This team won’t quit. The Yankees trailed for most of the evening — even through a rain delay — but that didn’t stop them. A big ninth inning led by Gio Urshela and DJ LeMahieu sealed the Bombers’ third straight win, this one a walk-off!
Masahiro Tanaka had to grind to get through Tuesday night’s game. After a quick first inning, he started the second by walking Domingo Santana on a borderline pitch — one that could have easily been called strike three. Jay Bruce doubled right after, putting Tanaka in an early jam with runners on second and third.
Tim Beckham followed with a groundball to third, beginning a run-down that Urshela and Gary Sanchez executed perfectly to tag Santana. While they recorded that out, Jay Bruce advanced to third in Santana’s place. The borderline pitch eventually came back to haunt the Yankees after a Ryon Healy sacrifice fly to Brett Gardner brought in Bruce for the first run of the game.
Things got interesting for Tanaka in the top of the fourth. With one out and Edwin Encarnacion on first base, Bruce hit a fly ball that should have been caught right between outfielders Gardner and Clint Frazier. No harm came from the blunder that was officially recorded a single, as Tanaka got the next two outs on a fly ball and popout.
As soon as the rain started to come down during the top of the sixth, so too arrived an Edwin Encarnacion home run, giving the Mariners a 2-1 lead. That makes this the fifth consecutive game Tanaka has now allowed a home run. The only games Tanaka didn’t allow a long ball were his first two starts against the Baltimore Orioles and Detroit Tigers.
Tanaka didn’t get much luck again on another fly ball towards Fraizer’s direction as he was able to get glove on the ball but not enough. A lead off out to the right fielder, turned into a runner on second base with no outs to start the seventh. Right before the grounds crew called for the tarp, Tanaka struck out Ryon Healy looking at an inside slider.
Overall, Tanaka allowed two runs over 6.1 innings pitched. He didn’t have his best stuff, or even his good stuff really, but he kept the Yankees in it. Here’s hoping he can right the ship soon.
As for the Yankees’ offense, they put themselves on the board in the bottom of the third thanks to a lead off double by Urshela. Cameron Maybin movesd Urshela over on a fly ball to right fielder Bruce. and Brett Gardner finished the job hitting the ball to the second baseman Dee Gordon. It appeared that Gordon might throw home since the infield was in, but Urshela was going all the way to tie the score at one.
During the bottom of the fifth, Beckham tried to make a running play, but Maybin just had too much speed and found himself safe at first with two outs. On a throw to first base that got away, Maybin easily reached second, but took he chanced making it to third and was thrown out to end the threat.
As the rain began to pour, the Yankees looked like they might be getting something started in the bottom of the sixth LeMahieu walked on eight pitches, and Luke Voit reached on a hit by pitch that got all Yankee fans worrying for a few seconds. Nothing came of it after a Sanchez infield fly, and an Andujar grounder that saw Voit get tagged out as he tried to advance to second.
After a long rain delay — it lasted about an hour and a half — baseball action stared up again with Jonathan Holder replacing Tanaka. Pinch-hitter Omar Narvaez hit a weak popup to LeMahieu. who tossed to Torres for the double play on Beckham, who strayed too far from second. Frazier’s fielding error from more than an hour before got nullified by a baserunning error.
To begin the bottom of the seventh, Frazier hit a ball to right field which Bruce was able to get to quickly enough to hold him to a single. Torres came up after and blooped in a single in front of the center fielder. It looked like the Yankees could tie the game, but unfortunately they didn’t. Urshela hit a grounder to Gordon that he tossed to second, dragging shortstop Beckham into an area where Torres was able to break up the double play with a take out slide. Nevertheless, the rally-killing double play was inevitable this inning as Maybin banged into one to end it.
Following Holder’s departure, rain began again and Tommy Kahnle came out for the bottom of the eight. With one out and a full count on Mitch Haniger, the Mariners outfielder was able to shoot a grounder through the right side against the shift for his first hit of the game. A rare misplay from Urshela allowed Daniel Vogelbach to reach on an E5. With one out and runners on first and second, Encarnacion comes up but broke his bat on a fly ball to Maybin. Santana then singled on a grounder to double the lead. Shortly after, Bruce got a double that happened to be right over Urshela’s head.
Once again the Yankees started what could have been a rally with walks to Gardner and LeMahieu to begin the bottom of the eight. Voit grounded to third but the Mariners weren’t able to turn the double play; Gardner advanced to third and Voit reached safely. Gary Sanchez then came up empty, whiffing on three changeups to quickly bring Miguel Andujar up to bat. As Andujar fell behind 0-2, Brennan throws a changeup for a wild pitch and Gardner scored to make the game to 4-2.
Joseph Harvey was brought in to keep the game close in the top of the ninth, and he allowed a few groundball hits to make things a little nerve-racking. Healy found a hole singling to the left side, and Gordon found a hole to the right. With runners on first and third and one out, Gordon wasted no time stealing second base. Things worked swimmingly, though, as a groundball out and strike out ended the inning without damage.
With former Yankee Anthony Swarzak in to close the game, Torres brought the Bombers back to life with a single to center field. After getting so many opportunities to score the previous two innings, the Yankees finally cashed in with Urshela tying the game on a two-run home to straight center field! It turned into a brand new ball game at 4-4 with the Yankees now having the ability to walk it off.
With one out, Maybin got a groundball single to Bruce, forcing the Mariners to bring in Roenis Elias. Maybin stole second on a pitch that got away from Narvaez. After Gardner struck out, the last hope was LeMahieu. On the second pitch of the at bat LeMahieu lined a hit to right field, scoring Maybin and winning the ball game.
The third game of the series takes place later tonight. Jonathan Loaisiga will face off against Yusei Kikuchi.