Carlos Rodon Dominates. Offense & Defense Has His Back. NY 4 KC 2

Carlos Rodon pitched a shutout into the 7th inning, the Yankee offense got 4 early runs against Seth Lugo, and the Yankee defense made some great plays behind Rodon as NY beat the Royals in Kansas City on a Monday night, 4-2.

Ian Hamilton pitched the 8th and Michael Tonkin pitched a shutout 9th for the save.

Tonkin went from being on 4 teams in April — DFA’d by the Mets and by Minnesota — to becoming a stalwart of the Yankee pen and closing a game against the torrid Royals in June.

“Offense showing up early, scoring some early runs made it easy to attack the zone,” said Rodon afterwards about how he was able to dominate. “And then defensively — (we) turned some double plays, made some great plays in the outfield, and then DJ had a good play at 1st. So yea — defensively they had my back; offensively they had my back, and Trevi and I went and just pitched and let everything else happen.”

“Third time through they had a good idea of what they wanted to do, and made some good swings and pushed one across,” added Rodon. “But we held them to 1 and the bullpen came in and did a heck of a job and Tonkin closed it out.”

“The biggest thing is the guy fills in the zone and is not scared to pitch that’s for sure,” said Rodon about Tonkin. “A lot of confidence out of him.”

“He likes the fire,” said Boone of Tonkin. “Two fastballs — sinker and four seam — and can spin the slider in there. And he’s got guts; he’s fearless out there; really, really competitive.”

NY improves to 47-21, maintaining their 2.5 lead over Baltimore. KC drops to 39-28, in 2nd place in the Midwest by 4.5 games behind Cleveland.

1. Yanks Jump on Top in the 1st

Seth Lugo is having the year of his career. The long-time Mets spot starter and long reliever came in with a 9-1 2.13 record. The 34-year-old right hander is in the first year of a 3-year, $15M a year contract with Kansas City, after going 8-7 3.57 last year for San Diego, his first year away from the Mets.

The Yanks jumped all over him in the top of the 1st: Juan Soto, back after being rested 3 games with left forearm discomfort, got things rolling with a 1-out single to center. Gleyber Torres — batting 3rd with Aaron Judge getting the night off for rest — singled to right, and Alex Verdugo singled in Soto. Yankees 1 KC 0.

DJ LeMahieu surprised everyone by bunting to the pitcher, scoring Gleyber from 3rd on a sacrifice. NY 2 KC 0.

2. Yanks Make It 4-0 in the 4th

Lugo got through the 2nd inning with help from the Yankees: Jahmai Jones — playing right field as Soto was the DH — got on base with a hit by pitch but was caught stealing. Jose Trevino then singled but was erased on a double play.

Lugo pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the 3rd — but the Yanks got to him again in the 4th — again scratching out runs with their secondary. DJ LeMahieu laced a 1-out single to left, Trent Grisham was hit by a pitch, and Jahmai Jones bunted the runners to 2nd and 3rd. Jose Trevino singled in both for a 4-0 Yankee lead.

3. Rodon Tremendous

Meanwhile Carlos Rodon was rolling from the start — with a heavy, overpowering 4-seam fastball and assortment of pitches keeping the Royals at bay. Rodon only struck out 3 on the evening, but he got out after out — mostly easy fly outs.

Rodon pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the 1st, 3rd (helped by a great catch to end the inning by Jahmai Jones in right — see next section), and 4th (helped by a tremendous defensive play by DJ LeMahieu at 1st — see next section).

Rodon hit a batter in the 2nd but erased him with a double play grounder, and allowed the first 2 runners on in the 5th on singles, but then got a double play grounder and fly out.

Rodon got fly out, fly out, fly out in the 6th and finally ran into trouble in the 7th — a 1-out single by Salvador Perez, and 2-out singles by 2nd baseman Nick Loftin and catcher Freddy Fermin plated a run before Rodon got a groundout to end the inning — an excellent play coming in on the ball by Gleyber Torres at 2nd. Yankees 4 KC 1.

4. Great Night for Boone & Yankee D

It was a great night for Aaron Boone and the Yankee Defense. Every move Boone made worked. Ironically, it was Boone’s milestone 556th win as a Yankee manager, tying Billy Martin for 7th all time.


  • Played Soto after resting him the whole weekend against the Dodgers — but put Soto in as DH (he went 1-3 with a run scored) and had Jahmai Jones play right. Jones made a tremendous sliding catch for the 1st out of the bottom of the 1st, and made a tremendous running catch for the last out of the 3rd. Jones also contributed to the offense, going 1-2 and getting the important bunt sacrifice down in the 4th that led to 2 runs.

  • Rested Aaron Judge after the red hot Judge had just hit a homer in his last at bat on Sunday, and went 2-3 with a walk. Instead Boone had Grisham in center — and Grisham scored a run in the 4th after getting hit by a pitch.
  • Boone rested Anthony Rizzo at 1st, putting DJ LeMahieu there — and LeMahieu made a spectacular play to help Rodon in the 4th, stabbing a liner down the line and feeding Rodon sprinting to 1st for the out. LeMahieu also contributed to the offense — with the smart sacrifice bunt RBI in the 1st and a single and run scored in the 4th.

  • Boone also brought in Michael Tonkin for the save — and that worked out — see below.

5. Hamilton the 8th

Ian Hamilton allowed a leadoff single in the 8th in a 4-1 game, then struck out the next 2 batters, but was torched by Bobby Witt Jr.for an RBI double. NY 4 KC 2.

Bobby Witt Jr. leads the American League in batting average at .319 and is slashing 11-48-.319 (.369 OBP). He will probably be the starting shortstop for the American League in the All Star game as numerous media types are announcing he is getting their vote at shortstop, and that may influence the voting. Shortstop in the AL also has Gunnar Henderson and Anthony Volpe — all having good years. Volpe went 0-5 in this game however, dropping his batting average to .275. He had been in the top 10 in the AL in batting 2 days ago.

5. Tonkin Saves It

And for the 9th, Boone laid down his final master move — bringing Michael Tonkin in for the save. Tonkin went from being on 4 teams in April — released twice by the Mets and once by Minnesota — to being a stalwart of the Yankee pen and now an opportunity to save a game against one of the better teams in the American League.

Tonkin struck out the 1st batter of the inning, but walked Loftin to bring the tying run to the plate. Pinch Hitter Vinnie Pasquantino hit a long fly to left for an out PHEW.

And then Tonkin struck out Melendez on 3 pitches for the old ballgame.

The Boxscore

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