The Yankees needed to win (and the Rays needed to lose) in order for the Bombers to clinch a spot in the Wild Card Game today. Tampa Bay did their part by falling 5-2 in Toronto. It took them a couple of extra innings, but the Yankees also did their job and punched their postseason ticket with a walk-off win.
The offense got to David Hess in the second inning. Aaron Hicks led off with a solo shot over the right field wall, and a couple of batters later, Luke Voit hammered a homer to the back of the bullpen. That was it for the offense for the vast majority of the game, though. They wasted several chances, including a Miguel Andujar double in the fourth, and left Andrew McCutchen and Aaron Judge stranded in the fifth. In the seventh, Gleyber Torres doubled to left, advanced to third on a passed ball, but ended up being thrown out at home on a McCutchen grounder.
Lance Lynn didn’t have his best stuff today. He made it through the first two innings without incident, but let the Orioles back into the game in the third. After back-to-back singles by Breyvic Valera and Steve Wilkerson, the runners moved up on a passed ball. Caleb Joseph struck out, but Cedric Mullins tapped a ball in front of home plate that Gary Sanchez air mailed to first base, allowing a run to score.
Baltimore tied up the game in the fifth. With one out, Wilkerson lined a double to left. The third baseman ended up being thrown out at home on a Joseph single. DJ Stewart dumped an RBI into shallow center to bring Joseph home. Jonathan Villar worked a walk to load the bases, but Adam Jones grounded out to end the top half. That was also the end of Lynn’s night. He tossed five innings with four strikeouts, two walks, and one earned run.
The Yankees bullpen had to get to work early, and they did a good job. Chad Green tossed a scoreless sixth inning, then handed the ball to Aroldis Chapman. Making a rare appearance in the seventh inning, Chapman didn’t struggle with his command today. He notched two strikeouts and a ground out during his inning of work. Dellin Betances struck out the side in the eighth, and Zach Britton worked around a single in the ninth to send the game to extra innings.
Jonathan Holder immediately worked his way in to trouble. Stewart hit a leadoff double, then Villar ended up being safe on an infield single. Voit was too far away from the bag to make the play, and Holder didn’t make it in time to get the runner out. With one out and Mancini up next, the Yankees decided to intentionally walk the first baseman. Somehow, that ended up working out for them as Chris Davis lined out and Valera flew out.
Tommy Kahnle also tossed a scoreless inning to keep the game tied going into the bottom of the eleventh. The Orioles brought in Paul Fry to face Didi Gregorius and the shortstop singled to right. Giancarlo Stanton struck out, bringing Hicks to the plate. He fouled the fourth pitch off his ankle, took a ball low to even the count at 2-2, then hammered a walk-off double down the third base line.
They haven’t secured home field advantage just yet, but the Yankees will officially play in the October 3rd AL Wild Card Game!
J.A. Happ will take on Alex Cobb to wrap up this series tomorrow. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 ET on YES, TBS, and MASN.