Yankees Smash Back into 1st Place — May 19, 2019: NY 13 Tampa 5

This one looked like a loss. When Nestor Cortes Jr.served up the MASSIVE 3-run homerun to Brandon Lowe to make it 5-3 Tampa in the 3rd, John Sterling and Suzyn Walman on radio starting talking about what other starting pitchers the Yankees had and who was in the minors etc. Sterling mentioned the Yanks didn’t have a day off from now until June so they’d better do something.

And then the game started taking wild swings with numerous turning points.

Turning Point 1 — Cortes Conquers Tampa!

First major turning point for the Yankees — Nestor Cortes Jr.settled down! He pitched scoreless baseball for the next two innings. This had Yankee fans (like me) scrambling for more information on this Cortes fellow. I found this on the Minor League Baseball site:

“Nestor Cortes is quite the enigma. Cortes stands at 5-foot-11 205 pounds and looks every bit of it. ..his fastball topped out at 89 miles per hour. Yet over the past two seasons, the 22-year-old left-hander has stymied every level of baseball.”

Turning Point 2 –Hicks to the Sticks!

Meanwhile, Aaron Hicks, goat of the loss the day before — hit a massive homerun of his own to tie the game in the 4th off Charlie Morton, who came in 4-0 2.32 but did not have his good stuff. An error on a groundball by 3rd baseman Yandy Diaz preceded the Hicks homerun — allowing DJ LeMahieu to get on with 2 out. Morton had just looked like he’d settled in, striking out the first 2 Yankee batters of the inning.

Turning Point 3 — Ottavino vs Meadows

In a tie game, the Yanks barely got out of the 6th — as Cortes yielded a walk and a single in between 2 outs. Adam Ottavino came in and walked a batter, loading the bases with 2 out — and had to face the lefty Austin Meadows, the hero of the day before and one of the best young hitters in the league. Ottavino went to a 3-2 pitch and struck Meadows out. PHEW.

Turning Point 4 — Tampa Implodes, Yanks Explode in 6th

Then the Tampa ballpen — namely Diego Castillo and Ryne Stanek — came in and imploded — walking Yankees left and right in the 6th as the Yanks exploded for 7 runs — 6 of them coming with 2 out. A key decision was Stanek intentionally walking Gary Sanchez with runners on 2nd and 3rd and 2 out, when the count to him went 3-1. Kendrys Morales then walked to force in a run, and Gleyber Torres reached on an infield single when the throw to first bounced in the dirt and 1st baseman Ji-Man Choi trapped the ball against his chest in vain. Instead of out #3 it was another run.

Thairo Estrada then iced it with a bases clearing shot down the 3rd base line for a double. Estrada had entered the game because Gio Urshela got hit in the balls earlier on a foul ball at the plate. It was that kind of a day for Tampa. And Gio.

End Game

Chance Adams — former high Yankee prospect back from arm surgery — pitched 3 shutout innings of relief to end the game. Maybe the best development of the whole day.

Brett Gardner had a good game — his bat is alive again — he went 3 for 5 to raise his average back to .211. Gary Sanchez hit a leadoff triple in the 5th but was stranded at 3rd; he had 2 hits. Luke Voit (0-3) got a couple of big walks. DJ LeMahieu got 2 hits, 3 runs, and crushed a homerun.

Didn’t Look Good from the Start

The Yanks put Chad Green and the ballpen up against Charlie Morton, so it looked like a tough one from the start. Green pitched well the first two innings but then gave up back-to-back fly ball homeruns just over the right field wall in the 3rd. “They’re not swinging and missing at his fastball like they used to,” said Suzyn Waldman.

The Boxscore


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