Good game. Would watch again. Old man CC Sabathia held his own and the bullpen did their thing. The bats did not take advantage of a lot of the RISP advantages, but they scored enough runs to get the game win and the series win. Because the Red Sox won yet another extra innings game at Baltimore, the AL East deficit remains at 3. Oh well. Anyways, let’s recap this thing.
The only two runs allowed
The Twins got the bases loaded awful quick in the first inning – in four pitches, to be precise. Brian Dozier singled on the first pitch to get it going and Joe Mauer *and* Jorge Polanco both bunted for a single. Not gonna lie, that’s a hell of a strategy. Whether it angers Sabathia or not, I don’t know why more teams don’t do it. However, Eduardo Escobar quickly grounded into an easy 6-4-3 double play to do CC a favor. Sure, they scored a run but it also raised the out count from zero to two. Also it was very early on in the game and you could count on the Yankee bats to make up for it (they did).
Flash forward to the top of the third, with the game tied at 1-1, Sabathia allowed a leadoff homer to Max Kepler. He tried to sneak a slider into the zone but it hung like it was placed on a tee. Kepler, who came into the game with a .375 OPS (!) against lefties this season, did not miss any of it. In the tale of unlikely outcome, that was also the first home run that Sabathia allowed to lefties all year. Stuff like this happens. From there though, CC went on a roll, retiring the next ten hitters in a row until Dozier singled in the top of the sixth. Sabathia ended up pitching six full innings while allowing two runs while striking out five – while needing only 77 pitches (51 strikes). I’ll take this outing from him any day. After tonight’s win, Sabathia improved to a 12-5 record with 3.81 ERA.
Runs despite RISPFails
Jose Berrios is a pretty damn good young pitcher. He faced the Yankees once prior to today and got a win on a 1-ER, 6.1 IP outing. However tonight, the Yankee bats made him work. In only 3.1 IP of work, the young righty threw 90 pitches and walked four. That’s a heck of a thing to do against a starter who carried a 2.78 BB/9 IP into the game. Because of the early departure, the Twins had to tap deep into their bullpen for rest of the game and ended up using seven relievers. Gotta love expanded rosters.
The Yankees, even when they did not score, kept stacking up baserunners and increasing pitch counts. In the bottom of the first, they had an Aaron Judge single and Didi Gregorius walk to put two runners on but failed to score. The next inning, however, they did. Starlin Castro drew a walk to lead it off. While both Jacoby Ellsbury popped out and Todd Frazier flied out to alleviate the situation for Berrios, Greg Bird worked a walk and Brett Gardner came to rescue by hitting an RBI double to the left center. Judge followed it up with a big fly ball that he just missed and was caught by the CF Byron Buxton. Could have been a more exciting inning but he just got under the ball. Oh well.
Two innings later, with the Twins leading 2-1, the Yankees made another rally to get ahead. Ellsbury’s double and Bird’s walk made it two runners on with one out. Gardner, who came up clutch the previous time up, did it once again by squaring an RBI single to tie the game and knock Berrios out of the game. Paul Molitor put in Alan Busenitz to face Judge. The righty uncorked a wild pitch that advanced both runners to the scoring position and Judge hit another big fly ball that did not quite reach to the seats – but good enough for a go-ahead sac fly. 3-2 Yankees.
The Yankees added on another in the bottom of the fifth. Facing the former Mets great Dillon Gee, the Yankees loaded the bases with a Chase Headley HBP, a Castro single and a Frazier walk. With Bird coming up with bases loaded and two outs, Molitor put in the lefty Buddy Boshers (what a great name) to face him. Bird hit a grounder to the 1B Mauer… who could not handle it. Mauer is usually sure-handed at first base and he just happened to have made an error in that crucial spot. A one-run game became a two-run one and that’s a big deal when you’re facing the Yankee bullpen. New York added one more in the bottom of the sixth. Judge and Gary Sanchez hit back-to-back singles against Ryan Pressly. Gregorius lined out to second sharply and Headley struck out to make it two outs pretty quick. However, Castro hit a single right past the second baseman Dozier to give the Yankees a 5-2 lead. The score would stay that way for good.
Lost in all that scoring is that they did leave a whopping 14 runners left stranded this game. It would have been much more annoying had the Yankee pitcher allowed a couple more runs, but you know what, once they took that 3-2 lead, they did not look back.
Told you that the bullpen did their job, right? After Sabathia’s 6 innings Chad Green, David Robertson and Aroldis Chapman took care of an inning each to close it out tidily. Green did not have his best outing – allowing a walk and a hit while striking out no one – but, as they say, he got the job done. That was only the fifth time this season that Green pitched without a strikeout. Au contraire, D-Rob was lights out, striking out the side in a perfect frame. Chapman, coming off of a five-out save from last night, got the fastball up to 103 mph and struck out one en route to his 20th save of the season. Chapman has been very good in September, allowing 0 runs while striking out 13 in 8 innings. Need him to keep that going while Dellin figures it out.
Judge had a rare strikeout-less game. He went 2-for-4 with a sac fly. It was something a bit different especially considering that the two hits were singles. Speaking of hits, both Gardner and Castro had three hits each and three RBI’s combined.
Box score, video highlights, updated standings and WPA
The Yankees will look to sweep the Twins tomorrow in an afternoon game at the Bronx. Luis Severino will be on the mound against the 2011 Yankee great Bartolo Colon.