It could’ve been a night to remember. Down to their last out, the Yankees put up four runs in the ninth to take a stunning 8-7 lead, but White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson had other ideas. He reclaimed the memorable night in Chicago’s name by launching a monster home run off Zack Britton into the right-field corn, walking it off as as the White Sox won the first-ever Field of Dreams Game over the Yankees, 9-8.
Trailing 7-4 coming into the bottom of the ninth, the Yankees had the unenviable task of trying to rally off of All-Star closer Liam Hendriks. Fortunately, Hendriks has been on the receiving end of many Yankees highlights, and tonight proved to be no exception. With Tyler Wade on first thanks to a leadoff single, Aaron Judge brought the Yankees within one run with a two-run shot, his second of the game.
ALL RISE AGAIN!— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) August 13, 2021
Aaron Judge with his 2nd HR of the night to make it a 1-run game! pic.twitter.com/S64IJRXmuK
Joey Gallo worked a walk to keep the team alive, and then Giancarlo Stanton decided to join in on the home run fest with a monster shot of his own.
Maybe this is heaven… pic.twitter.com/X01NOCIAi6— New York Yankees (@Yankees) August 13, 2021
It was a big hit for the Yankees’ DH, who had slumped through much of July but has been on a hot streak since the calendar flipped to August. For a streaky hitter like Stanton, a big hit like this could go a long way toward getting him on a true hot streak, and having both Judge and Stanton hitting is an integral part of the Yankees’ attempt to climb out of their hole.
Unfortunately, although those big hits still count, backup closer Zack Britton continued his rough season by immediately imploding. After getting pinch-hitter Danny Mendick to ground out to first base, he proceeded to walk catcher Seby Zavala — a 27-year-old rookie only playing because starting catcher Yasmani Grandal has been on the IL since early July with a torn tendon in his knee — in a non-competitive at-bat to bring the go-ahead runner to the plate. Anderson then took Britton deep on the first pitch he saw to walk it off.
The ninth-inning back-and-forth was necessary thanks to another terrible outing by starter Andrew Heaney, who has now given up 15 runs on 15 hits in 15 innings as a member of the Yankees. Eight of those hits have left the yard, leading to a ghastly 4.8 HR/9. After his first two starts in pinstripes, we began to get an understanding of what “The Andrew Heaney Experience” looks like: He makes a few really good pitches and notches a few strikeouts that make you see why GM Brian Cashman took a chance on him, but he gives up moonshots like he’s trying to feed up meatballs to Pete Alonso at the Home Run Derby.
Tonight, we got more of the same. After retiring Tim Anderson and Cèsar Hernández in the first inning, Heaney gave up a long home run to José Abreu that soared into the left-field corn, allowing the White Sox to jump out to an early 1-0 lead. He retired the side in the second, striking out Yoán Moncada and Andrew Vaughn in the process.
Given a two-run lead in the top of the third, the wheels immediately fell off. After walking the number eight batter, Adam Engel, to start off the inning — although, to be fair, Engel has a 133 OPS+, so it’s not as egregious as it sounds — he surrendered a one-out RBI double to Anderson. A strikeout of Hernández and a walk to Abreu put runners on first and second with two outs. Then Eloy Jiménez drilled his fifth homer in five games, knocking down some stalks of corn in right field to give the White Sox a 5-3 lead.
The following inning, Heaney continued to mix together good and bad things. After retiring Vaughn to lead off the inning, Luis Robert doubled, and then advanced to third when Engel grounded out to DJ LeMahieu. Just when it looked like Heaney might get out of trouble, however, Zavala — who, to remind you, is only playing because Grandal is injured — popped it into the right-field corn, extending Chicago’s lead to 7-3.
In the end, Heaney’s final line comes out to seven runs on five hits in five innings, along with five walks, three strikeouts, and, of course, a trio of dingers. The only positive I could say about his night is that he at least ate innings, but I can’t, as he only went five. Gerrit, Jordan, Sevy, Corey, and even Domingo, please come back soon. Ease our pain.
Just like this was a quintessential Heaney start, for most of the night, this was also a perfect example of a performance from the Yankees offense. After LeMahieu led off the first inning with a single to ensure that he will be uttered at bar trivia nights for a generation (he had the first hit in both London and Iowa), White Sox starter Lance Lynn retired eight in a row, until LeMahieu broke that streak by working a two-out walk in the third. Brett Gardner followed that up with a single to put runners on first and second for Judge, who revealed to the world that his jurisdiction does in fact extend to the state of Iowa:
ALL RISE IN IOWA!— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) August 13, 2021
Aaron Judge puts the Yankees on top! pic.twitter.com/KUDskJXfP7
It was an absolutely titanic blast, but unfortunately Statcast’s Hawk-Eye system was not set up at the field, so we do not have the Statcast data that we all love to share about our very large power hitters’ homers.
Like the Cy Young candidate that he is, Lynn buckled down, retiring Joey Gallo to end the inning, then setting the Yankees down in order in the fourth and the fifth. Gardner broke that streak by depositing a 1-0 pitch into the right-field corn, his fifth home run of the year, bringing the Yankees to within three runs.
Gardy goes (corn) Yardy. pic.twitter.com/ytcvNs975c— New York Yankees (@Yankees) August 13, 2021
Judge then reached on an E6 and Gallo walked to chase Lynn from the game, replaced by former top prospect and current relief ace Michael Kopech. Immediately, Stanton dribbled a soft ground ball to the left side of the infield that required a great play by Anderson to nab him at first, as the runners advanced to second and third. Luke Voit and Rougned Odor, however, proceeded to strike out to end the threat.
Kopech came back out for the seventh, and with one out, the Yankees began to get to him. Wade reached first on a one-out bunt single; he would then steal second, although that would become irrelevant when LeMahieu worked a walk. The lefty Aaron Bummer then induced a groundball off the bat of Gardner, who reached on a fielder’s choice after beating out the double play. Judge walked to load bases, but the White Sox defense played Gallo perfectly, as Anderson nabbed a one-hopper up the middle to keep the score at 7-4.
Trade deadline acquisition and All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel kept the Yankees quiet in the eighth, striking out two and allowing only one baserunner on a walk. To their credit, Wandy Peralta and Joely Rodríguez combined for three scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and one walk while striking out four. They kept the Yankees within striking distance throughout the night, though they were of course let down by their bullpenmate Britton later on.
For those who weren’t watching, some good news: We had a Gerrit Cole sighting! He talked to the FOX broadcast crew early in the game, talking about his bout with the virus. His sense of humor does seem to be intact — he joked that the Yankees “have a variant named after us, the Yankees Variant” — and he looks to be ready to get back into the rotation in the upcoming days.
Despite giving up four runs and blowing the lead, Hendriks gets credit with the win and shows why it is such a meaningless stat, while Britton gets tagged with the loss. The Yankees dropped to 63-52 and remain one game back in the loss column behind the Red Sox and move into a virtual tie with the Blue Jays. The two teams will have tomorrow off in order to travel back to Chicago, where the series resumes on Saturday night at 7:10pm ET. Jameson Taillon gets the start for the Bombers, up against Dylan Cease.