The Yankees entered their Sunday matinee against the Mariners having already endured another COVID-19 gut punch from Anthony Rizzo’s diagnosis. Unfortunately, they weren’t able to rally for their new teammate or complete the four-game sweep of Seattle, losing a frustrating one for their offense, 2-0.
Luis Gil made his second career start, and his second pitch of the day was scorched into center field. It looked like it could have fallen for a double, but Jonathan Davis was able to cover a lot of ground to snag it. Gil then struck out Mitch Haniger and Kyle Seager to pick up right where he left off against Baltimore.
In the Yankees’ side of the first, DJ LeMahieu struck out, and then Seager snagged a sharp grounder from Aaron Judge to steal a double down the line from him. Joey Gallo was able to work a walk on a full count, but Seager struck again to lunge and grab another sharp grounder by Giancarlo Stanton to end the inning.
In the second, Gil quickly fanned Ty France before Jarred Kelenic continued his success this series with a single. Then in a bizarre play, Cal Raleigh hit a ground ball that the newly-returned Luke Voit dove to catch, but when he threw to second, neither Rougned Odor nor Gleyber Torres were covering, leading the ball to sail into the outfield while Kelenic advanced to third.
Gil then walked Jake Fraley to load the bases with one out and nearly walked Dylan Moore, but he battled back from a 3-0 count to get a strikeout looking on a borderline pitch. Jake Bauers followed with a ground ball that Voit had to go far to his right to snare, but he dove to hit first base with his glove just in time to end the inning:
A Torres double was all the Yankees could muster in the second, though Mariners outfielders Fraley and Kelenic had to grab hard line drives by Odor and Kyle Higashioka to keep the game scoreless.
Gil would respond with a zero in the third, working around a Haniger single and France walk. In the bottom half, the Yankees would load the bases on a LeMahieu single, Judge walk, and Stanton hit-by-pitch, but Voit struck out while looking overmatched or confused by the All-Star Yusei Kikuchi to end their first real scoring threat.
Gil would finally get a clean and quick inning in the fourth, and the Yankees would follow up in the bottom half with a Torres single and stolen base, but no more. Torres appeared to hurt his left wrist or hand when he slid into the base, but stayed in until being replaced at shortstop in the eighth by Tyler Wade. (During the postgame, manager Aaron Boone said that Torres would get an MRI on his thumb, and the team is concerned about it. So that’s ominous.)
With his pitch count entering the nineties in the fifth, Gil was clearly in his last inning, and he made it through in tidy fashion, finishing with five scoreless frames and eight strikeouts. While he could have had quicker and more efficient innings, those numbers are more than what could be expected for a rookie pitcher making his second career start.
Voit evidently needs some games to get his timing back — in the fifth, he seemed uncomfortable against Kikuchi again and popped up with Gallo and Stanton on base to end another scoring opportunity.
Wandy Peralta entered in the sixth for the Yankees and pitched a scoreless inning, working around a Seager single (that likely would have been a double if it hadn’t been for the threat of Aaron Judge’s arm) by starting a nice double play off a ball from France.
Kikuchi departed in the sixth and was replaced by right-hander Casey Sadler, but Sadler would get pulled himself. He retired only one batter and allowed a Torres single before plunking Odor on the foot. After Brett Gardner was announced as the pinch-hitter for Davis, manager Scott Servais brought in Paul Sewald. Gardner battled, but struck out on a slider out of the zone. LeMahieu then followed with a swinging strikeout of his own to end another scoring opportunity. Sewald struck out Judge and Gallo and got Stanton to ground out weakly to first base in the seventh as well.
Stephen Ridings came in to pitch the seventh and followed Gil’s pattern by continuing his own electric New York debut, getting three swinging strikeouts to keep the game at 0-0.
Boone called upon Lucas Luetge for the eighth inning, and the afternoon finally saw its first runs. Abraham Toro hit a ground ball to Odor at third, who booted it for an error. Haniger walked, and then Seager launched a ground-rule double into right field that was just beyond Judge’s reach, scoring one run. Kelenic struck out on what looked like ball four (and got himself and Servais thrown out for arguing), then Raleigh hit a single to left to bring in one more run. It was originally a two-run hit, but Seager was called out at home after a replay review on the strong throw by Gallo.
The Yankees went down in the blink of an eye against Drew Steckenrider in the eighth. Albert Abreu pitched the top of the ninth and worked around two walks to keep the deficit to two runs, but Steckenrider was able to work around a ninth-inning single by Gardner to close the game and avoid a sweep.
The Yankees will begin a three-game series in Kansas City against the Royals on Monday at 8:10pm EST. Jameson Taillon will pitch for the Yankees, with Carlos Hernández starting for the Royals.