The Yankees beat the Oakland A’s in thrilling fashion once again on a sunny Father’s Day in the Bronx, 2-1 taking the three-game series from the AL West leaders in the process. Jordan Montgomery, a clutch bullpen outing, another big hit from Gary Sánchez, and yes – another triple play – ended the weekend on one of the highest notes of the season.
Matt Olson, continuing to insist upon hitting the ball very far at Yankee Stadium, got the scoring started in the first inning. A 91.4-mph four-seam fastball out of Montgomery’s hand was re-directed by Olson’s bat at 107.1 mph and over the center-field wall 425 feet away. When it landed, the Athletics had themselves a 1-0 lead.
If you’re a fan of pitching duels, you would have liked what came next, as Oakland starting pitcher Sean Manaea and Montgomery (with some help from Jonathan Loaisiga) traded zeros through the next five innings. The combined pitching was so dominant that between Olson’s home run and the bottom of the sixth, 37 batters came to the plate and only 4 managed to hit the ball with an exit velocity of 100 mph or better.
However, the Yankees broke through in the bottom of the sixth when Manaea finally lost a little of his command. Clint Frazier drew a full-count walk to lead off the frame, and after a strikeout of DJ LeMahieu and a Manaea balk to advance Frazier to second, Aaron Judge followed with one of his own. With one out and runners on first and second bases, Gary Sánchez — one of only a few Yankees to manage good swings against Manaea on the day — lined a sinker all the way to the right-center field wall, scoring both Frazier and Judge.
Sánchez avoided yet another Yankee costly baserunning error in a season full of them when A’s third baseman Matt Chapman lost his balance receiving a throw that beat the advancing Sánchez by 10 feet. The misplay on Chapman’s part allowed Sánchez to reach safely and allowed the Yankees and their fans to breathe again. The team wasn’t able to capitalize further, but when the dust settled, the sixth inning ended with the Yankees leading 2-1.
In the A’s half of the eighth, matters became interesting in the uncomfortable sense — as they often do when a fly ball is hit in the vicinity of Frazier. With Yankee reliever Lucas Luetge in the game and one out, Chapman hit a long fly to deep left-center field that appeared to most people watching to be catchable. Frazier didn’t play the ball particularly well, and after it ricocheted off the wall and rolled a bit, Chapman ended up at third base, placing the tying run 90 feet away with the scariest guy in gray, green, and gold at the plate (that would be Matt Olson if you’re just joining us). Luetge responded in a big way, as he has throughout this season, and got the Yankees back in the dugout with a strikeout of Olson and an uneventful flyout to Frazier.
Aroldis Chapman came on in the ninth inning to close the door on the weekend, Yankee fans were standing, and Frank Sinatra was cued on the PA system. But after two consecutive walks on a combined nine pitches (seven of which were breaking balls) to lead off the ninth inning, the situation became disconcerting in a hurry. So much so that manager Aaron Boone came out with the trainer and an interpreter to be sure Chapman was not injured. Boone’s demeanor certainly didn’t make anyone feel better as he still appeared concerned when he left the mound, leaving Chapman in the game.
Sinatra started singing moments later when Chapman induced a ground ball to third base from Sean Murphy. As all Yankee fans know, the best strategy when in trouble, is to get the other team to hit the ball to Gio Urshela. That strategy worked again as Urshela started a thrilling, game-ending 5-4-3 triple play to end the game.
Just ending the game on our daily triple play ♂️ pic.twitter.com/Hwt7C8hRqj— New York Yankees (@Yankees) June 20, 2021
Somehow, that’s the Yankees’ third triple play of the season already.
The Yankees (and us fans) get the day off tomorrow to catch our collective breaths. The fun starts again Tuesday night when the Yankees will host the Kansas City Royals. First pitch is at 7:05 pm Eastern.