Luis Gil’s Arm; Verdugo’s Bat Power Yanks. NY 5 Tampa 4

Luis Gil (pronounced Heel as in Gila Monster) pitched 1-unearned-run baseball into the 6th inning, striking out 9, and Alex Verdugo got 3 hits and 2 RBI to lead the Yankees to a 5-4 win on a Cold Sunday afternoon at Yankee Stadium.

NY put 4 runs on the board in the bottom of the 5th, the rally starting with 2 outs and nobody on — walk, walk, walk, single, single, single — and the bullpen made it stand up, barely. Dennis Santana barely got through the 8th, allowing 3 runs and getting a line drive out with the tying run at 2nd.

In the 9th, Victor Gonzalez made a tremendous play for the final out of the game with a runner on 1st — knocking down a line drive, scampering after it, and flipping it to 1st for the old ballgame.

“He was filling up the strike zone; aggressive with his fastball,” said manager Aaron Boone about Gil. “And he really did that all game. Probably ran out of a little steam there at the end with the 2 walks. But it’s a really good peak at how good he is when he’s filling up the strike zone.”

NY wins 2 of 3 against Tampa and improves to 15-7. Baltimore is right on their tail at 14-7. Tampa falls to 12-11.

1. Gil Great Again

Luis Gil looked great again — a lot of life on his pitches which include a 98-100 MPH fastball, a wicked 88-MPH changeup, and 85-MPH slider.

The only run he allowed came in the 3rd — he allowed a leadoff double to Jose Caballero but then struck out the next two batters. Caballero moved to 3rd on an errant pick-off attempt by Gil, and then scored when the ump called Gil for a balk while pitching to Richie Palacios.

Gil did not like the call.

Pissed, he struck out Palacios on 3 straight fastballs, the last one clocking 98 MPH.

Gil then retired 8 of the next 9 batters, getting the first 2 outs of the 6th before walking 2 in a row and leaving at 97 pitches and a 5-1 lead.

Luke Weaver came in and made an error to load the bases, but got a line out to Verdugo in the outfield for the final out of the 6th.

2. Rizzo Knocks in 1st Run

Aaron Civale started for Tampa. He’s in his 3rd season with Tampa after being traded to them from Cleveland at the trade deadline in July 2022 for prospect Kyle Manzardo (still in AAA).

Civale pitched around trouble all afternoon, before getting knocked out in the 5th.

In the 1st, Civale walked Juan Soto and Giancarlo Stanton in between striking out Anthony Volpe and Aaron Judge. With 2 outs, Anthony Rizzo singled in a run for a 1-0 Yankee lead.

3. Yanks’ 2-Out, 4-Run Rally in 5th

Civale worked around 2 singles in the 2nd (Alex Verdugo and Oswaldo Cabrera) and 2 singles in the 3rd (Aaron Judge and Gleyber Torres).

Civale finally looked like he was settling down, pitching a 1-2-3 inning in the 4th and got the first 2 outs of the 5th — when he lost it — issuing consecutive walks to Stanton, Rizzo, and Gleyber Torres to load the bases with 2 outs.

Verdugo singled to right scoring 2 runs. NY 3 Tampa 1.

Jose Trevino singled to center scoring a run. NY 4 Tampa 1.

Oswaldo Cabrera singled to center scoring a run. NY 5 Tampa 1.

And Civale was gone.

4. Weaver Good

After the error to load the bases and line out to end the 6th, Luke Weaver pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the 7th. His ball looked crisp; he did his job.

5. Santana Barely Gets Thru 8th

Not so Dennis Santana who had a rare bad appearance. His ball looked crisp but the other team hit it.

Santana came out for the top of the 8th to hold NY’s 5-1 lead — and struck out Randy Arozarena to start the inning.

  • But infield single, walk, and then a lineout to Oswaldo Cabrera to 3rd followed.

With 2 outs and 2 on — Boone was clearly playing with fire leaving Santana in.

  • Then Ahmad Rosario doubled in 2 runs and it was 5-3 NY.

Still Boone left Santana in.

  • Curtis Mead singled in Rosario and it was 5-4 NY.
  • Mead then stole 2nd base and was the tying run in scoring position.

Still Boone left Santana in.

  • Ben Rortvedt lined out to Alex Verdugo in right to end the inning PHEW.

6. Gonzalez Defensive Gem And the Save

Victor Gonzalez pitched the 9th and motored through the first 2 batters, and was 0-2 on Randy Arozarena — but then walked him.

With the tying run on 1st, Gonzalez went 0-2 on the dangerous Harold Ramirez, who slashed 12-68-.313 (.353 OBP) last year. Ramirez fouled off 2 pitches before hitting a liner that Gonzalez knocked down, then scrambled after — diving for the ball while flipping it to Rizzo at 1st to ‘just’ nail Ramirez for the old ballgame.

The Boxscore


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