The Yankees sure like doubleheaders, don’t they? The Bombers notched wins in both ends of Thursday’s two-for-one deal. Just like earlier, the second game featured powerful hitting, quality pitching, and and of course an injury. Through it all, New York took home the win against the Tigers by a score of 6-4.
After scoring 10 runs in game one of the doubleheader, the Yankees didn’t waste any time getting on the board in the second half. DJ LeMahieu got things started in the first inning by lacing a single off Tigers right-hander Spencer Turnbull. That brought Aaron Judge to the plate, who deposited a two-run homer to right field. Judge’s 22nd home run on the season put the Yankees ahead 2-0.
The Bombers struck twice more against Turnbull. In the second inning, LeMahieu doubled with Mike Ford on first base. Ford, never known as a speedster, ran on all cylinders to score. Then, in the fifth inning, Tyler Wade crushed a ground-rule double to start the frame. LeMahieu and Judge both struck out, but Didi Gregorius ripped a single into left field that Brandon Dixon misplayed. Wade scored and Gregorius found himself on third base, with the Yankees’ leading 4-2.
Gio Urshela put the nail in the coffin in the ninth inning, when he launched a pinch-hit, two-run home run. Urshela’s 20th home run of 2019 made it a 6-2 ballgame. Yes, Urshela hit 20 home runs this season. It’s hard to believe, but that doesn’t make it any less cool.
On the pitching side, the story of the game was the tandem of CC Sabathia and Domingo German. Sabathia’s first start back from the injured list proved mostly successful. He took care of business through three innings of work, but looked gassed in the fourth. That’s when he allowed two runs to score on a walk, single, and double with just one out. Getting three solid frames from Sabathia every now and then would go a long way to keeping other pitchers fresh, so I’ll take this appearance as a positive.
German, meanwhile, looked strong in his four innings of work. He allowed just two hits and struck out five. The right-hander got into trouble with one out in the eighth inning, however, allowing a single to Harold Castro and drilling Jeimer Candelario in the ribs. That jam forced German from the game, but Tommy Kahnle came in, induced a double play, and ended the threat.
Kahnle returned for the ninth inning, but he only recorded one out. He allowed a run to score and left a man at third base for Aroldis Chapman. The Yankees closer served up an RBI single, but finished off the game otherwise.
Of course, the Yankees can’t have a game without someone getting injured. In the third inning, Gary Sanchez attempted to steal second with two outs and Brett Gardner at the plate. Sanchez got thrown out, but that proved inconsequential in the grand scheme of things. The bad news is that the catcher departed from the game in the fourth inning with what’s described as groin tightness. On a day that also saw injuries to Edwin Encarnacion and J.A. Happ, this stood out as especially troubling.
With tonight’s doubleheader sweep, the Yankees’ magic number to clinch the AL East drops to six. The Rays and Rangers are playing right now, so it could theoretically fall to five before night’s end. If not, the Yankees get another chance to lower it tomorrow night in Toronto.