Don’t look now, but Sonny Gray has strung together two solid starts in a row. After tossing six scoreless against the Orioles last week, he held the Mets to just two earned runs off of three hits today. He didn’t quite give the Yankees the length they would have liked, but this outing was a step in the right direction, especially considering how he has struggled to pitch in Yankee Stadium. Things got hectic in the ninth when Aroldis Chapman imploded, but Chasen Shreve saved the day, just like we all expected.
After a quick and easy first inning, Gray offered up a first pitch fastball to Michael Conforto. The left fielder deposited the ball in the right field seats to put the Mets on the board first. Other than that, Gray gave up just two singles, and notched six strikeouts. It looked like he might make it through the sixth, but with just one out, Gray proceeded to walk both Conforto and Jose Bautista. The Yankees turned to David Robertson to clean up the mess. He struck out Kevin Plawecki, then Amed Rosario hit an RBI single that allowed Bautista to move to third. With Matthew den Dekker at the plate, D-Rob made a throwing error attempting to pick off Rosario, and that allowed Bautista to come home.
The Yankees finally got things going in the fourth inning. Giancarlo Stanton hit a leadoff single, then Didi Gregorius ripped a triple past a diving den Dekker. It was an awful inning for the outfielder, who went on to misplay two more balls. Miguel Andujar knocked an RBI double, then Greg Bird followed with a ball to deep center that bounced off den Dekker’s glove. With two outs, Austin Romine dropped a single into left center field. Once again in on the action, den Dekker dove for the ball, and it ricocheted off his glove. The Yankees left the inning with a 4-1 lead.
They tacked on a couple more runs over the next few innings, and in the end they needed every last one. Miguel Andujar hit a leadoff double in the sixth, and Bird followed with an RBI. Aaron Judge hit a solo shot in the seventh, and Romine hit an RBI in the eighth to make it a 7-3 game.
Jonathan Holder and Dellin Betances worked a pair of clean innings, then Aroldis Chapman came out for the ninth inning. He hadn’t pitched since July 14th, and even sat out of the All-Star Game so that he could rest his knee. The inning went downhill in a hurry. Plawecki worked a leadoff walk, Rosario got an infield single, and Ty Kelly walked on four straight pitches to load the bases.
Chapman absolutely could not find the strike zone. He proceeded to walk Jose Reyes to make it a 7-4 game, then grazed Nimmo’s shoulder to make it 7-5. With zero outs and the bases loaded, the Yankees finally handed the ball to Shreve. Devin Mesoraco grounded into a double play to make it a 7-6 game, then Wilmer Flores tapped a soft grounder to the pitcher. Shreve fired to first to get the final out and the Yankees just barely escaped with the win.
That was one way to win, but I wouldn’t recommend it.
The Yankees will wrap up this series tomorrow night on ESPN at 8:05 ET. Sunday Night Baseball will feature a battle between Masahiro Tanaka and Jacob deGrom.