For a brief moment, it appeared the Yankees had snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. Yet just as quickly as they had seemed to finesse a dramatic win over their division rivals did the Rays flip the script. A solid James Paxton start and Edwin Encarnacion’s late-game heroics were all for naught after a blown save by Aroldis Chapman and a stunning three-homer game from Travis d’Arnaud left the Yankees with a deflating 5-4 loss in the Bronx.
Winner of the Game
This was Encarnacion’s biggest game as a Yankee. He got the team on the board with a solo shot in the fourth, and came through with a huge two-run homer that looked like it would win the game in the bottom of eighth. It was a dramatic, triumphant smash into the left-field bleachers, one that left little doubt about its destination from the moment it met Encarnacion’s bat:
Parrot wants another walk pic.twitter.com/vkzutTHEoL— New York Yankees (@Yankees) July 16, 2019
Elsewhere, Paxton continued his trend of getting hit in the first inning and then settling down. He allowed a d’Arnaud solo homer to lead off the game, but from there, the only other blemish on his line was another solo shot from d’Arnaud in the third. He finished with six strong innings, striking out seven compared to two walks. Not his best, but Paxton appears to be settling into a solid groove.
Loser of the Game
Well, there wouldn’t seem to be much work to do here other than to write down Chapman’s name after allowing three runs in the ninth. In truth, the Yankees’ closer did get a little unlucky. Kevin Kiermaier’s leadoff single was very poorly hit, and according to Statcast, d’Arnaud’s back-breaking game-winning homer had just a 16-percent chance of going for a hit. That being said, Chapman had chances to put the game away, and he didn’t get the job done. He bears his fair share of responsibility for this frustrating loss.