Aroldis Chapman had nothing in the 9th — walking the first two batters on 9 pitches with the Yankees precariously holding a 2-1 lead and going 1-0 on batter #3 — so reached back for his new “triple play ball” pitch and it worked. Sean Murphy hit a hard grounder to third for a Gio Urshela to DJ LeMahieu to Chris Gittens rally-killing, inning-ending, ballgame-ending triple play — the 2nd triple play by the Yankees in 4 days and the 3rd in a month. Chapman had gotten out of a similar 9th-inning jam with a triple play against Texas on May 21st.
It made Gary Sanchez‘s huge 2-RBI double in the 6th stand up for a come-from-behind 2-1 Yankee victory on a beautiful, 80-degree Father’s Day Sunday afternoon at The Stadium.
Both Boston and Tampa lost later in the afternoon, so the 38-33 Yanks pulled to within 4.5 of first place Boston and 4 games behind Tampa.
1. Monty vs Manaea = Pitcher’s Duel
Jordan Montgomery started for the Yanks and pitched great. He made one mistake — a homerun to all-star caliber 1st baseman Matt Olson in the 1st — Olson’s 20th homerun of the year. Other than that Monty pitched shutout ball, motoring through the A’s lineup — using every bit of the ballpark, but getting out after out.
In the 3rd, Clint Frazier caught one at the wall in right with 2 on to end the inning (phew), and in the 4th Aaron Judge caught one at the wall in center to end the inning (phew). In the 6th, Matt Chapman hit a fly to the wall in center with a runner on and 1 out, but Judge was there. Phew again.
Through 5 innings it was 1-0 Oakland because Sean Manaea was dealing too. Manaea came in with a 6-2 2.99 record and he was lights out through 5 — 10 strikeouts and only 2 hits allowed.
In the 6th, Monty allowed a walk, got an out, then allowed a single and was gone. There went Monty’s chance at a win.
“My rhythm kind of came and went,” said Monty afterwards. “I had a couple of good innings. Battled for a couple of innings. I threw that heater to Olson; a 1-0 pitch; I tried to be aggressive and threw a fastball but he got it. But we won so I’m happy with it.”
Monty mentioned he loves pitching to Gary Sanchez; has always loved it, and loves it even more now that the hard-hitting Sanchez is back.
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) June 20, 2021
Loaisiga Picks Up Monty in 6th
Manager Aaron Boone brought in Jonathan Loaisiga who got a double play ball to end the inning — but on review the batter was safe at first — so everyone had to take the field again and Loaisiga got out of the inning again by inducing a groundout with the runner on 3rd.
Loaisiga pitched a shutout 7th to lower his ERA to 1.63 and continue Yankee Twitter talk that he should be an All Star.
2. Sanchez Huge Game-Winning Hit
Bottom of the sixth — 1-0 Oakland — it was getting late early. But Clint Frazier and Aaron Judge worked walks off Manaea to bring up Gary Sanchez with 1 out. Sanchez whom Boone put #3 in the order this weekend.
Sanchez hit a shot to right center for a 2-RBI double and as the throw came home Gary legged it to 3rd where he was dead to rights — but somehow managed to avoid the tag while flopping on the base! It should have been a triple but they ruled it a double. In any case the Yanks had a 2-1 lead.
Let’s get it Kraken. pic.twitter.com/l9NVYeKwXu
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) June 20, 2021
3. Luetge Survives 8th
The Yanks couldn’t plate another runner (Giancarlo Stanton struck out with Sanchez on 3rd and 1 out) so the Yanks went to the late innings nursing the 2-1 lead.
Matt Chapman tripled to left center in the 8th, putting the tying run at 3rd with 1 out, but Lucas Luetge got a HUGE STRIKEOUT of Matt Olson, and then got Ramon Laureano to golf a pitch for an easy fly out to Clint Frazier. (The ball looked like it could go out off the bat but it was an easy fly — leaving one to wonder if it would have carried with the lively ball.)
4. Chapman & the Triple Play
And then came the 9th and Chapman didn’t have it from the go. He walked Jed Lowrie on 5 pitches. He walked Tony Kemp on 4 pitches. The game was already tied in your mind you just hoped the Yanks wouldn’t be down more than one run.
During the Kemp at bat, Boone visited the mound. Talked to Chapman to see if everything was ok. Two pitchers were warming in the pen — Wandy Peralta and Luis Cessa. You never have pitchers warming in the pen with your ace Chapman pitching. But there they were.
First pitch to batter #3 Sean Murphy — a ball.
Next pitch: a hard ground ball to 3rd — Gio to DJ to Gittens — TRIPLE PLAY! Ballgame Over!
Just ending the game on our daily triple play 🤷♂️ pic.twitter.com/Hwt7C8hRqj
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) June 20, 2021
After the game on Twitter many Oakland A’s fans were asking why on earth Sean Murphy even swung — and/or why he wasn’t bunting in that situation. Good questions.
A TRIPLE PLAY! A TRIPLE PLAY! BALLGAME OVER! YANKEES WIN! THEEEEEEEEEEEEEE YANKEES WIN! pic.twitter.com/KEipegc87d
— John Sterling Calls (@JSterlingCalls) June 20, 2021
- The Yankees tied a record with their 3rd Triple Play of the season.
- They had just turned one against Toronto in the 1st inning 4 days earlier, and
- Aroldis Chapman got out of a similar jam with a similar game-ending triple play against Texas on May 21st — a Gio to Rougned Odor to Luke Voit triple play to end the game.
- Gary Sanchez went 2-3 to raise his average to .237 (.340 OBP). He is looking more and more each day as a guy who should not only be on the All Star team, but start the All Star team at catcher.