The Yankees enjoyed a thrilling 2018 season. En route to their first 100-win campaign since 2009, the Bombers reclaimed MLB’s single-season home run mark by smashing 267 long balls. Individual players produced 24 multi-homer games, tying a record held by the 1961 Yankees and ‘66 Braves. The club claimed additional home run records along the way, when 12 individual players reached the double-digit dinger plateau.
Two Yankees starters hurled complete game shutouts, while the staff combined to blank opponents a total of 11 times. New York also enjoyed 11 walk-off wins, and the year ended with the club’s 54th postseason appearance.
Many memorable games were played along the way. I’ve chosen my 10 favorites, which I present here in chronological order.
1. The Didi Gregorius game
April 3 versus Tampa Bay
Didi Gregorius produced an Opening Day for the ages. The Yankees shortstop went 4-for-4 with a walk in five plate appearances. He singled, doubled, and belted a pair of three-run homers to lift the Bombers to an 11-4 victory over the visiting Tampa Bay Rays. Gregorius drove in eight runs, setting a new single-game franchise record for most by a shortstop. He also became only the sixth shortstop in MLB history to accomplish the feat.
2. Bombers’ first walk-off win
April 26 versus Minnesota
The Yankees headed into the bottom of the seventh trailing Minnesota 3-0, while only managing one hit up to that point. Giancarlo Stanton led off with a line-drive double to the left-center field gap, moved to third on a wild pitch, and scored on an Aaron Hicks sacrifice fly. With their five-game winning streak on the line, the Bombers went to bat in the ninth still down by two. Didi reached on a throwing error, Stanton singled, and Gary Sanchez followed with a dramatic walk-off three-run home run.
3. Sweep in Anaheim
April 29 at Los Angeles
Three days later, the Yankees went into the series finale seeking a rare sweep in Anaheim. It was a pitchers’ duel early, with CC Sabathia hurling one of his best games of the year. Sanchez clubbed a two-run bomb in the fourth, and the Bombers held on for a 2-1 win.
The victory extended the Yankees winning streak to a season-high nine games, and capped off an exciting weekend on the West Coast. Didi belted a game-winning homer in the tenth on Friday, and was saluted with a boisterous curtain call by the large contingent of Yankees fans at Angel Stadium. New York jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the second inning on Saturday, en route to a blow out win. It was the Bombers’ first sweep of the Angels in their home park since 2003, with New York having lost 13 of the last 18 series there.
4. Yanks finally find a way to beat Verlander (sort of)
May 1 at Houston
After Anaheim, the Yankees flew to Houston for a four-game set, and promptly lost the first one to end the winning streak. In game two, Jordan Montgomery hurt his elbow and departed after only one inning, but the bullpen somehow met the Herculean task of matching Verlander’s zeroes, beginning with Domingo German’s four scoreless frames.
New York’s offense drove Verlander’s pitch count up to 105, and he gave way to reliever Ken Giles to start the ninth. Two men hit their way on, and Sanchez clubbed a three-run homer to break the scoreless deadlock. That was the shot that led to Giles punching himself in the face. The Yankees tacked on another run, and sealed the improbable 4-0 win when Aroldis Chapman struck out Gurriel, Bregman, and Gonzalez in order.
The Yankees won the next day by the same score, behind Luis Severino’s complete game shutout. Trailing 5-3 in the ninth, the Yankees scored three times to stun the Astros in the finale to win the series and finally shake the Minute Maid monkey off their backs.
5. Gleyber becomes the youngest Yankee with a walk-off home run
May 6 versus Cleveland
The Bombers returned home from Houston and swept the defending AL Central champion in thrilling fashion. After blowing an early 5-0 lead, New York won game one 7-6 on a Miguel Andujar two-out walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth. In game two, the Yankees were perfect gamed by Trevor Bauer through four innings, only to break through with four runs in the fifth to overcome a 1-0 deficit.
In the series finale, the Bombers trailed 4-0 heading into the bottom of the eighth, and were being one-hit by Mike Clevinger. But after Clevinger walked two of the first three batters, he was replaced by Cody Allen, and that’s when the fireworks started. Gardner smacked an RBI single, and Judge followed with a two-RBI double to bring the Bombers to within one.
Hicks doubled off Allen to lead off the ninth, and Neil Walker doubled him home to tie the game. Dan Otero was summoned to replace Allen, and he retired Andujar before intentionally walking Stanton. Gleyber Torres then smashed a walk-off, three-run homer over the center-field fence. It was the 21-year-old rookie’s second career home run, and first walk-off, with Torres becoming the youngest player in franchise history to do so.
6. Stanton’s walk-off
June 20 versus Seattle
The Yankees overcame a five-run deficit in the fifth inning to defeat the Mariners 7-5. Judge plated two in the fifth with a single, Didi hit a sac fly in the seventh, and Sanchez tied the game with a breathtaking two-run shot in the eighth. That set the stage for Stanton’s dramatic two-out, two-run, walk-off homer on an 0-2 count in the bottom of the ninth.
7. Aaron Hicks belts three home runs against Red Sox
July 1 versus Boston
The Bombers bashed six home runs — with three coming from Hicks — to defeat the rival Red Sox 11-1 at Yankee Stadium. Hicks hit a two-run homer in the second and a solo shot in the fourth off David Price, and then added another solo blast in the eighth off Hector Velazquez. Severino carried a two-hit shutout into the seventh, before giving way to Robertson, Betances, and Chapman to finish off the one-sided victory.
8. Tanaka’s gem versus Rays
July 24 at Tampa Bay
Masahiro Tanaka twirled the third complete game shutout of his career against a pesky Rays team that had beaten the Yankees four straight times at Tropicana Field. Tanaka allowed just three hits and one walk, and fanned nine hitters. The right-hander notched the fourth highest game score in the league (89) for the season. The performance was a great example of Tanaka at his absolute best.
9. Yankees clinch at Fenway
September 28 at Boston
The Yankees clinched home-field advantage for the AL Wild Card Game with an 11-6 drubbing of the Red Sox in Beantown. Sanchez, Hicks, Voit, and Judge all went deep, as the Bombers tied Seattle’s single-season home run mark with 264. Torres hit the record-breaking bomb against the Red Sox the next day, as the Yankees notched their 100th and final regular-season win.
10. Yankees defeat A’s in Wild Card Game
October 3 versus Oakland
Severino took a no-hit shutout into the fifth, and the great Yankees bullpen took over to help the Yankees cruise to a Wild Card Game win against the visiting Athletics. Judge put the Bombers ahead with a two-run blast in the bottom of the first, a lead they would never relinquish. Stanton added a homer to lead off the eighth, and Voit contributed a two-RBI triple that missed clearing the right-field wall by inches. This turned out to be the final victory for the Bombers at Yankee Stadium in 2018.
What was your favorite Yankees’ game of 2018? Let us know in the comments section below.