Volpe Heroic Homer; LeMahieu Walkoff! NY 3 Toronto 2

DJ LeMahieu singled through the left side with the bases loaded and nobody out in the bottom of the 9th for a walk-off win over the Blue Jays on a Saturday afternoon at Yankee Stadium.

An important early-season win that allows the Yanks to vault back ahead of the Blue Jays in the division after a loss to them Friday night; 5 games behind red-hot Tampa.

Anthony Volpe had just hit a heroic 2-run homer in the bottom of the 8th to break a 0-0 tie — which seemed like the hit of the game at the time. But Toronto’s Danny Jansen hit a 2-run homer off Wandy Peralta in the top of the 9th to tie it.

Gerrit Cole and Alek Manoah had locked up in a 0-0 pitchers duel that lasted through the Saturday afternoon at Yankee Stadium– until Toronto relieved Manoah in the 8th with Yimi Garcia, and the Yankees pounced — with a 2-out single by Oswald Peraza, and the homer by Volpe. Cole lasted into the 6th, relieved by Ron Marinaccio and then Clay Holmes.

“Stud,” said Gerrit Cole about Volpe afterwards. “Stud. He’s a winning player; he’s a great compliment to the clubhouse. He’s a great defensive player. And obviously put a great swing on a good pitch today and gave us the jolt we needed.”

About his confidence in DJ LeMahieu, Cole said, “Huge. Such a tough player to strike out. Such great bat-to-ball skills. Usually executes the type of hit that he’s looking to get. In that situation, with no outs, he’s trying to put the barrel of the bat on the ball; he did and they had 5 guys in there but he hit it hard enough to get it through.”

1. Cole & Monoah Lock Into Pitcher’s Duel

Alek Manoah is regarded as one of the best young pitchers in baseball, but came into the game with a 1-1 6.95 ERA. Gerrit Cole, considered one of the best pitchers in baseball who has never won a Cy Young, came in with a 4-0 0.95 slash line.

Five months ago, in November, on NBA star Serge Ibaka’s How Hungry Are You? cooking show, Manoah caused controversy when he was asked by Ibaka “Who is the worst cheater in baseball history?” — Manoah answered with a smile, “Gerrit Cole. He cheated. He used a lot of sticky stuff to make his pitches better, and he kinda got called out on it.”

This came after an altercation last August, when Manoah hit Aaron Judge with a pitch, and Gerrit Cole got into a word war with Manoah from the bench.

With that as backdrop, the two pitched like two of the best pitchers in baseball — a 0-0 tie into the 6th.

Manoah was filthy; Cole was just as filthy.

In the 6th, a 1-out walk to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and a 2-out single by outfielder Daulton Varsho sent Cole to the showers at 96 pitches.

Cole had told manager Aaron Boone he was near gassed. “I could move the fastball well, but I was kind of spotty with the slider command. Lock step with a tough lineup. Lost Vladimir, had to burn some pitches there. I was just trying to keep it locked up at zero as best I could.”

2. Yank Bullpen Gets the Big Outs

Ron Marinaccio came in with 1st and 3rd, 2 outs — and walked a batter to load the bases, before getting the tough-hitting Brandon Belt — who had killed the Yanks the night before with a 2-run homer and 2-run double — to fly out to left. PHEWWWW.

Marinaccio got the first 2 outs of the 7th before Clay Holmes relieved him to go at the heart of the Blue Jays order, beginning with George Springer, who Holmes got to ground out.

Holmes allowed a leadoff double to Dante Bichette in the 8th however — the score still tied 0-0 — the Yanks-Blue Jays playing a game of Russian roulette. But Holmes got Guerrero Jr to hit a shallow fly out and struck out Matt Chapman.

With 2 outs, lefty Wandy Peralta came in and got Daulton Varsho to ground out to 1st. PHEWWWW again.

3. Volpe Heroic Homer

Alek Manoah meanwhile was more economical with his pitches than Cole — as he continued to put down the Yank lineup 1-2-3. Manoah had a 2-hit shutout through 7 innings when he was pulled after 85 pitches.

In came Yimi Garcia and the Yanks pounced — with the 2-out single by rookie Oswald Cabrera and HUGE 2-run homer by rookie Anthony Volpe.

Yankee Stadium erupted, and gave Volpe a curtain call.

4. Wandy’s Magic Wand Misfires

But the glee was short lived — in the top of the 9th Alejandro Kirk led off with a walk against Wandy, and Dan Janson hit a 2-run bomb to right — tie game.

Wandy then allowed a single by Whit Merrifield before getting Cavan Biggio to pop up a bunt. Jimmy Cordero came in and got an inning-ending double play.

5. LeMahieu Walkoff

And then came the bottom of the 9th against Toronto ace reliever Jordan Romano. Anthony Rizzo led off with a double, Gleyber Torres got an infield single to shortstop, and Willie Calhoun worked a walk.

With bases loaded, nobody out, Toronto brought in their infield, but DJ LeMahieu ripped a single through the left side for the old ballgame, and walk-off win!

The Boxscore



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