Luis Gil Outduels Luis Castillo. Giancarlo & Judge HR. NY 5 Seattle 0

Remember when the Reds were shopping ace Luis Castillo, and reports said they wanted a package from the Yankees that included Anthony Volpe? The Yankees were instead offering a package that included Oswald Peraza. Castillo went to Seattle and NY traded for Frankie Montas.

Three years later Luis Castillo — who re-signed a long-term contract with Seattle and now makes $25 M a year through 2028 — was on the hill facing the Yankees’ young Castillo-like ace, Luis Gil.

And Gil — the 25-year-old rookie who makes major league minimum — out-dueled him, pitching a 1-hit shutout into the 7th, with 8 K’s and 2 walks — another spectacular performance to improve his record to 6-1 2.11.

The 31-year-old Castillo didn’t pitch badly — allowing a solo homer to Giancarlo Stanton in the 2nd and a solo homer to Aaron Judge in the 3rd, and throwing 5 innings, allowing 7 hits, 3 walks, and those 2 runs. He loses to go 4-6 3.31.

The Yanks pushed across 3 insurance runs with situational baseball in the 7th — a leadoff double by — guess who Anthony Volpe, who stole 3rd base and scored on an RBI single by Juan Soto, then sac flies by Alex Verdugo and Anthony Rizzo — and the bull pen did its job for a neat 5-0 win on a beautiful, warm Thursday afternoon in the Bronx — game-time temps in the 80’s.

Volpe, the Yanks star-caliber young shortstop who won the Gold Glove last year, went 2-5, extended his hitting streak to 16 games, and is now batting .278 (.349 OBP) as their leadoff batter.

“What’s been impressive is how much we’ve seen him mature, over the last 18 months but also even in the last weeks,” said manager Aaron Boone about Gil. “Learning from each and every outing. I think he’s developed a really good routine. And his work has been excellent — not just between the lines but on the other days; he’s been learning; growing; and it’s been fun to watch that. I think he’s got amazing talent, great ceiling, and he’s delivering.”

NY splits the 4-game series by winning the final 2 games and improves to 35-17, in 1st place by 3 games over Baltimore. Seattle falls to 27-24.

1. Gil Great Again

Luis Gil was simply great again. The only thing that looks like it will derail him this year is the fact that he is on a pitch limit since he is coming off Tommy John surgery. The Yankees have not said what that limit is but one estimates 150 innings. Gil has pitched 55 innings so far and has been absolutely Brilliant.

It’s been reported that Gil has been the talk of hitters around baseball for his Hard 98-100 MPH fastball that gets on you. He plays off that with his 92-MPH changeup and 87-MPH slider.

He started this game off by pitching a 1-2-3 inning in the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, striking out 3. Ho hum.

Gil allowed a leadoff infield single in the 4th then got the next 3 guys in a row to snuff that ‘rally’, and pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the 5th for good measure. In the 6th, he allowed a leadoff walk to Ty France, struck out the next 2 batters, walked Dylan Moore, then struck out Raley to end the inning.

Gil came out for the 7th and got the first batter on a fly out before being relieved at 96 pitches.

2. Giancarlo HR Makes It 1-0 Yanks in 2nd

Meanwhile Giancarlo Stanton got Gil all the offense he needed with a 445-foot Monster homerun to center in the 2nd off Castillo.

3. Judge HR Makes It 2-0 Yanks in 3rd

Aaron Judge followed in the 3rd with a 414-foot homer to center off Castillo to make it 2-0 Yanks.

4. Yanks Score 3 in 7th with Situational Baseball

Anthony Volpe led off the bottom of the 7th with a double off reliever Trent Thornton. Gabe Speier was brought in — Speier is the nephew of long-time great shortstop of the 70’s Chris Speier.

Volpe immediately stole 3rd base on Speier, and Juan Soto singled him home for a 3-0 Yankee lead which was Huge — as the Yanks had shown a propensity to blow or nearly blow leads against Seattle in the first 3 games of the series.

Aaron Judge then doubled to left, moving Soto to 3rd, and Alex Verdugo hit a sac fly to make it 4-0 NY.

Speier was relieved by Mike Baumann, who walked Giancarlo Stanton. Anthony Rizzo hit a sac fly to right, scoring Judge and NY had a 5-0 lead.

5. Gonzalez Good; Holmes Saves the Day

Victor Gonzalez got the last 2 outs of the 7th and got the 1st out of the 8th before hitting Ty France with a pitch.

NY brought in Nick Burdi, who walked Seby Zavala, struck out J.P. Crawford, and walked Dylan Moore to load the bases with 2 outs and here we go again.

Clay Holmes came in and got Luke Raley to hit a soft grounder to 2nd base that Gleyber Torres…. made the play on for the final out!

Holmes — in his first outing since coughing up a save on soft contact in the 1st game of the series — allowed a leadoff single in the 9th, struck out the next 2 batters, allowed a 2-out single to put runners 1st and 2nd — and got a grounder to Volpe who fielded and stepped on 2nd for the old ballgame.

“Clay’s great between the ears,” said Boone afterwards. “He’s cut out for it. Inevitably in that role, you’re going to get burned every now and then; you’ve got to turn the page. I’m not even sure how much he got burned the way he threw the ball that night. But yea he’s equipped to handle that.”

The Boxscore


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