Clarke Schmidt Masterpiece. NY 5 Minnesota 0

Clarke Schmidt pitched 8 innings of 3-hit, shutout ball, striking out 8 with 0 walks to lead the Yankees to a 5-0 win over the Twins in Minnesota on a Thursday afternoon, sweeping the 3 game series.

Anthony Volpe hit a homer leading off the game, and that ended up being all Schmidt and the Yankee pen of Victor Gonzalez needed.

Aaron Judge went 2-3 with 2 more doubles — continuing his impressive offensive performance from the day before when he went 4-4 with a HR and 3 doubles. The only time Minnesota got Judge out was when Manuel Margot robbed him of a double against the centerfield wall in the 5th. In his last time up, Judge hit another double. He is now slashing 11-29-.262 (.393 OBP, .948 OPS), a far cry from the .178 he was batting on April 27.

But the talk of this game was about Clarke Schmidt who is reaching new levels — and for the first time in his career lasted through 7 innings, and then topped it by blowing through the 8th.

“Dominant,” said manager Aaron Boone afterwards. “Just in complete control. He’s spinning the ball so well; the cutter. His cutter was excellent. Spinning the ball with the sweeper and the curveball. Really, really impressive — and executed his game plan really well. Going back for a couple years now, I’ve been saying he has the arsenal; he’s got the repertoire to do it — and now he’s becoming really good at executing and having a real feel and command of his entire arsenal. And when you do that with the quality of his stuff, and you execute — that can be the result.”

NY improves to 30-15, and are in 1st place, 1 game ahead of Baltimore now. Minnesota drops to 24-19.

1. Schmidt Fantastic

Clarke Schmidt has been an elite prospect coming up through the Yankee system, and finally got a chance to sink or swim last season, after Jordan Montgomery was traded at the end of the prior season. Schmidt sunk at the beginning of last year, but by June started to figure it out and had a terrific last 3/4 of the season. Last year he started to tinker with a knuckle curve — but it was not perfected.

This year, the knuckle curve has become a pitch of choice in his arsenal — and he has reached another level. Schmidt is now 5-1 2.49 and performing like an elite pitcher.

Another wicked Schmidt Knuckle Curve:

His Knuckle Curve makes his 94-MPH two-seam fastball (or ‘sinker’) play up.

Schmidt struck out the first two batters of the game, and rocked from there. He scattered harmless singles in the 2nd and 4th, easily worked around a 1-out hit by pitch in the 3rd, pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the 5th, pitched around a 2-out double in the 6th.

Schmidt was helped in the 3rd with a terrific running catch by Alex Verdugo in left center.

Schmidt pitched the 7th — working around his own 1-out error and retiring the last two batters on a strikeout and foul out.

7 shutout innings — his longest stint as a starter in the bigs. It looked like his night was done at 94 pitches. Congratulations all around.

But Boone brought him back out for the 8th! And the Yankees made out so quickly in the top of the 8th (a 1-2-3 inning by Steven Okert on 6 pitches) that in the blink of an eye Schmidt was back on the mound — surprising many Yankee fans watching!

Schmidt got the first two batters in the 8th on 4 pitches (ground out, fly out). He then got Trevor Larnach to ground the ball to 3rd to end the inning — but Jon Berti booted the ball at 3rd.

Schmidt was at 101 pitches and everyone looked over at Aaron Boone in the Yankee dugout to see if Schmidt would be allowed to complete the 8th inning. Boone didn’t budge — and Schmidt faced Carlos Correa — and got him on 2nd pitch to hit a pop up to center.

Schmidt had pitched 8 innings of 3-hit, 0-walk, 8-strikeout, shutout ball!

2. Volpe Leads Game Off with HR

The Yanks were up against Joe Ryan, a tough pitcher who has given NY trouble in the past. Ryan came in with a 2-2 3.21 record.

Ryan went to 2-2 on Anthony Volpe, and just as Suzyn Waldman was saying on the radio how hard Ryan’s fastball was to hit — Volpe rocked a 94-MPH four-seam fastball 385 feet to left center for a homerun and 1-0 Yankee lead. You could hear the chagrin on Suzyn’s face on the radio.

3. Yanks Score 3 in 1st Off Ryan

The Yanks continued attacking Ryan in the 1st after Volpe’s homer — Juan Soto struck out but Aaron Judge walked, Alex Verdugo singled, and Gleyber Torres doubled to center, scoring Judge.

Anthony Rizzo hit a groundout, scoring Verdugo and NY was up 3-0 against the tough Joe Ryan.

After that Ryan settled down, pitching around a 2-out single by Volpe in the 2nd, a leadoff double by Aaron Judge in the 3rd (strikeout, flyout, groundout followed), and then pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the 4th and 5th.

4. Gleyber & Wells Hook Up for a Run

Gleyber Torres is low-key hot. He got his 2nd hit of the night — a 1-out double in the 6th, to send Joe Ryan to the showers at 93 pitches.

Caleb Thielbar came in and got Anthony Rizzo to ground out, but Austin Wells got a Clutch 2-out RBI single and it was 4-0 NY — run charged to Ryan.

5. Another Judge Double Helps NY Take 5-0 Lead in 7th

The Yanks got Schmidt another insurance run in the 7th.

Juan Soto worked a 1-out walk against reliever Caleb Sands, which brought up Aaron Judge.

Judge had doubled in the 3rd and gotten on base 7 straight times over 2 games before finally being retired in the 5th when Manuel Margot robbed him of a double with a catch against the centerfield wall.

Judge promptly doubled to centerfield, putting Soto on 3rd with 1 out.

Alex Verdugo hit a sac fly for a 5-0 NY lead.

6. Gonzales Finishes

Victor Gonzalez pitched the 9th — a 1-2-3 inning with a foul out to right for the final out, and the old ballgame.

The Boxscore


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