German & Yanks Rope-a-Dope the Red Sox. NY 3 Boston 1

Domingo German wasn’t as dominant as he has been, but rope-a-doped the Red Sox lineup for 6 strong innings — getting a lot of help from his defense — and the Yankee bullpen did the rest with 3 shutout innings for the 3-1 victory over Boston, on a beautiful June Saturday night at Yankee Stadium.

Gleyber Torres hit a short-porch solo homer to put NY up in the 4th, Willie Calhoun hit a short-porch solo homer in the 6th to put NY up again, 2-1, and Kyle Higashioka got a clutch 2-out RBI single for an insurance run in the 7th, due in large part to the hustle and speed of Isiah Kiner-Falefa.

A neat and sweet Yankee win.

“Willie can hit. Bauers can hit,” said manager Aaron Boone afterwards. “Willie hit his way onto this team. Some good plays out there. Right out of jump street by McKinney running one down in the gap, and then Bauers makes the play on Devers. We talked about this in spring training. It’s going to take everyone. It’s going to take more than you even think. And we need to be ready for that — and to their credit they’ve come up and done a really nice job for us in helping us win games, and ultimately that’s what it’s all about.”

NY improves to 38-28, 8.5 behind Tampa and 3 behind Baltimore. The Red Sox are now 32-33, 14 out of 1st.

1. German Good, With a Little Help from His Friends

When the Yankees signed Carlos Rodon this winter, and let Jameson Taillon sign elsewhere — some Yankee fans argued that the Yankees hadn’t done enough to bolster their starting staff.

GM Brian Cashman, when asked by reporters if NY would be acquiring other starters, said no — the Yanks had a strong starting 5 and remember they still had Domingo German who had proven himself as a high-end starter, and then also Clarke Schmidt who they were high on.

Some on Yankee Twitter mocked Cashman’s analysis. But it has proven to be on point.

Carlos Rodon has yet to make a start for the Yankees due to injury, but Domingo German has looked every bit a top line starter. And Clarke Schmidt has been looking better and better with each outing.

German Is Mr. Curveball

German uses his wicked curveball as his main pitch, augmenting it with a 94-MPH four-seam fastball and 93-MPH sinker, and 87-MPH changeup to go thru lineups like water, 3 times thru and deep into games. He has a 2.20 ERA since May 1st — but this time out wasn’t as scintillating as he has been — he had to rope-a-dope trouble — allowing a hit or a walk or more in each inning he pitched — yet still stayed in command for the 6 innings of 1-run ball — thanks to his defense.

Yankee Defense Helps German

In the 2nd, German walked Triston Casas and Christian Arroyo rocketed one to the wall in deep right center that Billy McKinney flagged down at the wall. With 2 outs, Reese McGuire doubled to right — but a strong relay throw from Willie Calhoun caused Casas to stop in his tracks heading for home — and go back to 3rd base. He was stranded there when Enrique Hernandez hit a liner to shortstop that Anthony Volpe made a good play on.

In the 3rd, Justin Turner got a 2-out single, then stole 2nd base, and went to 3rd when Kyle Higashioka threw the ball into centerfield (he shouldn’t have even thrown the ball as Turner got a great jump and was almost on 2nd when Higgy caught the ball). Then Rafael Devers hit a shot to left that Jake Bauers made a Great catch on at the wall, saving an RBI double — for the 3rd out of the 3rd with runner on 3rd! Domingo waited for Bauers to come in to give him a high 5.

Rafael Devers led off the 6th with a homer to make it a 1-1 tie. A single and stolen base followed but German struck out the next 2 and got a foul out to end the inning with no further scoring.

“(He) was good once again,” said manager Aaron Boone afterwards about German. “I didn’t think he was as dominant as he was in LA. They squared some balls up on him tonite. But he made some big pitches when he had to. He had some big plays behind him. So just another strong start for what’s been a really good season so far for Domingo.”

2. Houck Not Related to Houk

Meanwhile Tanner Houck was on the hill for Boston, and he pitched well as well. And that is as usual — he has pitched well against the Yanks in the past, in the playoffs. Houck threw 6 innings of 3-hit ball, striking out 6 and allowing 2 runs — but took the loss to go 3-6 5.23.

Houck is not related to former Yankee (and Red Sox and Detroit) manager Ralph Houk — who spent his career as Yogi Berra‘s backup catcher and who was a hero in World War II. Like Yogi, Houk was part of the Omaha Beach landing (he had a bullet pierce his helmet). Houk also earned a Silver Star by leading 60 men in a defense against German tanks in the Battle of the Bulge.

3. Gleyber Short-Porch HR

Gleyber Torres got the Yanks on the board with an opposite-field, short-porch homer in the 4th for a 1-0 lead.

Gleyber has pulled out of a 2-24 mini slump in the last few games. He had 2 hits in this game to raise his slash mark to 11-28-.256 (.332 OBP) — All-Star numbers.

4. Calhoun Short-Porch HR

With the game tied 1-1 after the Devers homer in the top of the 6th, Willie Calhoun put NY right back on top 2-1 with a short porch homer just over the right-field wall in the bottom of the 6th.

5. Yoshida’s 14-Pitch At Bat vs Wandy

With the score 2-1, Wandy Peralta ran into trouble in the 7th when with 2 outs, Masataka Yoshida refused to yield at the plate. Wandy started at 3-0 then threw 10 straight strikes — 8 straight fouled off by Yoshida — before ball 4.

Wandy then walked Justin Turner and had to face Rafael Devers — but got him to ground out to 2nd. PHEW.

6. Higgy – Falefa Insurance

NY picked up a HUGE insurance run in the bottom of the 7th — Isiah Kiner-Falefa led off with a single to center, moved to 2nd on a groundout by Billy McKinney (after DJ LeMahieu struck out), and then with 2 outs Boston brought in reliever Josh Winckowski.

Kyle Higashioka greeted Winckowski with a single up the middle that 2nd baseman Carlos Arroyo was able to knock down but not come up with as Kiner-Falefa dashed home from 2nd.

7. Kahnle Set Up;

Tommy Kahnle stepped into the setup role — pitching the 8th in a 3-1 game. He hit the first batter he faced but then got fly out, fly out, groundout for a shutout inning.

8. Holmes Closes; Sterling Hit By Pitch

Clay Holmes pitched the 9th. He allowed a 1-out single to Alex Verdugo that brought the tying run to the plate. Holmes fared better against Yoshida than Wandy had — striking Yoshida out swinging on 4 pitches for out #2.

With Rafael Devers waiting in the on-deck circle, Holmes faced Justin Turner.

Turner fouled a 3-2 pitch off that hit John Sterling in the booth. On the radio, Sterling’s call went like this, as we captured at the time in a tweet:

“Swung on, a pop foul back here… [Banging noise] OW!! OW!! OW!!! It really hit me! I didn’t think it was coming back that far!!”

Holmes then got Turner to ground out for the old ballgame.

As the post-game started, Sterling told Suzyn Waldman, “You know that foul ball actually hit me. It glanced off my forehead. Took one for the team.”

The Boxscore

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