Saturday, June 10, 2023

German Great Again, Gleyber Ignites Offense As Yanks Beat Red Sox

Domingo German facing Justin Turner in the first inning. Photo by Jason Schott.


The Yankees beat the Boston Red Sox, 3-1, in a rare Saturday night game at Yankee Stadium, as Domingo German had another great start, and Gleyber Torres and Willie Calhoun each had solo home runs to power the Bronx Bombers offense.

German, the Yankees' secret weapon in their rotation, entered this one with a record of 3-3 with a solid 3.69 ERA (Earned run average), and it was his third outing since his suspension for getting caught with sticky stuff on his hand in a game at Toronto on May 16.

In his first start back against in Seattle on May 29, he scattered four runs (all earned) on seven hits and three walks, with four strikeouts, in a 10-4 Yankees win over the Mariners.

German followed that up with an even better outing against the Dodgers in Los Angeles last Sunday, as he went 6 2/3 innings, allowing just one run (earned) on four hits and a walk, with six strikeouts, in a 4-1 Yankee win.

Yankees Manager Aaron Boone was asked, in his pregame press conference on Saturday afternoon, about how German has pitched since his return, and he said, “Been really good; I thought in L.A. he was great. He’s been really solid for us all year, I mean, and the last two have been excellent, especially thinking back to L.A., where he’s just in command, efficient, you know, the strike-throwing’s been Domingo-esque, you know, where you look up, it’s just impressive how much he’s filling up the zone, but also just the quality of his fastball, both four-sinker and then the curveball/change-up. That’s just been really good for him, really all pitches he can rely on, and having those three pitches and the ability to fill up the zone has served him well.”

In this one against Boston, German worked around a single by Justin Turner in the first inning with two strikeouts. 

Boston then got two on base in the second when Triston Casas drew a one-out walk, and then Reese McGuire doubled to right field with two out, and Willie Calhoun fired it back into the infield in time to keep Casas at third base. That was critical as German then got Enrique Hernandez to line out to shortstop to end the threat. 

Domingo German getting Alex Verdugo to ground out to open the third inning. Photo by Jason Schott.

German then allowed a single apiece in the third and fourth innings, and got out of those frames with ease to keep the Sox off the board. Boston had four hits and a walk through the first four, and left five runners on base.

Meanwhile, Boston starting pitcher Tanner Houck came out firing, as he retired the Yankees nine up, nine down in the first three innings, with six strikeouts.

Gleyber Torres, who was in the leadoff spot in this one, was first up in the fourth inning as the lineup turned over, and he broke the ice with a solo home run the opposite way to right field. The solo shot was his 11th home run of the season.

Boone, in his postgame press conference, said of that home run coming at a pivotal moment, "That was big, I thought Houck was really good tonight, and he was tough on us, especially that first time through. You know, he kind of cruises his way through there, you know, doing a good job against our righties and lefties, you know, whether it's mixing sinker, cutter, backdoored some sliders against lefties, so yeah, it was good to get a - it looked like he was maybe trying to maybe get that ball in and over the plate, and Gleyber, who swung at the first pitch his first at-bat, you know, stayed aggressive and got a pitch in the heart of the plate and does what he does when he gets into one the other way.

After German worked around a walk to Japanese sensation Masataka Yoshida in the fifth, Boston tied it in the sixth when, who else, Rafael Devers, crushed one to center field for a solo shot. It was his 15th on the season, and second in two nights against the Yankees.

It didn't stay tied for long, as Willie Calhoun took one to deep right that just cleared the fence for a solo shot, his fifth homer of the year, and that put the Yankees up, 2-1.

Since German finished the sixth, that home run lined him up for the win. He allowed just the one run from the Devers homer, while scattering six hits and two walks, with five strikeouts, and impressing Boone once again in the process.

"You know, managed it, was good once again," the Yankees skipper said. "I didn't think he was as dominant as he was in L.A., you know, they squared some balls up on him tonight, but he made some big pitches when he had to, he had some big plays behind him, so another strong start for what's been a really good season so far for Domingo."

Wandy Peralta came on for the Yankees in the seventh, and he got the first two outs before Yoshida worked out a walk in a 14-pitch epic at-bat. Turner then drew a walk to give Boston two on base and two out for Devers, but Peralta got him to bounce out to second base to end the frame.

Houck left after the sixth inning as well, as he allowed two runs on three hits and one walk, with six strikeouts. 

Left-hander Brennan Bernardino entered for the Sox in the seventh, and the Yankees played the matchups, and sent Isiah Kiner-Falefa in for Jake Bauers. IKF singled and moved up to second base on a Billy McKinney groundout.

Josh Winckowski came on with two outs for Kyle Higashioka, and the Yankees catcher lined one up the middle that bounced off the glove of Boston second baseman Christian Arroyo. Once it kicked away to Arroyo's right, it opened the door for Kiner-Falefa to go all the way around, and as he headed for the plate, Arroyo's throw to the plate was wild, and he scored to make it a 3-1 lead for the Yankees.

Boone said of that alert play by Kiner-Falefa and the other key hustle moments by the Yankees in this one, "Really big, you know, Houck was tough and, you know, we got to find a way, you know, little tougher for us to score runs right now (referring indirectly to Aaron Judge being out), so you got to do some little things to make that happen. IKF ready to go, knows that spot's coming up, boom, pinch hit, here we go, you know, being aware on the bases, being aggressive on the bases, that's a big add-on run there to give us a little bit of a cushion. So, just, look, like I've said here over the last several weeks, just really pleased with, win, lose, or draw, you know, whatever happens within the game, these guys are hooked up, ready to go every day, and you know, I keep saying it to you, walk in with an edge, prepare, compete, and let the chips fall where they may, and they've done a great job of that."

Tommy Kahnle came on for the Yankees in the eighth, and he hit Adam Duvall before getting Triston Casas to fly out to right field, Arroyo to fly out to center field, and McGuire to bounce out to second base.

Clay Holmes came on to close it out in the ninth, and he notched two strikeouts, while working around a single to Alex Verdugo, and the game ended with Justin Turner bouncing into a force out. It was Holmes' eighth save of the season.

German earned the win to improve to 4-3 on the season and lower his ERA a tad to 3.49, while Houck, the hard-luck loser, fell to 3-6 and his ERA also dipped slightly to 5.23.

The Yankees improve to 38-28, while Boston fell to 32-33 as they have split the first two games of this series with the runner match on Sunday night.

Justin Turner holding up on a 2-2 pitch against Clay Holmes in the ninth inning before he grounded out on the next pitch. Photo by Jason Schott.

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