Luke Weaver Makes Like Houdini to Hold Gil’s Great Performance. NY 10 Tampa 6

Luke Weaver got the Hold of the Year — saving the Yankee bullpen from blowing a 6-0 lead in the 7th by “this much.”

The Yankees seemed to have this game at hand, leading 6-0 into the 7th on a Mother’s Day Sunday in Tampa.

Luis Gil had been great on the mound again — 6 innings of 3-hit, shutout ball. He was relieved by Caleb Ferguson to start the 7th — and Ferguson proceeded to give up most of the big lead — allowing 3 runners to get on, then a Grand Slam to Jose Siri after only getting 1 out.

Nick Burdi came in to calm the waters — and instead allowed all 3 batters he faced to get on with walks and a hit-by-pitch.

Enter Luke Weaver with the Yankees now clinging to a 6-4 lead with bases loaded and 1 out. Weaver went 3-0 on Isaac Paredes, then went to 3-2, before hitting him and forcing in a run to make it 6-5.

Weaver then went 1-0 on Richie Palacios before going 1-1 and getting him to line out to right — too shallow for a sac fly. PHEW.

Finally, Weaver got Amed Rosario to ground out to end the threat, keeping Luis Gil in line as the winning pitcher by “that much.”

And the Yankee lineup pounced for 4 more runs in the top of the 8th on a huge 3-run homer by Gleyber Torres and an icing-on-cake HR by Jose Trevino, to give NY a big lead again, at 10-5.

Earlier Trevino and Aaron Judge hit homers to help give NY the big 6-0 lead.

Afterwards, manager Aaron Boone called out Gleyber Torres for the big 3-run homer in the 8th to turn the game back to the Yankee favor: “Obviously they put the big inning on us to get right back in the game. We pressured ’em. Gleyber’s behind 0-2 right away; just battles through a good at bat; gets a pitch and doesn’t miss it. When you’re grinding in this game, even with the success you’ve had as a hitter like Gleyber — it’s tough; it can be a grind. You just have to keep working and going with it. And that was a big, big blow to allow us to exhale a little bit after they pressured us.”

NY improves to 27-15, and takes 2 of 3 to win the series vs Tampa. The Yankees remain in 2nd place, .5 behind Baltimore. The Rays fall to 20-21.

1. Gil Great Again

The question is getting louder and louder — who on earth is going to be removed from the starting rotation when Gerrit Cole returns — which is now a week or so away?

Can’t be Luis Gil who has been the Yankees’ best starter this year. He was brilliant yet again with 6 shutout, 3-hit innings. There is talk around baseball amongst opposing batters of how good his fastball is.

Gil came into the year as the Yanks’ 6th starter — insurance — and is now 4-1 2.51.

Usually these questions answer themselves in a bad way — someone else on the starting staff gets injured — but not so far, knock on wood. And Clarke Schmidt (4-1 2.95) has been great too. Nestor Cortes (1-4 4.02) has been the one Yankee starter who has struggled at times — but he’s pitched great at times too and has, over the last few years, earned his pin-stripes as a top of the rotation starter — how do you take him out? Carlos Rodon is 3-2 3.56 and Marcus Stroman is 2-2 3.80 — you aren’t going to take them out no matter what their record is.

Boone will soon be faced with a conundrum.

In this game Gil issued a 2-out walk in the 1st, and allowed a single and a walk in the 2nd — but then breezed — pitching 1-2-3 innings in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th. He pitched around a 1-out double in the 6th. Gil didn’t strike out 8 or 9 as usual (he struck out 3) but was in total control.

“Struggled a little bit early with some strike throwing; but he’s hard to hit,” said Boone about Gil. “I thought as he went on the strike-throwing got really solid. He was in command. And a couple of situations where they had a chance to get long on him — he won some 3-2 counts by filling up the strike zone, which is big.”

“He’s so big and long up there that the ball really gets on you,” said Boone about GIl. “It’s got velocity; it’s got characteristics. A real presence with his secondary that you got to respect. Hitters tell you a lot — and they’re overwhelmed a lot by just his stuff. And even when they get a good swing off they’re not quite able usually to clip it — and that’s a testament to just, whatever it is — deception, velocity, spin — whatever it may be; hitters tell you that thing is getting on you.”

2. Volpe Triple Gets Yanks Early Run

The Yanks got a run right off the bat for Gil — Anthony Volpe hit a triple to start the ballgame in the top of the 1st off 6’2 lefty Tyler Alexander, and Juan Soto hit a sac fly to bring Volpe home. NY 1 Tampa 0.

3. Jahmai HR Makes It 2-0 NY

Backup outfielder Jahmai Jones was giving Alex Verdugo the afternoon off in left field against the lefty Alexander. Jones hit a homer to left center leading off the 3rd and it was 2-0 NY.

4. Trevino HR Makes It 4-0 NY

Anthony Rizzo led off the 4th with a single, and after 2 outs, Jose Trevino hit a 409-foot BOMB to left for a 4-0 NY lead.

5. Judge HR Makes It 6-0 NY

Aaron Judge joined the fray in the 6th — hitting a homer to right after Juan Soto had singled with 1 out, and it was 6-0 NY. Judge went 2-4 on the day to raise his average to .235 (.369 OBP). His rise from .170 two weeks ago continues strong.

6. Gleyber HR Allows Yanks to Exhale

With the Yanks now clinging to the 6-5 lead, Giancarlo Stanton ripped a 1-out single in the top of the 8th off reliever Shawn Armstrong, and Anthony Rizzo doubled to right, sending pinch-runner Trent Grisham to 3rd.

Armstrong got ahead of Gleyber Torres with 2 quick strikes. Gleyber then fouled off 2 pitches, worked the count to 2-2, and got his pitch — a 91-MPH cutter over the plate. He didn’t miss — rocking a 3-run homer to left. NY 9 Tampa 5. And Yankee fans all over exhaled (except Yankee fans who were Knick fans — as the Knicks were starting to get pummeled in the 1st quarter of their playoff game against Indiana).

After striking out Nick Berti for the 2nd out of the inning, Armstrong was relieved by Erasmo Rodriguez, and Jose Trevino erased an 0-2 cutter into the left field seats for a 10-5 Yankee lead.

7. Weaver with the Hold of the Year

After Weaver’s Houdini routine in the 7th (see top of article), and then blessed with a 10-5 lead by the Yankee offense, Weaver pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the 8th. It was another splendid performance by him and the Hold of the Year.

Weaver goes to 3-0 2.42.

After the game nobody interviewed Weaver — or if they did they didn’t post it to the YES Network Twitter account or the MLB coverage of the game. But there was this interview by Meredith Marakovits before the game:

8. Hamilton Gets Save

Ian Hamilton pitched the 9th — allowing a leadoff homerun to Yandy Diaz to make it 10-6, and then a 1-out single to Randy Arozarena and here we go again.

But Hamilton struck out the last 2 batters for the old ballgame.


Trevino hit 2 homers and was 2-4 on the day — raising his average to .293 (.341 OBP) and is possibly in line for another All Star game this year, after being out last year with injury.

The Boxscore

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