Saturday, September 10, 2022

Yankees “Wrecking Balls” Start Off Rout Of Rays

Aaron Judge connecting for a single to open the game. Photo by Jason Schott.

The Yankees rolled to a 10-3 win over the Tampa Bay Rays, powered by six runs in the first inning and a great start from Jameson Taillon, on Saturday afternoon at Yankee Stadium.

The Yankees improve to 84-56, and increase their lead back up 4 1/2 game on the Rays (78-59) in the American League East. Tampa Bay had picked up a game when they won the opener of this three-game set, 4-2, on Friday night.

The Yankees had Giancarlo Stanton back in the lineup, hitting second behind Aaron Judge.

“For me, it was clear today to go that route,” Yankees Manager Aaron Boone said. “Two wrecking balls to start it off, I want them up and I want to try and get Judge in the best position to have a little bit of protection, but, you know, have our guys behind him knowing he's going to be on base with our best chance to score.” 

The plan worked to perfection, as Judge got things started against Rays starter Corey Kluber by lining a single to left field, and Stanton followed with a rocket up the right field gap for a single. Judge raced all the way to third on it.

Gleyber Torres then followed with a hit the opposite way, as there was a hole on the right side, and that brought in Judge to make it 1-0.

Josh Donaldson, back from being on the paternity list, was up next, and he blasted one to right field that was off the top of the fence. Because Stanton, at second, and Torres, at first, had to wait to see if it would be caught, Donaldson only got a single on it and the bases were loaded. 

Oswaldo Cabrera was up next, and he singled in Stanton and Torres, and Miguel Andujar followed with a single to score Donaldson and make it 4-0 Yankees.

Gleyber Torres being greeted by Miguel Andujar (center, with bat) and Giancarlo Stanton after scoring on single by Oswaldo Cabrera, at first base. Photo by Jason Schott.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa bounced one back to Kluber, and it went off his glove and rolled back down the mound. Thinking it went up into the air, Kluber looked up and couldn’t find it, so everyone was safe, and Kiner-Falefa was given a single, the seventh in a row for the Yankees to open the game.

Kyle Higashioka hit one up the middle for a force out, which brought in Cabrera to make it 5-0. Marwin Gonzalez then popped out to the catcher for the second out.

The lineup turned over, and Judge was up again, showing the value of having him in the leadoff spot, and he got his second single of the inning, and that brought in Andujar to give the Yankees a 6-0 lead.

That was all for Kluber, and JT Chargois came in to get Stanton to bounce into a force out to end the inning.

The final line for the ex-Yankee Kluber was: 2/3 of an inning, 8 hits, 6 runs (all earned), 0 walks, 0 strikeouts. This came after he shutout the Yankees for seven innings last Saturday, in which he allowed just two hits, no walks, and struck out four in a 2-1 Rays win.

"Awesome" was the word Boone used to describe that first inning. "Just great at-bats from everyone, just moving the line, seven straight there reaching base, and then a great play on Higgy (Higashioka) to put a stop to it, and on G (Stanton) to end that inning. So, it was just a collection of really good at-bats, good two-strike at-bats to put us in a great spot."

The Yankees kept hitting in the second inning, as Donaldson, after nearly getting a home run in the first, hit a solo shot to right field to make it 7-0.

"It was big, and it brought a lot of energy," Boone said of having Donaldson back in the lineup for the first time since Monday. "He brought a lot of energy with him today, I think guys kind of fed off it a little bit. We need that from him, he's a premium player when he's going, and we got to continue to get that from him. It was really good to see him just in sync at the plate, and you know, real simple stroke, and I thought he looked great."

Jameson Taillon facing Wander Franco in the first inning. Photo by Jason Schott.

That was more than enough for Yankees starting pitcher Jameson Taillon, who went 7 1/3 innings, and allowed three runs (all earned) on six hits and a walk, with eight strikeouts. He improved to 13-4 on the season, and his ERA is now 3.94.

Boone said of Taillon's outing, "One, I thought he used his changeup well; it's not necessarily his go-to pitch, but I thought he threw a lot of good change-ups to some of their lefties. I thought the combination of the sinker and the four-seam fastball were really good, didn't seem like he used his breaking ball a whole lot. I thought the slider was good, but then he was just on the attack. You know, got that lead - I think he came out and walked that lead-off hitter, which is not like him, but other than that, you know, he was getting after it and getting himself into good counts, but I thought his two fastballs and his change-up were effective for him today."

The Yankees tacked on a couple in the seventh against Tampa Bay’s Calvin Faucher. Donaldson got hit by a pitch with one out, and then Andujar got a two-out single, and because of the throw back, he got to second and Donaldson third.

Faucher then threw a wild pitch to allow Donaldson to score, and Kiner-Falefa dunked one in to center to bring in Andujar and make it 9-1 Yankees.

After Tampa got a couple in the top of the eighth, Stanton launched one to left field, off the foul pole, for a solo shot, his 25th of the season, to give the Yanks a 10-3 lead.

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