Thursday, May 4, 2023

Yankees Walk It Off To Win Series Vs. Cleveland; Tampa On Tap This Weekend

Clarke Schmidt pitching to Cam Gallagher in the fourth inning. Photo by Jason Schott.

The resilient Yankees, who are without sluggers Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, plus a whole host of pitchers at the moment, got a walk-off RBI single from Jose Trevino in the 10th inning to take a 4-3 win over the Cleveland Guardians to earn the series victory. 

After losing the opener on Monday night, the Yankees edged Cleveland on Tuesday, 4-2, before earning this victory to take two of three from the Guardians, and they now have a record of 17-15 on the season.

Clarke Schmidt got the start for the Yankees in this one, and he ran into some trouble early, not all of his doing.

Steven Kwan opened the game with a single, followed by Amed Rosario bouncing into a fielder's choice before Anthony Rizzo made a rare error on a Jose Ramirez grounder to first base.

Schmidt then struck out Josh Naylor before Josh Bell and Andres Gimenez followed with RBI singles to make it 2-0 Guardians, with both runs unearned. Rizzo redeemed himself, as he ably went to his right to snag a Will Brennan grounder to the end the inning.

In the second, Cleveland got singles from Myles Straw and Kwan, but Schmidt worked out of trouble by striking out Rosario and getting Ramirez to fly out to center field.

Schmidt settled in after that, and pitched into the fifth, with his final line being: 4 1/3 innings, 2 runs, 0 earned runs, 2 walks, and 4 strikeouts.

Meanwhile, Cleveland starter Shane Bieber was cruising until he was stunned in the fifth inning when Willie Calhoun and Jake Bauers got a pair of home runs to tie the game at 2.

Bieber went eighth innings, and allowed those two runs on five hits and a walk, with four strikeouts.

The Guardians lined him up for the win in the ninth when Oscar Gonzalez got an RBI single off Yankees closer Clay Holmes to make it 3-2. 

The play was really costly for the Yankees, as center fielder Harrison Bader collided with left fielder Isiah-Kiner Falefa going for the ball.

Bader had to leave the game, a cruel thing considering he just made his season debut on Tuesday.

Yankees Manager Aaron Boone said of the center fielder's injury after the game, "I think Harrison's going to be fine, you know, they want to make sure with all the tests and just make sure he's okay. I was just with him and he's in good spirits, so, but obviously not something we want to mess with, or make sure he's okay so he'll run through all the testing and stuff, but, yeah, just saw it go up and it's like 'oh, man.' I first looked at (second baseman) Gleyber (Torres), at first, I thought he might have a beat on it, and then I knew he didn't have it, so just hoping we could run into a great play out there, and he (Gonzalez) just dumped it out there perfectly."

Cleveland turned to Emmanuel Clase to close it out, and Rizzo greeted him with a single, and Oswald Peraza went in to pinch-run and stole second base. However, he would leave with an ankle injury as he slid awkwardly into the bag.

Then, with one out, Calhoun struck again as he singled in the tying run. This completed a 2-for-3 night, with two RBI and a walk, to bring the Yankee rookie's average up to .250.

In the top of the tenth, with the ghost runner at second, Albert Abreu struck out Rosario, intentionally walked Ramirez, and got Naylor to bounce into a double play.

Trevor Stephan came on for Cleveland in the bottom of the tenth, and with Oswaldo Cabrera as the ghost runner, Kiner-Falefa bunted him over to third base before pinch-hitter Jose Trevino (for fellow catcher Kyle Higashioka) singled to center field to bring in the winning run.

TAMPA BAY ON TAP THIS WEEKEND: The Yankees will head down to Tampa Bay to take on the Rays, who have the best record in baseball at 25-6, for a three-game series Friday night.

Looking ahead to the series, Yankees Manager Aaron Boone announced, in his pregame press conference on Wednesday afternoon, Nestor Cortes will not be making a start.

“Nestor, he’s going to pitch Monday against Oakland,” Boone said. “Basically, he had strep throat a couple of days ago, he’s fine, so he would have gone Friday, and missed the Rays on the back side (referring to when Tampa Bay comes to Yankee Stadium from May 12-14). So, we just decided to push him around to Monday and he’ll be in the Rays series when we’re at home. It was simply just giving him a couple extra days with being a little under the weather.”

The Yankees will send rookie Jhony Brito to the mound Friday, followed by Domingo German on Saturday, and ace Gerrit Cole on Sunday.

Boone said of the importance of this series, “Look, inter-division, you’re potentially handing a loss to a division rival, certainly one that you expect to be really good and be there in the end, and also put a ‘W’ in our column. They’ve done everything - they’ve pitched as good as anyone in the league, they’re swinging the bat as well as anyone in the league, they’re athletic. You know, Wander Franco’s really come back from kind of an injury-riddled season last year, and is playing really well, but again, they’ve done a great job of just building and transitioning their roster to be really complementary of one another. So, depending on what the matchup is that day, who they’re facing, their 13 position players really complement each other well, and they’re playing like the best team in the league right now. So, not surprising that they’re really good, and you gotta play really well to go beat them, especially down there.”

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