After two consecutive stale performances, the Yankees needed a clinical showing to get the momentum headed back in the right direction. And that’s exactly what they got on both sides of the ball, with Gerrit Cole providing another vintage outing and production coming from up and down the lineup. Even though the Yankees have clinched a playoff berth, they need to continue turning in complete performances like this one to finish the regular season on a strong note, as it appears seeding will come down to the wire
The Yankees wasted no time opening their account, scoring two in the top of the first. Aaron Judge singled down the left field line, and was driven in on an Aaron Hicks RBI triple. Hicks later scored on a wild pitch to Luke Voit.
1st Inning in review:— New York Yankees (@Yankees) September 22, 2020
The Yankees added another run in the top of the fourth. After Gleyber Torres kept the inning alive with a two-strike double into the right-center field gap, Gio Urshela brought him home with an RBI-single lined the opposite way.
The Bombers really blew the game open in the fifth. They created traffic via Kyle Higashioka’s one-out single and DJ LeMahieu reaching on a hit by pitch. Judge singled on a hanging slider to plate Higgy, moving DJ to third and knocking Tanner Roark out of the game. Hicks promptly singled DJ and Judge (who had taken second on the throw to third) home. The two run hit just glanced off the glove of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. at first and trickled into right. Hicks then stole second as Luke Voit struck out swinging, and was driven home by a Gleyber Torres RBI single past Bo Bichette’s outstretched arm. By the time the dust had settled, the Yankees had increased their lead to 7-1.
Things got weird as the game took an unexpected turn into the Twilight Zone in the eighth inning. In the top half, Urshela roped a two-out liner to left that Lourdes Gurriel Jr. appeared to lose sight of. The ball bounded over his head and to the wall, with Urshela somehow being awarded a double. After Clint Frazier walked and Brett Gardner singled Urshela home, Higgy crushed a line drive to left-center field. It was originally given as a home run, but was then reviewed and inexplicably reversed to a double even though the broadcast clearly showed the ball bouncing off the yellow line and hitting a blue tarp beyond the wall. Bizarre.
More confusion ensued in the bottom of the inning, as Tyler Lyons came on to pitch in relief. However, he apparently wasn’t on the lineup card and was forced to depart the field, leaving the Yankees scrambling to warm Zack Britton up. Strange happenings folks.
The Yankees added two more garbage time runs in the ninth on a Judge single, Mike Tauchman walk, Torres RBI single through the hole on right side of the infield plating Judge, and an Urshela RBI infield single off Wilmer Font’s rear end, plating Tauchman. That was Urshela’s fourth hit of the game as it appears he is in a groove after his brief IL stint.
In what will probably be Cole’s final start of the regular season, the Yankees’ ace turned in another fabulous outing. He showed once again that he doesn’t need to strike out every batter to still dominate the opposition lineup. The lone damage came on a fourth inning Cavan Biggio solo shot, as the Jays’ youngster was impressively able to get his hands extended on a Cole fastball on the outer half and drive it the opposite way. This start drops Cole below the three-ERA mark on the year, and his final line of a 2.84 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, and 94 strikeouts in 73 innings is exactly what the Yankees signed up for.
Zack Britton and Adam Ottavino pitched 1-2-3 innings in the eighth and ninth respectively. This was the most depth I can recall seeing on Britton’s sinker this year, and Otto’s slider was the sharpest it’s been all season, both encouraging signs as the Yankees push for the playoffs. A final interesting fact about this game: this is only the second time this season the Yankees have won a game without hitting a home run, the other instance coming in the 2-1 walk-off over the Orioles.
The Yankees have to keep it rolling, as they are neck-and-neck with the Twins for the fourth seed - and home field advantage - in the first round of the playoffs. Join us in the game thread as Masahiro Tanaka takes on Robbie Ray. First pitch is scheduled for 6:37 PM.