The Yankees outlasted the White Sox on Saturday night in Chicago, beating the Pale Hose in 10 innings, 7-5. The Bombers were able to overcome another gut-wrenching blown save from their bullpen by living up to their moniker, getting a combined three home runs and seven RBI from Aaron Judge and Joey Gallo.
The Yankees got off to a quick start against White Sox starter Dylan Cease in the top of the first inning. DJ LeMahieu led off the game with a double deep down the right-field line, advanced to third base on a fly ball from Brett Gardner, and then scored on a sacrifice fly from Judge. Gallo followed shortly thereafter with his second home run as a Yankee, a 354-foot pitching wedge down the right-field line. When it landed over the wall, it counted just as much as a mammoth blast and the Yankees had themselves a 2-0 lead.
The White Sox got one of the runs back pretty quickly in the bottom of the first when, after a Tim Anderson single and José Abreu double, Eloy Jiménez got himself an RBI on a groundout to second base. When Anderson crossed the plate, the Yankees’ lead had been cut in half as the game moved to the second inning.
In the bottom of the second, Yankees starting pitcher Jameson Taillon induced two popups: a soft fly ball and one very hard-hit fly ball — 108.5 mph off the bat of Luis Robert to be exact. When it landed over the center-field wall 438 feet away, the Yankees’ lead was gone.
In the top of the third, the Yankees took the lead right back when after a Gardner triple, Judge lined a Cease fastball on the outside edge 104.8 mph down the right-field line for a two-out RBI double, giving the Yankees a 3-2 lead. The White Sox saw to it that the Yankees’ second lead didn’t last as long as their first, however, as a Cèsar Hernández single, an Abreu double, and a Jiménez sacrifice fly tied the game at three runs apiece. Truth be told, the Yankees and Taillon were fortunate to escape with minimal damage, as the Jiménez drive only led to a single run due to a great running catch by Gardner.
With the game still tied at three runs apiece, Yankee fans were responsible for many Google searches of cardiologists in the bottom of the sixth inning. After Lucas Luetge came on in relief of Taillon, Jonathan Loaisiga relieved Luetge and entered a bases-loaded, one-out situation to face Chicago pinch-hitter Andrew Vaughn. Loaisiga threw a “buzzsaw” sinker (per David Cone’s word on the YES broadcast) that broke Vaughn’s bat and induced a grounder to third and a force out at home plate. Then with two outs and the bases still loaded, Loaisiga got Zack Collins to fly out to deep left-center field, which Gardner corralled to end the threat and to allow Yankee fans everywhere to exhale.
With Craig Kimbrel on in relief for the White Sox to start the eighth inning, Aaron Judge led off the frame with a line drive to center field at a mere 17-degree launch angle. What made this particular line drive with modest expectations interesting is that Judge struck it at 114.3 mph, and in 4.1 seconds, it traveled over the center-field wall, 421 feet away from home plate. When its flight was stopped, the Yankees led once again.
The 4-3 lead held until there were two outs and nobody on base in the bottom of the ninth, when Chad Green spun a cement-mixer curveball on a 3-2 count to reigning MVP Jose Abreu. A crushing 415 feet later, the Yankees once again had snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, and the game moved on to extra innings with the teams tied 4-4.
Of course, this wouldn’t be the 2021 Yankees if our collective emotions didn’t alternate between despondence and elation on a regular basis. Judge drove in “ghost runner” Gardner with his third hit and fourth RBI of the night to get the lead back, and Joey Gallo followed with a monster drive down the right-field line for his second home run of the night, making the score 7-4 Yankees.
With Zack Britton on in relief in the 10th, Yankee fans everywhere watched their knuckles turn white, as two walks sandwiched around an RBI single by Robert made the score 7-5 and left a bases-loaded, one-out situation for Albert Abreu. The rookie managed to coax a soft lineout from pinch-hitter Seby Zavala and induced a groundball fielder’s choice from the Thursday Yankee killer Anderson to mercifully end the game.
The collective exhale will only last so long, though. The win sets up a rubber game of the three-game set tomorrow afternoon, when Nestor Cortes Jr. will be on the mound for the Yankees against Lucas Giolio. First pitch is at 2:10 pm ET.