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DJ LeMahieu busts out of slump in Yankees’ improbable comeback win

LeMahieu drove in three, including the game-winning run in the ninth.

New York Yankees v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Through four innings of play, things didn’t look great for the Yankees. CC Sabathia, attempting to reach 3,000 strikeouts, ended his day at 2,997 after getting knocked around for five runs. Gary Sanchez, in his first game back from the injured list, went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts, and the Yanks trailed 5-0.

Not to worry. The Bronx Railri— er, the Bronx Bombers, had it all the way.

The replacement Yankees turned a 5-0 deficit into a 6-5 win after a go-ahead single by DJ LeMahieu with two outs in the ninth. The improbable comeback resulted in the team’s sixth win in a row.

The comeback was suitable for a lineup crippled by injury: a three-run seventh inning built upon three walks, a seeing-eye single and a sacrifice fly. Before that, LeMahieu got the scoring started with a double in the sixth, while Jonathan Loaisiga held the fort after Sabathia faltered.

The Yankees’ offense looked dormant through five innings and were held hitless through four, while Andrelton Simmons tagged Sabathia for a pair of solo homers to build the Angels’ early lead. The Halos pushed across three more runs after an error by Sanchez extended the inning and set up a Kole Calhoun three-run bomb.

The Bombers, who didn’t get their first hit until a Gleyber Torres single in the fifth, finally broke through in the sixth, and it all started with an infield single by Tyler Wade. The struggling LeMahieu followed with a liner down the left field line, good for an RBI double to put the Yankees on the board.

Luke Voit followed with a looper over second base to send LeMahieu to third and put runners at the corners with nobody out. Voit, who also walked in the first, continued his on-base streak by reaching safely for the 35th consecutive game.

The Yanks made their best attempt at an epic RISP-fail when Brett Gardner popped out and Sanchez struck out for the third time. A passed ball, however, snuck under the glove of Jonathan Lucroy and allowed LeMahieu to score, cutting the Angels’ lead to three.

The team then “walked” themselves into another rally in the seventh, as a pair of walks by Mike Ford and Mike Tauchman sandwiched around a single by Gio Urshela loaded the bases with nobody out.

Luis Garcia, who had completely lost the plate, walked the number nine hitter in Wade on four pitches to force in a run. Now facing Ty Buttrey, LeMahieu launched a sacrifice fly to left center to score Urshela and advance both remaining runners to second and third. Voit appeared to rip into a rally-breaking grounder to short, but Tauchman, dashing for home, slid in just before Lucroy’s tag to tie the game, sparking a spirited reaction from the Sock Man.

The Yankees could have taken the lead, but sometimes, Mike Trout happens, among other weird things. Gardner smashed a rocket to deep center that had a two-RBI triple written all over it. But Trout, sprinting backwards, made an unbelievable catch over his head to rob Gardner and send the runners back to first and second.

One of those runners was Wade, who got back to second safely and briefly lifted his foot of the bag as Simmons, who fielded a relay throw from Trout, slapped a tag on Wade and immediately signaled to the dugout to challenge the play. Wade, who at first glance appeared to be standing safely on second for a good five seconds, indeed took his foot off the bag just as Simmons snuck behind and applied the tag. It was weird, it was frustrating, it was the ole Derek Jeter/Joe Girardi special.

The ninth didn’t start well for the Yankees. Tauchman crushed a deep drive to left, but Kole Calhoun made a fantastic leaping catch at the wall for the second out, leaving the bases empty. Wade, seeking redemption, followed with a single to right and stole second to set the table for LeMahieu. The infielder punched a single to right to give the Yankees their first lead of the game. That was LeMahieu’s third RBI of the night, who seemed to have sufficiently broken out of his slump.

Aroldis Chapman came on for the ninth and put the tying run on with one out, but retired the next two to leave Trout on deck, completing an improbable comeback. The Yankees’ lovable pack of unknowns have now won eight of their last nine games. Go figure.

Box Score