This was a game that was largely uneventful for seven innings, then extremely tense for the last four. The Yankees’ offense was stagnant all night long and eventually it caught up to them. Aroldis Chapman, who had been demoted to middle relief status due to a prolonged slump, was needed to come in when the game reached extra innings. He continued an unfortunate trend of giving up late home runs, costing the Bombers the game. They dropped this one to the Mariners by a score of 2 - 1.
Underappreciated due to the lack of run support tonight was the start that CC Sabathia made. He was magnificent, going seven strong and making only one mistake, a solo shot off the bat of Mike Zunino. He even earned his 2,813th strikeout, tying him with Mike Mussina for 19th place on the all-time strikeout list. The big left-hander would get another strikeout the next inning to take sole possession of 19th place.
For much of the game, however, it felt like that one mistake would be his downfall. The offense was dormant, despite having multiple chances against Seattle starter Ariel Miranda. He did not have a good game, struggling with his command and constantly falling behind in the count. The Yankees managed to load the bases in the third when Miranda walked Tyler Austin, Todd Frazier, and Brett Gardner. Despite this, he escaped damage by getting Aaron Hicks to pop out, and then forcing Gary Sanchez to fly out.
Miranda would get into trouble again in the fourth, as he hit Didi Gregorius on the shoulder with a splitter. He followed this by serving up a double to Starlin Castro. After an Austin strikeout, Chase Headley walked to load the bases again. Once more, Miranda evaded trouble.
In the bottom of the 5th, the Yankees would again threaten, as Hicks ripped a double to the gap in left-center, and moved to third on a Sanchez fly out. Having seen enough from his starter, Mariners manager Scott Servais pulled Miranda in favor of Emilio Pagan. The right-hander forced Aaron Judge to pop up to end the inning, and then pitched a clean sixth.
The Yankees finally got some luck on their side in the eighth inning. Judge walked with one out off of new reliever and old friend David Phelps. Then Gregorius slapped a double to center field. It should have been a single, but Seattle center fielder Guillermo Heredia bobbled the ball twice, allowing Judge to score from first and Gregorius to advance to second. They gave Heredia an error for allowing Judge to come home, but credited Gregorius with a double. Hey, can’t complain I guess.
Then a weird play happened. Starlin Castro grounded a ball to short, but Gregorious was running on contact. The throw went to third, and Gregorius was called out. On replay however, it appeared that he used a fancy slide and avoided the tag. The Yankees, however, didn’t challenge. Joe Girardi was visibly frustrated in the dugout, so perhaps the Yankees’ replay team didn’t work fast enough. Whatever the reason, the call stood, and the Yankees lost a big opportunity to win the game.
Dellin Betances was called on to pitch the ninth, and while he wasn’t sharp, he had enough to escape a bases-loaded jam. Servais pinch-hit Yonder Alonso and Robinson Cano, but neither could get the hit necessary to score. Meanwhile, Yankees had an uneventful bottom of the ninth, with only Sanchez getting on base via a single, so it was on to extra innings.
David Robertson and James Pazos both held down their respective halves of the 10th, sending the game to the 11th inning. That’s where Girardi at last needed to call on Chapman. It seemed like it would be a clean inning for the former closer, getting Mitch Haniger and Zunino to ground out. Alonso, however, launched one to Monument Park. The homer was the latest incidence where Chapman has been unable to avoid damage late in a game, and another that ended up resulting in a loss.
The Yankees had one last chance to rally in the bottom of the 11th, and they got Brett Gardner to second with two outs via a stolen base. Hicks would strike out to end the game, and thus ending a poor showing in this opening game of the home stand.
The Yankees will look to bounce back tomorrow with Sonny Gray on the mound. Yovani Gallardo will oppose him, and he’s been bad this season, pitching to a 5.75 ERA. Hopefully they will do more than walk endlessly without actually hitting the ball against him. First pitch will be at 1:05 PM EST.