning, handing the game over to Zack Britton for the 8th. But the Twins were chomping at the bit to not let the Yankees take this game from them. With 1 out, Britton gave up a single that then scored on a big 2-run home run that swung the game back into the Twins’ favor.

Well, that wasn’t going to last long in this game. With 2 outs in the 9th, just an out away from victory for the Twins, Tauchman worked a walk, and then Aaron Hicks smacked a big 2-run home run to give the lead back to the Yankees. It was now handed over to Aroldis Chapman for a 3-out save. But again, not in this game. Chapman gave up 3 consecutive walks to load up the bases, and a sacrifice fly tied up the game.

And into the 10th inning. With 1 out, Gregorius and Romine singled. Gleyber Torres’ single scored Gregorius to give the Yankees back the lead. After another out, Torres made a dash for 2nd as the Twins’ pitcher threw a wild pitch. So in this roller coaster of a game, Romine does his own dash for home to score the insurance run for the Yankees.

So once again, the Yankees needed just 3 outs. Adam Ottavino came in and quickly got a strikeout. He then gave up 2 walks. A fielder’s choice out at 2nd put runners on the corners, and another walk loaded up the bases. Now just an out away and in a jam, the Yankees called on the ever reliable Chad Green. Green came in for just 5 pitches. The batter lined the ball out to center field where Aaron Hicks went running and then sliding into the warning track dirt for a beautiful catch to end the game.

Final score: 14-12 Yankees, in 10 innings

Injury alert: Gary Sanchez came out of the game after the 8th inning. He closed out the big offensive inning by hitting into an easy ground out, but on his jog to first, he seemed to pull up a bit limping. After heading down to the clubhouse, he was initially diagnosed with a groin injury and sent for further testings and an MRI. He will probably be headed to the injured list.

Go Yankees!

Game 80: TOR vs. NYY — Walk-off and glory by All-Star Finalists

Well, that was… eventful. Leave it to this year’s Yankees to close out their final home stand before the All-Star Break with quite the dramatic flair. The Blue Jays, for their part, certainly made it one worth fighting for all the way to the end.

James Paxton got a rocky start in this afternoon’s finale, throwing 91 pitches into the 5th inning. He gave up 8 hits, 4 walks, and 6 runs, and struck out 3 Toronto batters. At the top of the game, he gave up consecutive walks that then scored on a 3-run home run to the glee of the smattering of Blue Jay fans in the stadium. Then in the 2nd, a 1-out single scored on a 2-run home run to add more to the Jays’ early lead.

After settling into a good pattern for the next few innings, Paxton gave up a lead-off solo home run in the 5th. After a walk and out, he handed the ball over to Hale to close out the inning. Hale quickly picked the runner off 1st and got a grounder to do so. He continued that momentum through a scoreless 6th inning. Then, Ottavino and Tarpley each took an inning to run with that pattern.

In the mean time, the Yankees chipped away at the visitors’ lead. With 1 out in the 2nd, Didi Gregorius continued the Yankees’ homer magic with a solo home run, making it the 29th consecutive game with a home run. The Yankees loaded up the bases with a walk to Hicks, a single by Torres, and a 2-out walk to LeMahieu. Aaron Judge’s single scored both Hicks and Torres.

DJ LeMahieu came back in the 4th to hit a 1-out 2-run home run. In the 5th, Encarnacion hit a 1-out double, moved to 3rd on Gregorius’ single, and then scored on Aaron Hicks’ sacrifice fly to finally tie up the game. With 2 outs in the 6th, the Yankees finally took the lead. Judge singled, moved to 2nd on Sanchez’s single, and then scored the go-ahead run on Luke Voit’s single.

Things were finally looking up for the home team. Zack Britton came on to close out the game, but he immediately struggled his way through those pesky 3 outs. The lead-off batter singled, his pinch-runner took 2nd on a passed ball, and then scored on a single to tie the game up again.

So, the game went to the bottom of the 9th. With 1 out, Gregorius singled. Hicks worked a walk to moved Gregorius to scoring position. And then he did on Gleyber Torres’ walk-off single.

Final score: 8-7 Yankees, Yankees sweep the series 3-0

Next up: The Yankees travel across the pond for their much-anticipated series against the Red Sox in London. They have the next two days off for travel/jet lag and will start the mini-series agains their famed rivals on Saturday. They will come back to America with an off-day the first day of July before doing a quick 2-game series in Queens against the Mets. They will spend the final weekend before the All-Star Break in Tampa for a 4-game series there.

Injury update/roster moves: Despite some home for a simple injury, Giancarlo Stanton is headed back to the Injured List. An MRI revealed a strain (or partial tear) in the posterior cruciate ligament in the knee, the connective tissue between the leg bones close to the back of the knee, behind the patella (knee cap).

The Yankees have recalled Mike Tauchman to replace Stanton on the roster. In preparation for the big London series, the teams are allowed to carry a 26th man on their roster. They will select Thairo Estrada. However, Kyle Higashioka and Chance Adams will be held in standby in case they are needed due to injury.

Yankee Trivia: I was not aware of this until today, but this is a great fact. As of today, the Yankees have played 162 regular games straight without being shutout. They have scored in every game for an entire season. That is quite the feat, though it is short of the record held by the Yankees way back from 1931-1933. Those Yankees got runs in 308 straight games, and even won the World Series in the middle of that (1932), their fourth championship.

