Well, at least the Yankees showed some Fighting Spirit in Sunday’s game. They very nearly rallied to erase an early 7-0 deficit — they brought the winning run to the plate in the ninth! — but ultimately could not finish the comeback. Alas. The final score as 7-6 Rangers. The Yankees have lost ten of their last 12 games now, yet somehow remain in first place in the AL East. The Red Sox can’t be too happy about that. Anyway, let’s recap with bullet points because it’s Sunday:
- Small Mike: It is becoming increasing clear Michael Pineda’s strong start to the season was nothing more than a classic Michael Pineda hot streak that happened to occur at the start of the season. Nothing’s really changed. He allowed three runs in the first inning Sunday afternoon, including a two-out two-run homer to Adrian Beltre, then he gave up three more in the second, all on a two-out three-run homer by Shin-Soo Choo. Here are his slider locations. Hanger city. Pineda finished the afternoon with seven runs allowed in four innings. He’s allowed at least five runs in three of his last five starts.
- Four-Run Rally: All praise the obstruction rule. Nick Martinez struck out Austin Romine for the third out of the fifth inning, but the ball got away from catcher Jonathan Lucroy, and Martinez got in Romine’s way as he ran to first on the wild pitch. Romine beat the throw to first anyway, but the official call was obstruction on Martinez. Romine would have been awarded first anyway. That kept the inning alive for Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez. Judge stroked a run-scoring single to center, then Sanchez followed with a three-run dinger into Monument Park. Suddenly a seven-run deficit became a three-run deficit. Hmmm.
- Two More Runs: The comeback got serious in the seventh inning. Ronald Torreyes smacked a solo home run to get the Yankees to within 7-5 — the best part? Didi Gregorius picked up Judge to he could high-five Torreyes (video) — then two two-out walks set up Gregorius for a run-scoring single to right. Unfortunately, Sanchez got thrown out going first-to-third on the single to end the inning. Third out at third base down a run? Yuck. The Yankees couldn’t do anything after Chase Headley’s leadoff double in the eighth, then Sanchez struck out with Judge on first base to end the game in the ninth. Bah. At least the offense showed some life. Haven’t seen much of that lately.
- The Unsung Heroes: Shout out to the bullpen for making the comeback attempt possible. Tyler Webb (one inning), Chad Green (two innings), Dellin Betances (one inning), and Aroldis Chapman (one inning) combined for five zeroes after Pineda was removed. Two hits, two walks, seven strikeouts in those five innings. The bullpen has been pretty terrible the last two weeks or so. They did the job Sunday though. They gave the offense a chance to get back in the game. The bats just ran out of innings.
- Leftovers: Aaron Hicks left the game with an oblique injury and is heading to the disabled list … Starlin Castro was not available after receiving a cortisone shot in his wrist … Judge (two singles, two walks) reached base four times and Headley (two singles, double) reached three times … the Yankees had 14 baserunners and did go 3-for-6 with runners in scoring position … Judge stretched his on-base streak to 27 games. That’s the longest by a Yankee since Derek Jeter had a 36-gamer in 2012. The last Yankee rookie with an on-base streak that long was Gil McDougald in 1951. He did it in 29 straight.
Here are the box score, video highlights, and updated standings. Don’t miss our Bullpen Workload page either. The Yankees are now heading to Chicago for the second time this season. They swept the Cubs earlier this year and they’ll look to sweep the White Sox this week. It’s a four-game series. Lefties Jordan Montgomery and David Holmberg are Monday night’s scheduled starting pitchers.