The Yanks jumped out to a 9-3 lead in this one — but you knew the game would never be over until it was over, in a battle of two 1st place teams with awesome lineups, a lively ball, in a homer dome. The Yanks ended up getting very solid relief pitching — from Nestor Cortes Jr., Tommy Kahnle, and a back-on-track Aroldis Chapman — to win it. With the win the Yanks won the 3-game series — which was an awesome thing for them to do, especially after losing the 1st game and trailing in the 2nd game, 8-2.
And that’s all you need to know. With the win the Yanks continue to have the best record in baseball, and are 10 games in front of Tampa and 11 in front of Boston for the division lead, with a 4-game set scheduled next in Boston.
The Yanks were up against Minnesota’s ace, Jake Odorizzi (who came in at 11-4, 3.18). They countered with JA Happ (who came in at 8-5, 4.86). The Twins jumped out to a 2-0 lead on a 2-run homer by Eddie Rosario in the bottom of the 1st off Happ. It looked like it might be a long evening.
But Yankees exploded all over Odorizzi — Didi Gregorius who went 5-5 in the previous game with 7 RBI, remained RED HOT — doubling in a run his first time up in the 2nd inning. Mike Tauchman tripled in Didi and Gleyber Torres, giving the Yanks a 3-2 lead.
Bomber Squad. pic.twitter.com/7TvVi9yPKu
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) July 25, 2019
Homer, Homer, Double, Triple, Homer, Homer
In the 3rd, Aaron Hicks and Gleyber Torres homered to make it 6-3 Yanks. In the 4th, Hicks doubled in a run and Didi Gregorius (up for the second time) tripled in 2 runs (which made him 7 for his last 7) for a 9-3 lead off Odorizzi. He left after 4 innings — 10 hits, 9 runs (7 earned) to raise his ERA from 3.18 to 3.84.
Yanks’ Relief Pitching = Good!
And it kind of ended there — Cortes allowed a homerun to Cruz in the 5th to make it 9-7, but pitched 3.1 innings, 3 hits, 1 run for the win (4-0 4.20).
Tommy Kahnle blew smoke in the 8th — striking out the side.
Kahnle comes in and strikes out Sano on three pitches pic.twitter.com/HCUF1FgbpO
— David Mendelsohn (@BigBabyDavid_) July 25, 2019
In the 9th, Edwin Encarnacion fouled a pitch off his foot, then after the trainer came out and he hobbled around a bit — stepped back into the batters box and hit a homerun to left, and hobbled around the bases to make it 10-7 NY.
Yankee Twitter bit its collective finger with Aroldis Chapman coming in for the 9th; many were hoping Kahnle would come back out. But Chapman entered and got a massive fly ball by Kepler to the warning track in left for the 1st out — no problem. He walked the next guy, Mitch Garver. But Chapman’s fastball, which he started locating to the last two hitters he faced the night before — continued to “locate”. He got a ground ball back to him by Polanco that he threw low to 2nd to screw up the double play but get an out on. Then struck out Cruz to end it uneventfully.
Aaron Judge went 2-5 and is now batting .311. DJ LeMahieu went 1-4 and is batting .336 to lead the American League. Judge, if he qualified, would be 4th. Which means Judge has a shot at the batting title — he has 203 plate appearances and you need 502 to qualify; the Yanks have 61 game left, which means with Judge batting 2nd and getting 5 plate appearances a game — he would get 305 plate appearances more if he doesn’t miss a game.
The important thing to note is that his adjustment in his swing, which is producing many line drives to the opposite field — has made him a .300+ hitter so far, although he isn’t hitting as many moon-shot homers. You figure the homeruns will come but there are only 8 guys in the AL right now batting .300 — a rarity (the lively ball is good for pitchers as well since it moves so much, there are a ton of strikeouts — thus producing low batting averages).