Luke Weaver & Brito Shut ‘Em Down; Oswaldo Magical HR. NY 6 Pittsburgh 3

Oswaldo Cabrera rips solo BOMB high into Pittsburgh night after holding a magical Roberto Clemente bat the day before.

The Yankees pulled Luke Weaver off the scrap heap, and surprised everyone by starting him. Weaver was bombed early but settled in to strike out 7 in 4 innings of 3-run ball, and handed the ball over to the Yankee pen of Jhony Brito, Ian Hamilton and Clay Holmes for 5 shutout innings.

Yankee pitching retired the last 21 batters in a row to beat the Pirates 6-3 in Pittsburgh on a Saturday night.

On offense — the Yanks jumped on top with 3 runs in the top of the 1st inning as Austin Wells ripped an RBI double and Estevan Florial followed with a CLUTCH, 2-out, bases loaded, 2-run single.

Later Giancarlo Stanton hit a ROCKET homer, and Oswaldo Cabrera remained RED HOT launching a monster home to right in the 8th for insurance.

Cabrera’s homer was the first in months and it came after he visited the Roberto Clemente Museum the day before and was told to hold one of Clemente’s bats — if he did he would hit a homer the next day.

A Magical night for the Yanks as they pursue a Magical and improbable playoff run.

“I never thought I’d be a Yankee honestly,” said Weaver afterwards. “So it’s pretty cool.”

NY has won 3 in a row and is 14-5 in their last 19, the hottest team in baseball. They are now 6 games behind the Wild Card with 13 games to go.

1. Weaver Announced as Starter?

Yankee management has done such a good job picking up players out of nowhere who do well for NY, that you give them the benefit of the doubt when they pick up another.

And so it was with Luke Weaver, who the Yanks picked up a few days ago, after Seattle released him, and that after Cincinnati released him earlier this year. Luke Weaver who has the highest ERA amongst starters in MLB — 6.87 in 97 innings for Cincinnati and 6.08 in 13 innings for Seattle.

One might have thought NY picked him up to pitch some innings out of the pen, but Yank management threw everyone a curveball as Weaver was announced as the starter for Saturday’s game against the Pirates.

It was as if Yankee management is trying to make a magical late-season playoff run as incredible as it can be.

2. Yanks Get Weaver Early Runs

The Yanks Jumped on top with 3 runs in the top of the 1st against Pirate starter Luis Ortiz, who came in with a 4-4 4.26 record.

DJ LeMahieu led off with a walk, and after Aaron Judge struck out, Gleyber Torres walked, and Austin Wells ripped a shot over the centerfielder’s head for an RBI double.

Giancarlo Stanton walked to load the bases with 1 out, but Anthony Volpe struck out — bringing Estevan Florial to the plate with 2 outs, bases loaded.

Florial ripped a 2-1 sinker into centerfield for a CLUTCH, 2-out single and 2 runs. NY 3 Pittsburgh 0.

Estavan Florial with a Clutch, 2-out, bases-loaded single in the 1st inning to drive in 2.

3. Weaver Magic

And so there was Luke Weaver on the mound in the bottom of the 1st, starting for the Yanks. And he immediately got PELTED.

He walked the 1st batter and then surrendered a BOMB to right by Ryan Reynolds for a 3-2 game. An infield single, strikeout, and then a walk followed.

But Weaver struck out the last 2 batters to escape the inning.

The 2nd began with a BOOMING double, as did the 3rd inning — but Weaver hung tough — striking out more guys. The leadoff double in the 3rd led to a run on a sac fly to make it 4-3, but by the 4th Weaver was rolling — finishing with 7 K’s before handing off to Jhony Brito — which was the plan all along — Weaver for 3 or 4 innings, and then to Brito.

Luke Weaver with another K.

“Like any 1st inning I get a little over anxious, a little bit of adrenaline gets the best of me sometimes, but just try to settle in after that,” said Weaver afterwards.

When asked how he slows it down, he said “Breathing always works, instead of hyperventilating. Really just internal clock — taking a step back, having something to look at; getting in line with the catcher — getting that eye contact. Maybe it’s just a pitch that gets you back into a count that clicks. After you get through that 1st, you have time to recollect and then you go out there and feel like you’ve settled into the game.”

4. Who Is Luke Weaver?

Luke Weaver is the first Yankee Weaver since Jeff Weaver and is no relation. Luke Weaver was a 1st round pick in the 2014 draft by St Louis (#27 overall). He’s a skinny, 6’2 righthander who is now 29 years old.

In 2017, MLB ranked him in their Top 100 Prospects list, as the #68 overall prospect in baseball. Ironically, Luis Ortiz — the Pittsburgh starter he faced in this game — was #62. In that list, the Yankees’ Gleyber Torres was the #3 prospect in baseball, Clint Frazier was #24, Blake Rutherford was #37, Aaron Judge was #46, Jorge Mateo was #47, James Kaprielian was #58, Justus Sheffield was #79.

Weaver had a great rookie season — 7-2 3.88 — for St Louis in 2017, and then went 7-11 4.95 for St Louis in his first full year as a starter in 2018.

In December, 2018, Weaver was the marque player traded by St Louis to Arizona, along with 2 other prospects, for Paul Goldschmidt.

Weaver had a good first year for Arizona — 4-3 2.94 — but missed 4 months (May to September) with a forearm strain. Then came COVID — when he led the NL in losses in 2020 (1-9 6.58) and he’s bounced around since then — to Kansas City for 2022, and then Cincinnati and Seattle this year.

5. Giancarlo Rocket

Meanwhile Luis Ortiz rope-a-doped the Yanks in the 2nd, allowing a single and walk but getting out of it — but Giancarlo Stanton led off the 3rd with a ROCKET homer to left center and it was NY 4 Pittsburgh 2.

6. Brito Fantastic Again

Jhony Brito was handed the ball for the 5th, NY up 4-3, and he just Motored. As usual. This time — 3 shutout, perfect 1-2-3 innings, striking out 3.

7. Oswaldo Magical BOMB After Holding Clemente Bat

The Yanks knocked out Ortiz in the 5th — Estevan Florial worked a walk with 2 outs and Oswald Peraza ripped a 2-out scorcher single that sent Florial from 1st to 3rd. Reliever Chris Stratton came in and Oswald Cabrera — who has been Red Hot — Ripped a line drive to center for an out.

NY got a run off Stratton in the 6th when Aaron Judge worked a 1-out walk, Gleyber Torres doubled to put 2nd and 3rd, and a wild pitch by Stratton scored Judge.

The next time up Cabrera didn’t miss — a BOMB high into the Pittsburgh night to right for a 6-3 Yankee lead off reliever Thomas Hatch.

“I’ve been working — I’ve been working hard to find the consistency, to find the confidence that I always play with, so I feel happy about it,” said Oswaldo afterwards.

Oswaldo said he had gone to the Roberto Clemente museum the day before, and a person there told him to hold a Clemente bat — anyone who does hits a homer the next day.

“I went there yesterday, and the guy said if you hold this bat, you’re probably going to hit a homer tomorrow,” said Oswaldo. “I can’t describe that. I can’t believe that this happened today. I’m just waiting to see that guy in person.”

8. Hamilton & Holmes Stifling

Ian Hamilton was back off the IL, pitching a 1-2-3 inning in the 8th, and Clay Holmes pitched an easy 1-2-3 9th — fly out, ground out, strike out — for the old ballgame.

The Yankee pitching retired the last 21 Pirates in a row.

The Boxscore


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