Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Yankees Complete Epic Homestand With Walk-Off Winner

Gleyber Torres getting the winning hit. Photo by Jason Schott.

The Yankees completed a 9-1 homestand and a sweep of the Toronto Blue Jays with an 8-7 win on a walk-off hit from Gleyber Torres in the bottom of the ninth inning.

The Yankees started off this 10-game run at Yankee Stadium with a sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays, then took three of four from the Houston Astros before this three-game sweep of Toronto.

They are now 52-28, a season-high 24 games over .500 and they have opened up a commanding 6-1/2 game lead over Tampa Bay and nine over Boston, whom they will be playing in London over the weekend in a two-game series.

Yankees Manager Aaron Boone said after the big win on Wednesday, "Really good that's a great homestand, obviously against good teams. You know, you take those and you feel good about them. So, you take those and you feel good about them, and to be able to rack up wins like that at this point of the season is great. Winning on a day like today makes that flight across the pond a lot more fun. We had a lot of fun with that victory in there, but now we turn the page and it's on to Boston and London and hopefully they'll play well."

The Yankees had to dig out of a big hole early, as Toronto got to starter James Paxton early.

Paxton walked Cavan Biggio to open the game, followed by another walk to Vladimir Guerrero, Jr., and Lourdes Gurriel, Jr., followed that with a bomb to left for a three-run homer. 

In the second, Danny Jansen launched a blast into the left-field corner for a two-run shot giving Toronto a 5-0 lead.

On the feeling in the Yankees' dugout when they were down 5-0, Boone said simply, "Our game."

The Yankees came right back against Toronto starter Trent Thornton, as Didi Gregorius  hit a one-out solo home run, giving the Yankees a homer in 29 consecutive games, extending their Major League record. 

Aaron Hicks followed with a walk, Torres singled, and then after Brett Gardner struck out, DJ LeMahieu walked to load the bases.
Aaron Judge then followed with a two-out single to bring home Hicks and Torres and make it a 5-3 game.

In the fourth, Torres led off with a single, and then with one out, LeMahieu cracked a two-run blast to tie the game at 5. That chased Thornton from the game.

Paxton was still in for the Yankees in the fifth, and he gave up another homer to Gurriel, this one a solo shot, to give the Jays a 6-5 lead. 

After a walk to Randal Grichuk and then getting Rowdy Tellez to line out to left field, that was all for Paxton.

Boone said of Paxton's performance, "You know, obviously walking the first two guys of the game, that gets you in trouble. Don't think he quite had the power with his fastball or the bite on his breaking ball, wasn't dictating counts like he would like to, so a little bit of a rough day. He was able to at least get us into the fifth inning there after struggling, but I think just, all in all, just a little off with everything today."

David Hale came in for the Yankees, and he ended up picking Grichuk off first and he then got Teoscar Hernandez to ground out to third to end the inning. 

In the bottom of the fifth, with Sam Gaviglio (who closed out the fourth) in for the Jays, Edwin Encarnacion got a one-out double, followed by a single for Gregorius, and then a sacrifice fly into the right field corner for Aaron Hicks to tie the game at 6.

After Hale pitched a scoreless top of the sixth, the Yankees got a two-out rally going in the bottom half. Judge and Sanchez singled, and Voit singled home Judge to give the Yankees the lead at 7-6.
Adam Ottavino came on for the Yankees in the seventh and worked around a single to Grichuk by striking out the side. 

With a limited bullpen in this one, the Yankees turned to left-hander Stephen Tarpley, who just returned from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He struck out Hernandez to open the inning, then allowed a single to Freddy Galvis, who was gunned down by catcher Gary Sanchez trying to advance on a passed ball for the second out. Brandon Drury then popped out to second to end it.

Boone said of Tarpley, "Obviously, we've thrown him in some big spots and he's delivered. You know, he's thrown the ball really well in Triple-A the last several weeks and he's come up here throwing strikes. He's got the stuff to get it done - it's about commanding the strike zone, he's been able to do that. Obviously,had the big outing a couple weeks back in Cleveland when he was thrown into a save situation (on June 9). It's really good to see him contributing because he has the ability to pitch like that up here."

Zack Britton came on to close it out for the Yankees in the ninth, and he gave up a single to Jansen to open the inning. Billy McKinney went in to run and he took second immediately on a passed ball, and he then scored on a single from Biggio that tied the game at 7. 
Guerrero then grounded one to second, and Torres' throw was wide of the bag, so everyone was safe and Toronto had two on and nobody out. Gurriel then grounded into a double play before Grichuk grounded to second to end the inning.

In the bottom of the ninth, with Nick Kingham pitching for Toronto, Gregorius got a one-out single before Hicks walked, and then Torres laced a single to right field to score Gregorius with the winning run.

Didi Gregorius as he slid home with the winning run. Photo by Jason Schott.

This was the Yankees' fourth walk-off of the season, and it was just the latest clutch hit for Torres. 

This was the young second baseman's third career walk-off hit, and Boone said of his ability to step up in the big moment, "He's been doing it since he got here. Guys that are really gifted, guys that are really talented in whatever they do, you know, usually the situation doesn't affect them and Gleyber's - since he's come up to the big leagues last year, he's been in that situation a lot and seems like, you know, comes through a lot and relishes those opportunities. Just a really good at-bat by him being able to fight that off the other way like he did."

STANTON BACK ON INJURED LIST: After the game when Boone was asked about Giancarlo Stanton, who suffered a right knee sprain in Tuesday's game, and if he would be joining the team in London, the Manager said, "No, Giancarlo is going on the IL. He was examined right before the game with Dr. (Christopher) Ahmad, and in conjunction with the physical exam and looking at the MRI, there's a PCL strain in there, so he is not going to go. He will go on the IL and we will re-evaluate him in 10 days."

The Yankees recalled outfielder Mike Tauchman from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to take Stanton's spot for the Red Sox series.

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