The Yankees will have a happy flight home after closing out a 10-game road trip with a 2-0 win over the Texas Rangers in Arlington this afternoon. Domingo Germán led the way with seven shutout innings, while Chad Green and Aroldis Chapman chipped in with a shutout inning each to seal the win. The Yankees’ offense managed to overcome a good start from the Rangers’ Dane Dunning, and some more mind-numbingly poor baserunning on their own part, with two key pinch hits — one from Gio Urshela, one from Aaron Judge — to give them the only runs they’d need.
After two relatively non-descript innings of baseball, the Yankees showed some life in the top of the third. Mike Ford and Miguel Andújar led off the frame with back-to-back singles, offering up a first and second, nobody-out opportunity. Tyler Wade followed with a strikeout looking (but not before he fouled off a bunt attempt on a pitch that was anthill-high on the previous pitch), and then DJ LeMahieu ended the inning with a double play, keeping the Yankees in the hunt for most double plays hit into in one season.
It wasn’t the double play in and of itself that was noteworthy, however. It was Texas shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who after receiving a throw from first baseman Nate Lowe for a force-out at second, spun and threw to third base to pick off Ford, who had rounded third base just a bit too far. Injury added to insult resulted in a wasted opportunity.
The Rangers mounted their own threat in the bottom of the third when they got a one-out double from Willie Calhoun. Germán was able to navigate out of trouble, however, striking out Nick Solak then getting Lowe to fly out softly to center fielder Brett Gardner to end the inning.
The Yankees threatened again in the top of the fourth inning when Gardner led off with a 106.3-mph laser double that went 398 feet to right-center, his hardest-hit ball of the season. But after a Luke Voit foul out, a Rougned Odor strikeout looking, and a Gleyber Torres groundout, Gardner was left stranded. The sequence did raise the question: Is a player in the middle of a five-season stretch with a 77 OPS+ really the best a $207 million payroll team can do for the cleanup spot, even with a couple key players resting? Maybe $207 million doesn’t go as far as it once did.
Matters remained quiet with Germán and Dunning trading goose eggs on the scoreboard through six innings, but the Yankees struck first when Dunning departed in favor of reliever John King in the top of the seventh. After Odor was hit by a pitch, Gary Sánchez singled, and Urshela came off the bench to deliver a pinch-hit RBI single, giving the Yankees a 1-0 lead.
Aaron Judge then came off the bench to hit for Tyler Wade, and promptly delivered an RBI single of his own on a line drive up the middle, scoring Sánchez and giving the Yankees a 2-0 lead. Faces went into palms among Yankee fans seconds later, as Urshela was picked off of second base after rounding too far on Judge’s single. The 8-5-4 putout was another embarrassing out on the bases for the Yankees on a very long list of embarrassing outs on the bases this season.
In the top of the ninth inning, the Yankees threatened to add to their lead, when Urshela decided that neither the Yankees as a team nor he personally, could possibly run into too many outs on the base paths. After a ball got away from Texas catcher Jonah Heim, Urshela was not only thrown out trying to advance to third, but he managed to jam his hand into the spikes on third baseman Charlie Culberson’s cleat in the process.
Fortunately for the Yankees, Aroldis Chapman came on in the ninth inning and did Aroldis Chapman things, closing the game out for good by striking out pinch-hitter Khris Davis on a 102-mph fastball to end it. With that closure, the Yankees end the series with Texas having taken three of four, and head home with a 7-3 record on the road trip. Since April 21st, they’re 19-8.
The Yankees will take on the Chicago White Sox and their manager Tony LaRussa, the defender of all rules unwritten, tomorrow night in the Bronx. First pitch is at 7:05pm ET with Jordan Montgomery facing Carlos Rodón.