Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Yankees Fall To Mariners After Nearly Pulling Off Another Big Comeback

Aaron Judge taking a ball from Seattle pitcher Andres Munoz in the ninth. Photo by Jason Schott.

The Yankees lost a nailbiter to the Seattle Mariners, 8-6, on Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium, as they nearly pulled off another one of their signature comebacks from four runs down early, and they loaded the bases in the ninth inning, but Gleyber Torres, whose usually Mr. Clutch, struck out to end it.

The Yankees' record is now 70-35, and because the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the San Francisco Giants, 9-5, to improve to 70-33, they are now 1 game behind L.A. for the best record in Major League Baseball for the moment. The Yankees still hold a massive 11-game lead over the Toronto Blue Jays (58-45) in the American League East.

Jameson Taillon, who entered with a 10-2 record with a 3.72 earned run average (ERA), got the start for the Yankees in this one, and he staked the Mariners to an early 4-0 lead when he allowed a two-run home run to Eugenio Suarez in the first inning, a solo shot to Cal Raleigh in the second, and Adam Frazier walked and came home on a sacrifice fly by Carlos Santana, which was unearned because there was a throwing error by Josh Donaldson on a hit by Suarez in between.

Seattle starter Logan Gilbert pitching to Andrew Benintendi in the second inning. Photo by Jason Schott.

The Yankees had a golden opportunity to put something on the board in the bottom of the third against Mariners starter Logan Gilbert, who entered with a 10-4 record and a 2.78 ERA, when DJ LeMahieu got a two-out double and Aaron Judge walked. With Anthony Rizzo up, the Yankees put on a rare double steal. Because Gilbert basically picked off Judge, they got him into a rundown, and while that dragged on, LeMahieu took third and kept going for home plate, but shortstop J.P. Crawford saw LeMahieu round third, he fired to the plate, and they eventually got LeMahieu out. As the official scorer put it, LeMahieu got a stolen base (of third) and a caught stealing (trying to take the plate).

However, the Yankees didn't take long to get on the board, as Rizzo drew a walk to open the fourth and came in to score on a double from Josh Donaldson, and he then scored on a two-run home run from Jose Trevino that made it 4-3 Seattle. Trevino has now homered in back-to-back games for the first time in his career, after he hit a pair in Monday night's 7-2 win over the Mariners.

In the fifth, the Mariners got a couple of those back, as Frazier and Suarez drew walks by Taillon, which chased him from the game, and they scored on a two-run double by Santana off Lucas Luetge to make it 6-3.

That closed the book on Taillon, whose final line was: 4 2/3 innings, 2 hits, 6 runs (5 earned),4 walks, 6 strikeouts, 2 home runs.

Yankees Manager Aaron Boone said of the big right-hander's performance after the game, "Hung a slider there with two strikes to Suarez (referencing the two-run homer in first), you know, changeup with two strikes to Raleigh that he left up, and looked like up-middle (second inning solo homer), then I thought he settled in, started throwing the ball well, racked up some punch-outs. I think, stuffwise, it's not off of when he's been at his best, you know, it just comes down to some execution, you know, walked four guys today, that's not like him, just making sure we tighten up the command, and that's a little bit delivery-related, where he's tight with his delivery, where he gets that deception, which is part of his stuff, you know, just gotta keep grinding at it."

In the sixth, the Yankees tied it when Rizzo hit a blast to right field for a solo shot, his 27th of the season. The Yankee first baseman has now homered in four straight games, the first instance being when he was with the Chicago Cubs from July 29-August 1, 2015, nearly the same calendar dates. He now has five home runs in his last seven games, and his 27 homers leads Major League Baseball first baseman this season (minimum 80 percent of games at 1B). 

Matt Carpenter followed with a single, and Donaldson then  got a two-run blast for his 10th dinger of the season, to tie the game at six.

Gilbert then struck out Andrew Benintendi, part of an 0-for-4 night for him, and that was all for his night, with his final line being: 5 1/3 innings, 7 hits, 6 runs (all earned), 4 walks, 2 strikeouts, 3 home runs.

Luetge stayed on and pitched a perfect sixth, and came back for the seventh, and that inning opened with a solo shot from Sam Haggerty, who was pinch-hitting for one-time Met prospect Jarred Kelenic (who went there in the Edwin Diaz/Robinson Cano trade in November 2018), and that made it 7-6 Mariners.

Frazier then  got a one-out single, and that was all for Luetge. The Yankees then turned to new reliever Scott Effross, the sidearmer whom they acquired from the Chicago Cubs on Monday. He got Jesse Winker to fly out to left for the second out of the frame, and then after Suarez singled, Santana popped out to third to end the inning. 

Albert Abreu was next out of the Yankees 'pen, and he pitched a perfect eighth, and stayed on for the ninth, when he allowed a leadoff single to Haggerty, who then moved to second base on a wild pitch, and came in on a single by Frazier to make it 8-6. In between, Abreu struck out Travis Jankowski, who just joined Seattle after playing for the Mets this season.

Frazier was the last batter Abreu faced, and they turned to their other new Yankees reliever, Lou Trivino, who came over from Oakland on Monday, with one out in the ninth. He got Winker to ground into a force out and then struck out Suarez.

Seattle turned to Andres Munoz for the bottom of the ninth, and he struck out Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Aaron Hicks, who heard boos all night (hey, the fans need a new target with Joey Gallo gone), for the first two outs of the frame. 

The lineup turned over, and LeMahieu hit a cue shot down the right-field line, then Judge and Rizzo walked to load the bases for Gleyber Torres, who was up for Tim Locastro, who had pinch-run for Carpenter in the eighth, and he struck out on four pitches to end it. 

Munoz earned just his second save of the season, while Penn Murfee got the win in relief for the Mariners to improve to 2-0, while Luetge took the loss for the Yankees, falling to 3-4 on the season.

The three-game series concludes on Wednesday afternoon with a pair of aces taking the mound, Gerrit Cole of the Yankees, who has a record of 9-3 with a 3.30 ERA, and Seattle's Luis Castillo (4-4, 2.86 ERA), whom they acquired from Cincinnati last week, and it is his Mariners' debut.

The Mariners celebrate after they took the middle game of the three-game series. Photo by Jason Schott.


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