The New York Yankees won three straight over the Texas Rangers in the Bronx, buoying their playoff hopes before a showdown at Fenway.
Yankees Eke Out 4-3 Win Thanks to Shutdown Bullpen
Behind a rugged Nestor Cortes Jr. performance, the Yankees eked out a 4-3 win on Monday evening. Cortes was not his usually effective self. But buoyed by an early scoring blitz, Cortes threw 4.1 innings while working in and out of trouble.
Within eight first-inning pitches, Cortes allowed back-to-back singles and a wild pitch, placing Rangers on second and third. But he reverted to type quickly, striking out the next three batters to end the jam. Following his 1-2-3 second, Gary Sánchez laced a grooved fastball by AJ Alexy over the left-field wall to open the scoring. Another easy inning allowed the Yankees to pile on, but this time via a chain of hits and heads-up baserunning.
Anthony Rizzo singled after DJ LeMahieu walked, bringing Aaron Judge to the plate. Judge ripped a first-pitch slider to center, scoring LeMahieu, and moved to second on an unnecessary throw home by Rangers rookie Leody Taveras. A sac fly by Giancarlo Stanton plated Rizzo before Joey Gallo worked a walk. That brought Gleyber Torres to the dish to line a two-out single to right, scoring Judge and earning the Yankees a 4-0 lead.
While those four runs were all the Yankees offense could muster, 4.2 shutout innings from the bullpen banked the win. Chad Green picked up Cortes after his trouble in the fifth nearly cost the Yankees the lead. After a homer and back-to-back doubles made it 4-2, Green allowed a sac fly to place another run on Cortes’ ledger, but got the next Ranger to pop out to end the threat. Green tossed a clean sixth, before handing to Clay Holmes to do the same in the seventh. Joely Rodriguez maneuvered through a rocky eighth, allowing Aroldis Chapman to earn his third save in his last three opportunities.
Yankees Keep Pace in WC with 7-1 Win
If all else fails, Yankees fans can hang their hat on Luis Severino‘s triumphant return to the mound on Tuesday. With surgeries, setbacks, and 707 days of frustration behind him, Sevy struck out the first batter he faced to a resounding ovation from an otherwise paltry Yankee Stadium crowd. Severino closed out the 7-1 win with two innings of shutout ball, following Michael King’s lights-out appearance and Jordan Montgomery’s again steady start. Those three Yankees arms combined for 11 K’s, six hits, and a solitary walk over the nine innings, earning Monty his first win since August 23rd.
The Yankees matched their second-highest run total since their 13-game winning streak on the back of three big homers. Stanton opened the scoring with an RBI groundout and added to the lead with a missile in the third. His 118.5mph, 415ft. home run was the third-fastest recorded long ball in the Majors this season. Following a fifth-inning RBI single by Rizzo, Gallo launched a first-pitch fastball into the Bronx night to make it 4-1. From there, it was Judge’s turn to cap the scoring with a back-breaking, opposite-field three-run blast. Every Yankee but Sánchez joined the hit party, showing contributions are coming up and down the lineup following the fiasco against Cleveland.
Yankees Regain WC2 Lead with Eighth Inning Rally
A sluggish Yankees performance turned spectacular in their 7-3 win on Thursday, capping the series sweep. With two outs and the score knotted at 3-3 in the eighth, four poor Spencer Patton sliders allowed the Yankees to take the lead and put the game out of reach.
Gallo blooped Patton’s first slider into no man’s land in left for a hustle double. His next slider hung down the middle for Torres to lace into right, plating Gallo and taking the lead. Gio Urshela softly grounded the next slider in the second base hole, which Yonny Hernandez bobbled. That allowed Torres to slide home, narrowly evading the tag, to make it 5-3. Sánchez, hitting for Kyle Higashioka after the backup’s outstanding evening, then blasted a slider over the wall in dead center to make it 7-3 Yankees.
Without the pivotal eighth, the Yankees might have rued their missed chances. In all, the Yankees made six outs with a runner on third and less than two outs: three strikeouts, two popouts, and one a fly out to the wall in center. That all compounded a rocky start by Corey Kluber. Following his lights-out performance in the Yankees’ lone win against Cleveland, Kluber struggled to put away the Rangers. He allowed three earned on eight hits over 4.1 innings.
Luckily, the Yankees found their spark through Higashioka in the fifth. He plated the first two Yankees runs with a roped double to center. The Yankees then fortuitously tied the game in the sixth without contact, walking the bases loaded and striking out thrice, only for a cross-up wild pitch to allow Judge to stroll home. With another shutout, shutdown bullpen performance from Wandy Peralta, Holmes, Green, and Chapman, the Yankees capped the sweep in pulsating style.
Injury Roundup and Look Ahead
All signs are good for the Yankees on the injury front with nine regular-season games left. In addition to the returning Severino and Domingo Germán, the Yankees expect Jameson Taillon and Jonathan Loaisiga back sometime next week. Taillon commenced his rehab assignment with AAA Scranton on Thursday, while Loaisiga will work a bullpen over the weekend following a “free and easy” long toss on Wednesday, according to Boone. Miguel Andújar also began a rehab assignment on Sunday but a Yankees return is not anticipated this season.