Bomber Bursts, Kiner-Falefa & Cortes Conquer Angels. NY 9 LA 3

Isiah Kiner-Falefa makes spectacular catch in the 7th to turn a double into a sac fly & quell Angel rally

The Yankees scored 5 runs in the bottom of the 1st to take a 5-0 lead, Nestor Cortes pitched 6 strong innings, and the Yankees won 9-3.

Yet this game got close in between — the Angels down 5-3 with bases loaded in the 7th, when Wandy Peralta got Anthony Rendon to fly out to left to end the threat.

The Yankees then piled on in the bottom of the 7th with 3 runs — the big hit a 2-out, 2-RBI single by Isiah Kiner-Falefa.

Kiner-Falefa made two spectacular catches in centerfield in the game — one ending the 4th inning, and an even more incredible catch in the 5th to turn an RBI double into a sac fly and quell the rally.

All of it carried the Yanks to the seemingly-easy-but-devil-in-the-details win on a late Thursday afternoon at Yankee Stadium (4 pm start time, 60 degrees and sunny).

“We were really encouraged by what we saw right away (in Spring training),” said manager Aaron Boone afterwards about Kiner-Falefa playing centerfield. “Today was a tough sun out there. First one he kind of lost in the sun and had to re-find it; the second one cost him a little bit of a jump coming in but he has that athleticism and foot speed to make up for it. And then that play on Ward, was legit.”

NY improves to 12-7 and takes the 3 game series against the Angels. NY has not lost a series yet this season. The Yanks are on a 102-win pace. LA falls to 9-10. NY is in 2nd place, 4 games behind 16-3 Tampa.

1. Yanks JUMP on Top 5-0

The Yanks jumped all over Angels left hander Patrick Sandoval in the bottom of the 1st: Anthony Volpe walked, Aaron Judge singled, and Anthony Rizzo singled in Volpe for a 1-0 NY lead.

DJ LeMahieu worked a 1-out walk, and Oswald Peraza walked to force in a run.

Sandoval went 3-2 on Jose Trevino and had to throw a strike — he did with an 85-MPH slider right over the plate and Trevino ripped it to left for a double and 2 runs.

After that Sandoval settled down and pitched through the 4th, striking out 5.

2. Cortes Good

With Nestor Cortes on the mound the Yanks seemed in good shape. And Nestor did not disappoint — pitching shutout ball into the 5th.

In the 5th, Nestor allowed a single, double, RBI single (by Logan O’Hoppe) to start the inning for a 5-1 game.

3rd baseman Taylor Ward ripped a shot to left center that had double written all over it but Kiner-Falefa made the 2nd of 2 spectacular catches in center with an unbelievable-that-he-caught-it diving catch to left center. Instead of an RBI double and big rally — it was a sac fly out. Nestor then retired Shohei Ohtani to end the inning.

Nestor got through the 6th easily, but walked the leadoff batter Hunter Renfroe in the 7th and was gone. Ron Marinaccio came in and allowed an RBI double to O’Hoppe — the run charged to Cortes.

Nestor finished with 6 IP, 4 hits, 3 runs, 7 K’s — he wins to go 3-0 3.09.

3. Falefa Great in Center

Cortes was helped by two spectacular plays by Isiah Kiner-Falefa in centerfield — the 2nd one shown above; the first one a spectacular diving catch coming in from center for the last out of the 4th.

4. Wandy Gets Out of It

After Marinaccio allowed the double to O’Hoppe to make it a 5-3 game in the 7th with nobody out, he got a strikeout and groundout, and with 2 outs, runner on 3rd, Boone brought in lefty Wandy Peralta to face Ohtani.

But Peralta walked Ohtani and Mike Trout singled to load the bases.

With the tying run in scoring position and the game hanging in the balance, Wandy got Anthony Rendon to fly out to left. PHEW.

5. Falefa & Yanks Pile On

And then the Yankee batters got to work with their second burst of the afternoon.

Anthony Rizzo led off the 7th with a walk, Gleyber Torres walked, and DJ LeMahieu doubled in a run.

A groundout, walk, lineout by Trevino loaded the bases with 2 outs, when Isiah Kiner-Falefa turned up big again — a 2-out RBI single to plate 2 runs and make it 8-3.

Oswald Peraza singled in a run in the 8th to give NY the 9-3 lead. Peraza also made a tremendous play in the field in the 8th, playing 2nd base.

Ian Hamilton and Greg Weissert pitched a shutout 8th and 9th respectively, for the old ballgame.


  • Anthony Rizzo went 3-3 on the day with 2 walks. He is batting .344 (.449 OBP).

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