The first-place Yankees had two off days in our latest week of the 2020 season, and they came back from the first rest day with a bang, scoring six runs in the first three innings of a series opener against the Pirates, and aside from a no-show effort against the Red Sox in the middle game of a three-game set later that week, the offense kept up its productive effort to put forth another successful week, capped by a miraculous comeback versus their rivals.
The Bombers tagged Mitch Keller in that opening game against Pittsburgh in the Bronx, and despite some early trouble from Gerrit Cole, the bullpen tandem of J.A. Happ, Chad Green and Aroldis Chapman combined to toss four shutout innings to secure an 8-5 victory. Cole surrendered nine hits in five innings against his former team, lifting his season ERA to 3.83. Perhaps the ace is still adjusting to his new surroundings?
Despite Cole’s struggles, the bats bailed him out, particularly Aaron Judge and DJ LeMahieu, who each picked up two hits including home runs. Gio Urshela went 3-for-5 in the leadoff spot, and at the bottom of the lineup, Aaron Hicks went 2-for-5 with a pair of doubles. The badly struggling Giancarlo Stanton also helped himself with a solo homer.
The Yankees’ bullpen, so effective in game one, faltered in the series finale to settle for a split with the Pirates following a 7-5 defeat. The Yanks had a 5-2 lead heading into the ninth inning, but Chapman was knocked around for three runs to send the game to the 10th, where the Pirates got to Adam Ottavino and Chad Green for two runs.
The Yankees did their damage in the seventh with a four-run inning, highlighted by another homer from Stanton, and a two-run double by Urshela, who lifted his batting average over .325.
After another day off, the Yankees began their series against Boston in style, running out to a 9-0 lead in the series opener and grabbing a 9-3 victory. James Paxton was masterful, tossing 7.1 shutout innings while striking out eight and dropping his ERA to 2.54. Chad Green struggled in garbage time, but it didn’t matter. The lead was a cozy one thanks to another multi-hit game from Urshela, home runs by LeMahieu, Hicks and Luke Voit, and a pair of doubles by Stanton, who is heating up by the second.
Stanton and the Yankees were cooled off by Chris Sale in game two, losing 2-0 in 10 innings after a fantastic pitcher’s duel between Sale and Masahiro Tanaka, the latter throwing 6.1 shutout innings before Green blinked in the 10th, surrendering a two-run homer to Dustin Pedroia, who apparently found the knee brace that Batman uses in The Dark Knight Rises to still be able to play.
The Yankees appeared destined for a series loss in the finale the next day, falling behind 10-0 by the fifth inning, but remember that game at Fenway in 2012 when the Yanks trailed 9-0 after five and came all the way back? Well, get ready for the sequel.
After Jordan Montgomery was shelled, the Yankees chipped away with a run in the fifth, then another in the sixth, then poured on six runs in the seventh to pull within two. The comeback was completed in the eighth with three runs to take an 11-10 lead, which Chapman closed out to complete an unbelievable rally.
The offense for the Yanks? That would be Stanton, who went 3-for-5 with two doubles and a home run. Urshela also went yard, part of yet another multi-hit day to raise his batting average to .331. Guess 2019 wasn’t a fluke!
LeMahieu also picked up two hits, and is clearly gunning for his second career batting title. He’s hitting .347 as of May 10, and has helped the Yanks close out the week a full game ahead of Toronto for first place. New York has won seven of its last 10.