Close. No Cigar. Yanks 9th Inning Rally Falls Short. Tampa 4 NY 3

In a pitchers’ duel of bullpens where the Yankee bullpen blinked first, NY launched a furious rally that fell short in the bottom of the 9th as pinch hitters Gary Sanchez and Rougned Odor both struck out with the tying run on 2nd, and the game-winning, Wild Card-clinching run on 1st.

Tampa won 4-3 and the Yanks lost a game to both Boston (1 game behind) and Toronto (2 games behind) with 2 games to play. Seattle lost later in the evening so NY remains a win away from clinching the 2nd Wild Card, and 2 wins away from clinching the top Wild Card and having a cigar.

“We could have just laid down and did nothing and gone 1-2-3 and had a night, ‘see you later'”, said Joey Gallo afterwards. “But we fought. It’s good to see that. It’s obviously sad we lost but it’s good to see that fight.”

Boone Trending

After the game manager Aaron Boone was trending on Twitter as Yankee fans were “questioning” his “game management.” Boone had brought in Domingo German in relief — who hadn’t pitched since July 31 — and ended up leaving him in too long, and brought rookie Albert Abreu into a tense situation in the 9th, when he allowed a hit to put Tampa up 4-1. Boone then pinch hit sluggers Sanchez and Odor for the punch-and-Judy Kyle Higashioka and Tyler Wade, who have both been coming up with clutch singles lately.

In his post-game interview, Boone said, “We’ve got to turn the page quickly and get after it tomorrow” — a statement he has become infamous on Yankee Twitter for, as he’s said it about 60 times this year.

1. Cortes Started Well

Nestor Cortes Jr.was on the mound for the Yanks and he started off well — striking out the first batter en route to getting the 1st two outs — but then old man Nelson Cruz — who Tampa had picked up at the trade deadline this year — hit a homer to left and it was 1-0 Tampa.

The Yanks got the run back in the bottom of the 1st (below) but Cortes gave up the lead again in the top of the 2nd — two infield singles and a bloop, 2-out single by Kevin Kiermaier made it 2-1 Tampa — although runner Francisco Mejia was thrown out at 3rd to end the inning.

After that Cortes rolled — getting a 1-2-3 shutout 3rd and 4th innings, and getting the first 2 outs of the 5th before yielding a triple to Kiermaier. Boone yanked Cortes at 67 pitches, and brought in Clay Holmes — who struck out Randy Arozarena to end the threat.

2. Stanton Gets Yanks a Run with a Single

The Yanks came right back at Tampa and Shane McClanahan in the bottom of the 1st when Gleyber Torres — batting leadoff with DJ LeMahieu out with a sports hernia — led off with a double and was singled home by Giancarlo Stanton with 2 outs.

3. Bullpens Duel

Tampa pulled McClanahan after 3 innings, since they have clinched the Division — and so it became a battle of bullpens: Tampa’s Pete Fairbanks, Lou Head, and Josh Fleming pitching 4 innings of shutout ball while the Yankees’s Clay Holmes, Wandy Peralta, Jonathan Loaisiga, and Domingo German countered with 3.1 innings of shutout ball.

Loaisiga got one out — relieving Peralta with 1st and 2nd, 2 outs in the 7th. Loaisiga walked Arozarena to load the bases, but struck out Wander Franco swinging in a tense, 8-pitch at bat that went 2-2, with Franco fouling off 3 pitches.

4. Yank Bullpen Blinks

Domingo German was appearing in his first game for the Yanks since being shut down July 31st due to shoulder inflammation. He pitched a shutout 8th and looked impressive.

German struck out the first batter of the 9th but then walked Mejia and Kiermaier. Boone brought in Albert Abreu — the rookie who has pitched well this year but unevenly — and sported an ERA over 5.00 coming in.

Abreu hadn’t pitched since September 18th, when he got blasted for 5 runs in .2 innings by Cleveland.

Abreu got Arozarena to ground into a fielders choice to put 1st and 3rd, 2 outs. Arozarena stole 2nd and with 2 outs, 2nd and 3rd — Abreu faced rookie hot shot Wander Franco — who was 0-4 in the game to that point.

The count went 3-2 when Franco singled up the middle for 2 runs and a Tampa 4-1 lead and the apparent ballgame. Yankee fans started heading for the exits at Yankee Stadium.

5. Yankees Rally in Bottom of 9th Falls Short

And so with the game looking lost, Aaron Judge grounded out to start the bottom of the 9th off Andrew Kittredge.

But then…

  • Giancarlo Stanton doubled, and went to 3rd on fielder’s indifference,
  • Joey Gallo bunted to an empty 3rd base (due to the shift) for an RBI single — he’s bunted against the shift for a single several times this year now,

  • Gio Urshela singled to right and it was 4-2 Tampa!
  • Old Man Brett Gardner singled to right to make it 4-3 and put the tying run on 2nd, the Cigar-Smoking run on 1st!

And that is when Boone went to pinch hitters Sanchez and Odor who both struck out for the old ballgame.


  • Aaron Judge went 1-4 and is batting .287
  • Giancarlo Stanton went 2-4 to raise his average to .276

The Boxscore





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