For the second straight game, the New York Yankees held the Arizona Diamondbacks to just three runs. For the second straight game though, the Yankees’ offense couldn’t get big hits when it needed to, and the team dropped the game by a score of 3-2.
The Yankees were facing 30-year-old rookie Merrill Kelly, and that could have gone one of two ways: the Yankees could succumb to a pitcher they’d never seen before, or they could have jumped him and made him pay for his inexperience.
Despite some early baserunners, Kelly mostly shut down the Yankees. A Luke Voit double play erased a Brett Gardner leadoff single in the first, and Tyler Wade couldn’t come through in the second after Gio Urshela doubled and moved to third on an error.
The missed opportunities bit the Yankees in the second inning. Christian Walker singled on a hanging slider, Ketel Marte doubled, and then Nick Ahmed doubled him home to start off the frame. Tanaka struck out the next two batters, but threw a wild pitch with the pitcher batting, which plated another run for Arizona. Thanks to some missed spots by Tanaka, it was 2-0 Diamondbacks after two innings.
Marte continued his hot hitting in the fourth inning, absolutely demolishing a 91 mph fastball 450 feet deep into the seats. Tanaka has now allowed five home runs in has last four starts, and has not been as sharp as he was earlier this season. For the Yankees to keep up their success, they’ll need Tanaka to get back on track. Three runs on five hits in four innings isn’t going to get the job done.
The Yankees threatened a bit in the fifth inning, putting runners on the corners with two outs. They lifted Tanaka for pinch hitter Mike Ford, who walked, loading the bases for Gardner. Unfortunately, Gardner grounded out to first, leaving the bases loaded and letting Kelly off the hook.
After Luis Cessa pitched a clean fifth inning, the Yankees finally broke through in the sixth. Voit took Kelly deep to left, extending his on-base streak to 41 games and cutting the deficit to two runs. Gleyber Torres doubled soon after, extending his hit streak to eight games, and sending Kelly to the showers. Yoshihisa Hirano came in to pitch and stranded Torres, holding the 3-1 Diamondbacks lead.
Aaron Boone was ejected in the seventh inning for arguing whether or not a ball hit Tyler Wade’s foot, after having previously argued a force play at second base. Boone’s outburst, while entertaining and encouraging to see, did little to spark the Yankees bats. They stranded another runner on first base in the seventh inning, and continued to trail 3-1 heading into the seventh inning stretch.
Tommy Kahnle picked up where Cessa left off in terms of shutting down Arizona in the seventh, and the Yankees again had a golden chance to strike in the eighth. After a Voit leadoff walk and a Gary Sanchez single, Gleyber Torres strode to the plate as the go-ahead run with no men out. After Torres hit into a double play, it looked like it would be one of those innings again.
Instead, Mike Tauchman laced a two-out single into left field to score Voit and make it a one-run ballgame. Finally, the Yankees had shown some fight.
Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. Although Cameron Maybin reached in the ninth as the tying run, neither Austin Romine nor Brett Gardner could score him, ending the game. Although Tanaka struggled, the bullpen held steady. At the end of the day, the Yankees have nothing to blame but their own bats for this loss.
The Yankees will have the day off tomorrow to return back to the Bronx before starting a seven-game homestand. They’ll start things off against the Minnesota Twins on Friday night, when James Paxton will face off against Kyle Gibson in the best pitching matchup of the series.