Finally, VOTE NOW for your favorite finalists in the Final Vote for the All-Star Game. You get one vote on MLB and one vote on Google, so choose wisely. For your consideration, there are six Yankees on the ballot in their respective positions — Luke Voit (1st base), DJ LeMahieu (2nd base), Gio Urshela (3rd base), Gleyber Torres (shortstop), Gary Sanchez (catcher), and Aaron Judge (outfield). This round of voting ends Thursday at 4 pm ET.

Go Yankees!

Game 74: HOU vs. NYY — Rain-soaked and still triumphant

Dark skies threatened and dropped moments of rain on the Bronx most of yesterday. But things looked promising for the game, which actually started on time. The Yankees began their 4-game weekend series against the Astros tonight, and despite a rather messy and soggy 4th inning, they still pulled it out in the end.

The Yankees have had a lot of success with the new pitching model of the “opener”, especially on the back of Chad Green. Green did it again, with a strong 2 scoreless innings before handing the ball over to reliever Nestor Cortes Jr for 3 innings. His problem came after the game back from a rain delay.

But first, the Yankees took advantage of the thundering skies and jumped on a bit of weakness by the Astros’ pitching staff tonight in what turned into a very decisive 4th inning. Gary Sanchez led-off the inning with a solo home run. Stanton then doubled, and in the middle of Encarnacion’s at-bat, it started pouring.

The umpires briefly checked in with the grounds crew for a weather report as fans were scattering for the concourse and nearest overhang. Encarnacion ended up working a walk. As the rain continued to pelt down on the field, Gleyber Torres hit a big 3-run home run into the visitor’s bullpen.

Then after the inning’s first out, in the middle of Maybin’s at-bat, the umpires checked in again with the grounds crew, who came out to clean up the mound a bit from the muddy mess it was. After Maybin worked a walk, the Astros called in a new pitcher, and the grounds crew took the break to add more drying agent to the mound and at the plate.

The rain kind of lightened up as Maybin stole 2nd. After another out, DJ LeMahieu pelted a 2-run home run into Monument Park to keep the Yankees’ offense going. Voit then singled, and in the middle of Sanchez’s at-bat, the home plate umpire suddenly called the game as the rain just dumped on the Bronx. The tarp came on, and the game went into a 37 minute delay.

When the game resumed, Sanchez ended up grounding out to end the inning. So Cortes came out again for the 5th inning, after the long 4th inning and the rain delay. That might have been part of the problem because after 2 outs, he gave up 2 solo home runs to get the Astros on the board.

But the Yankees came back in the bottom of that inning to reclaim those runs. With 1 out, Encarnacion walked, Torres singled, and a wild pitch moved both into scoring position. After another out, Cameron Maybin hit a strong double to score both Encarnacion and Torres. Stanton led-off the 7th with a single and then scored as part of Edwin Encarnacion’s 2-run home run to cap off the Yankee’s big offense tonight.

Tommy Kahnle came out for the 6th inning and gave up a 1-out solo home run. Then the game was handed over to David Hale, who held the Astros off for the 7th, but he got into trouble in the final 2 innings that the Astros tried to rally to overcome the Yankees’ big lead. In the 8th, a lead-off single moved to 2nd on a wild pitch and then scored on a 2-out single.

Hale gave up a 1-out solo home run to lead-off the 9th inning. He then gave up a walk. After an out, the next batter hit into a fielder’s choice, the Yankees unable to get a double play to end the inning. A double then scored the lead runner. After a single put runners in the corners, the Yankees called in Aroldis Chapman to close out the game. Seven pitches later, the game was over, and Chapman notched his 20th save of the season.

Final score: 10-6 Yankees

It’s worth noting that the Yankees have hit home runs in 23 straight games, making them tied for the 8th most in MLB baseball history. The Yankees’ record is 25 games way back in June 1941, during Joe DiMaggio’s famous hitting streak.

HOPE Week Day 4: Today, the Yankees honored a great nonprofit organization that provides furniture to local families in need. Kate Bialo started Furniture Sharehouse in 2007 to serve the Westchester community (a suburb of New York, just north of the City), and to date have helped more than 4000 families. The families are referred to the charity by social service agencies include survivors of house fires and natural disasters, working families bordering the poverty line, families escaping domestic violence, families transitioning from homeless shelters to permanent housing, and young adults aging out of foster care.

The Yankees showed up to the donation warehouse housed at Westchester County Airport to volunteer as “personal shoppers” for two surprised local families, the Collazos and Gullivers. Zack Britton, JA Happ, Jonathon Holder, Austin Romine, Gleyber Torres, Gio Urshela, Luke Voit, and bullpen coach Mike Harkey drove 2 trucks full of furniture as part of their donation to the charity and hosted a pizza party lunch for the families after helping them select new furniture for their homes.

The families and Furniture Sharehouse founder Kate Bialo were the Yankees’ guests at the game tonight, and Bialo threw out the ceremonial first pitch and accepted an additional donation of $10,000 to their operating costs (overhead, delivery, repairs, etc.) on behalf of the Yankees. The estimate is that they spend about $350 to help each family, so imagine how many more families they can help with the Yankees monetary and furniture donations. Somewhere, a family is will sleep in real beds and eat dinner around a real table tonight because of their generosity.

Go Yankees!