Tampa told the Yankees to choose the form of their Destructor. And the Yankees tried to empty their heads, but Corey Kluber‘s name just popped in — and so the Destructor was chosen.
Old friend Kluber, who the Yankees decided not to resign after 1 season in NY last year that included a no hitter, pitched 7 innings of 2 hit, shutout baseball to stifle the Yankees.
Meanwhile, Clarke Schmidt and the Yankee bullpen only allowed 2 runs — off a hard-luck single that deflected off of Schmidt’s foot in the 3rd. But it was enough for a loss.
“We just have to give whoever’s on the mound a tough at bat,” said Giancarlo Stanton afterwards. “I need to find it as well. I need to be a boost here, not a blank spot in the lineup.”
NY is now only 4 games ahead of Tampa, 6 ahead of Toronto, and 7.5 over Baltimore. The Yanks are 79-54; losers of 3 in a row, and 6 of their last 10.
1. Kluber the Destructor
It all started out well against Kluber, who came in at 9-7 4.21. Aaron Judge, leading off, struck out but DJ LeMahieu got on due to an error and Giancarlo Stanton ripped 1-out single; the Yanks had 1st and 3rd, 1 out.
But Kluber threw one in the dirt — and Stanton attempted to advance to 2nd but was thrown out. Josh Donaldson grounded out to end the inning.
And then Kluber got into rhythm — using his cutter, changeup, curve, sinker combinations to mow down the Yanks. He pitched 1-2-3 innings in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th before Aaron Hicks reached on an error in the 6th. Aaron Judge followed with a single and the Yanks had their second rally — down 2-0 with 1st and 2nd, 1 out. But LeMahieu struck out and Stanton grounded out and that was it.
Kluber got another 1-2-3 in the 7th.
Pete Fairbanks retired the Yanks 1-2-3 in the 8th.
2. Schmidt Pitched Well
Meanwhile, Clarke Schmidt pitched well. He retired the first 6 batters in a row until allowing 3 singles in the 3rd — the last being a hard-luck one that deflected off his foot — for 2 runs.
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) September 3, 2022
The 3rd went down like this:
- An infield single by Francisco Meija,
- Followed by a single by Jose Siri put 2 on.
- They were sacrificed to 2nd and 3rd, and
- Were plated by a Yandy Diaz single that would have been a sharp grounder to Gleyber Torres at 2nd but hit off Schmidt’s foot and deflected just past a diving Torres into right for 2 runs.
3 knocks in the 3rd turned into 2 early runs in game 2 pic.twitter.com/OGPiesIJqd
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) September 3, 2022
Tough luck — if it doesn’t hit Schmidt’s foot it’s an out and only 1 run or maybe there would’ve been an out at the plate.
“I felt really well,” said Clarke Schmidt when asked how he felt about the way he threw. “I was throwing a lot of strikes. Was in the zone a lot. I felt the shapes of my pitches were really quality. A few off the barrel hits and the one that kicked off my foot was a little unlucky, but overall I felt really happy with everything.”
Schmidt’s slash line: 4.1 innings, 4 hits, 2 runs. He loses to go 5-4 3.02.
3. Yankee Bullpen Brilliant
Good news for the Yanks: the bullpen was brilliant again.
Lou Trivino relieved Schmidt and Jose Siri immediately took off for 3rd base, but Trivino threw him out. Trivino pitched a shutout 6th for 1.2 innings of shutout ball. His ERA drops to 4.87.
Ron Marinaccio got into trouble in the bottom of the 7th but Tampa ran themselves out of a rally:
- Francisco Mejía led off with a single,
- Siri walked, and
- Taylor Walls faked bunt and ripped a shot into the right field corner.
- But Meja for some reason did not take off from 2nd right away, Siri and then Meja got caught in a rundown — the Yanks going after Meja to tag him out before reaching home and Siri just making it back to 2nd.
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) September 4, 2022
It was Peraza’s first big league start.
Loaisiga pitched a shutout 8th as well: 1.2 innings, 0 runs, ERA now at 5.03 and heading down; he’s been pitching great lately.
4. Judge Hits 52nd
And then to the 9th down 2-0 facing ace reliever Jason Adam with little hope at all until Aaron Judge stepped up to lead off and gave the Yankees hope — his 52nd homer of the year.
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) September 4, 2022
The Yankees had tying run at the plate — one last hope to cross their proton energy streams at the dimensional gate.
But LeMahieu popped out, Josh Donaldson struck out, and Giancarlo Stanton struck out swinging for the old ballgame.