All good things must come to an end. The Yankees’ winning streak is no exception. For the first time in a while, the offense couldn’t overcome a poor pitching performance. There was no rally nor late-inning miracle on Tuesday night, as the Yankees dropped the series finale to the Reds by a score of 5 - 3.
New York jumped out to an early lead courtesy of the home run ball. Sanchez got the party started in the first inning; he crushed a Tim Adleman fastball, sending it 448 feet to left field. It was the kind of blast we saw during his impressive run down the stretch last season. Sanchez has been seeing the ball well since returning from the disabled list. It looks like the power swing is on its way back.
Didi Gregorius got in on the action in the second inning. He turned on an Adleman changeup, planting it into the right field seats. At 381 feet, his home run wasn’t as towering as Sanchez’s shot. It went out, though, and it gave the Yankees a 2 - 0 lead.
That lead proved short-lived, however, as the Reds pounced on CC Sabathia in the bottom-half of the second inning. Unlike the Yankees, however, they didn’t rely on the long ball. Following a pair of singles by Scott Schebler and Jose Peraza, Sabathia walked Devin Mesoraco to load the bases. It was an ominous sign for the left-hander, who was struggling to locate his cutter.
Sabathia struck out Adleman for the first out, but then allowed four consecutive singles to the top of the Reds’ order. Billy Hamilton, Joey Votto, and Adam Duvall each added to their RBI totals. Sabathia escaped the inning following a Eugenio Suarez strikeout and a Schebler groundball. The Reds, however, departed with a 5 - 2 lead.
For his part, Sabathia settled down following the disastrous second inning. He retired 11 of the next 13 batters he faced. The damage, however, was done. He finished the night having allowed five runs over six innings. That raised his season ERA to 5.77. At some point, the team is going to have to do something about Sabathia. They can’t keep running him out there like this.
The Yankees chipped away at the Reds’ lead in the fourth inning. Starlin Castro launched a leadoff double, and advanced to third on an Aaron Judge double play. An Adleman fastball broke Gregorius’ bat, but the Yankees shortstop held on long enough to dunk a RBI bloop single into right field. That scored Castro and cut the lead to two.
Unfortunately that’s all the offense would muster. The Yankees had more than a few chances to break out, but they never managed the decisive blow. Ronald Torreyes’ dreadful at-bat with two outs and the bases loaded in the sixth inning comes to mind. There were plenty of opportunities, but the lineup couldn’t capitalize.
For their part, the Yankees’ bullpen kept things close. Dellin Betances came on in the seventh inning, where he walked Cozart and Votto on eight pitches. He looked like he had no idea where the ball was going. Something clicked, however, and Betances remembered that he was among the best relievers in baseball. He then struck out the side to end the inning. Classic Betances, wild and dominant. Chad Green also made his 2017 debut, tossing a scoreless inning of his own. At leas the bullpen was fun.
The Yankees have the day off tomorrow. They could use one after this road trip. The Astros come to town on Thursday. A few old friends, namely Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann, will be there. That should be cool. Michael Pineda gets the start, while the Houston rotation is still to be determined.