Saturday, June 8, 2024

Dodgers, Backed By Two Shots From Teoscar, Take Series From Yankees


Teoscar Hernandez getting greeted at home plate after he hit his grand slam in the eighth inning. Photo by Jason Schott.

The Los Angeles Dodgers, after winning the opener of their three-game series with the Yankees, 2-1, in 11 innings, pulled away late for an 11-3 win on Saturday night at Yankee Stadium. 

Teoscar Hernandez led the way for the Dodgers with two home runs, including a grand slam in the eighth inning that gave Los Angeles an 8-2 lead at the time.

Hernandez's first dinger came in the second inning, a solo shot off Yankees starting pitcher Nestor Cortez into the bullpen in left field.

The Yankees, who could not convert on a two runners on base, none out situation in the first inning, had the same situation in the second when Austin Wells brought in a run on a force out to tie it at 1.

That would be short-lived, as Los Angeles took the lead in the top of the third when Shohei Ohtani hit one the other way for an RBI single to bring in Enrique Hernandez, who walked to open the frame.

Shohei Ohtani flicking one to left field for an RBI single in the third. Photos by Jason Schott.

Aaron Judge responded by blasting one to left field that just cleared the fence for a solo shot to tie it at 2. It was the Yankee captain's 22nd of the season.

Los Angeles reclaimed the lead in the fifth when E. Hernandez crushed one to right field for a solo shot. They made it 4-2 in the sixth when Freddie Freeman laced a double over Alex Verdugo's head in left field, and he came into score when Teoscar Hernandez hit into a force out.

Hernandez's force out came against Michael Tonkin, who relieved Cortes, after the lefty went 5 1/3 innings, and allowed four runs (all earned) on seven hits and a walk, with four strikeouts.

Yankees Manager Aaron Boone said of Cortes' performance, "I thought Nestor was alright, you know, Teoscar got him, you know, pretty good there. He's gotten him before like that; looked like he got to it kind of up and in there, just put a really good swing on it. Enrique got him, you know, overall I thought he was okay, he gave us a chance there, just the two long balls and we were chasing, trying to play that little bit of catch-up all night."

The Yankees had a golden chance in the bottom of the sixth, with Dodgers starter Gavin Stone still on the mound. 

After retiring the first two, Stone allowed singles to DJ LeMahieu and Austin Wells before walking Trent Grisham to load the bases.

With the lineup turning over, Los Angeles turned to Alex Vesia to face Anthony Volpe, and he got him to fly out to left field to end the threat.

By this point, the Yankees left five runners on base, and Boone said of their missed chances, "Just trying to create opportunities for yourself, thought we had a couple of good at-bats with guys out there, including the Giancarlo (Stanton) at-bat where he flew out to deep center (with two on and two out in the fifth), you know, he even got a swing off the time before when he popped up in the infield (with two on and one out in the first), so just weren't able to cash them in to really take advantage. Stone made some pitches in situations, but just not that hit to break through."

Stone went 5 2/3 innings, and he allowed two runs (both earned) on eight hits and two walks, with six strikeouts, as he earned the win to improve to 7-2 on the season. His ERA (earned run average) ticked up slightly to 2.93 from 2.90.

After Tonkin pitched a perfect seventh, the Yankees turned to Tommy Kahnle for the eighth, and he was facing the top of the Dodgers lineup.

Mookie Betts led off with a walk, and then Ohtani hit an off-speed pitch that came off the bat funny, and it bounced right to Gleyber Torres at second base, and he flubbed it for an obvious error.

Kahnle responded by striking out Freeman, but he walked Will Smith to load the bases. That brought up Teoscar Hernandez, who slapped one to left field, nearly to the same spot he did earlier, but this time it was a grand slam that put Los Angeles up 8-2.

This would give Hernandez six RBI on the night, matching a career-high that he did twice before, at Boston on June 13, 2021 while with Toronto and August 26, 2023, vs. Kansas City, while with Seattle. It was the 18th time in his career he had a multi-home run game.

Teoscar Hernandez celebrates at home plate while Yankees Manager Aaron Boone is on his way to the mound to pull Tommy Kahnle. Photo by Jason Schott.

That would be all for the Yankees right-hander, and Los Angeles would then tack on three more runs in the ninth before Judge hit his second home run of the night - number 23 on the season - with two outs in the bottom half of the frame to make it 11-3.

The Dodgers fans made their presence felt, especially late in this one. Boone was asked in his postgame press conference if he noticed when they would cheer, and he said, "Yeah, no question. Obviously, they haven't been here in a long time, and you know, we experience that a lot wherever we travel, so you knew this was going to be a big series, so, yeah, you certainly notice the Dodger fans here, too."

The Yankees will be sending their new phenom on the mound, Luis Gil, who is 8-1 with a 1.82 ERA, to the mound on Sunday night to try to salvage the final game of the series. Los Angeles will be sending Tyler Glasnow (6-4, 2.93 ERA), who is no stranger to The Stadium after pitching for Tampa Bay for the past six seasons.

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