Sonny Gray lost his spring scoreless streak, but the Bombers came away with the win. Gary Sanchez and Tyler Austin went deep, and Aaron Judge knocked in two runs in the 9-5 victory over the Pirates at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
Gray got into trouble immediately in the first inning when he walked the leadoff hitter. Then, after a pair of strikeouts, he served up a two-run homer to Francisco Cervelli. He gave up another run in the third when Josh Harrison doubled, moved to third on a Sanchez passed ball, and scored on a groundout. Gray’s line wasn’t pretty. He gave up three runs (two earned) on two hits. He also walked three and struck out four in three innings of work.
The Yankees got a run back immediately in the bottom of the first. Brett Gardner led off with a walk and scored on a double by Judge They took the lead for good in the third when Judge walked, Giancarlo Stanton was hit by a pitch, and Sanchez hit a three-run homer to put the Yankees up 4-3.
The Bombers put the game away in the fourth. Greg Bird led off with a walk, Tyler Wade walked, and Gardner reached on an error to load the bases. Then Judge drew a walk to knock in New York’s fifth run. Stanton hit into an RBI groundout, and Sanchez doubled in two to make it 8-3. The Kraken finished with five RBI on the day.
New York only managed five hits, but the team made every one of them count. The Yankees also drew nine walks. They did a great job of putting their hits and walks together to grab the win. Austin even added a solo shot in the eighth, his fourth dinger of the spring.
Dellin Betances had another interesting outing. He pitched one inning, allowing the first batter he faced to reach on a single. He then served up a two-run homer. He didn’t walk anyone, though, and he managed to strike out the side. His ERA in Grapefruit League action is now 10.80.
A quartet of Yankees relievers combined to pitch five scoreless innings to nail down the victory. Adam Warren, Tommy Kahnle, Chasen Shreve, and Ben Heller all pitched well. Heller threw an inning and a third to close it out and earn his second save of the spring.
Today’s starting lineup was very close to what we should see on Opening Day. All of the regulars were in there. The only exception is that Wade started at second base instead of Neil Walker. Other than that, the Bombers had all of their big guns start against the Bucs today. It was great seeing Stanton batting between Judge and Sanchez. This could be the beginning of something historic.
The Bombers are set to renew hostilities with the defending World Series champion Houston Astros tomorrow night. Jordan Montgomery takes the hill for New York, while Lance McCullers Jr. gets the start for Houston. The game is at George M. Steinbrenner Field, but will not be broadcast. First pitch is 6:35 PM EDT.