After homering earlier on Friday night, Giancarlo Stanton singled in the game-winning run in the bottom of the 11th inning, giving the Yankees a 4-3 walk-off win. The Bombers got another good start from Néstor Cortes Jr. and overcame an extra-inning deficit for their second victory in a row.
If you like quick, fast-paced play, the first three and a half innings were for you. Working quickly, Cortes cruised through his first four innings, surrendering only two singles and a walk while striking out six batters. Unfortunately, Baltimore starting pitcher John Means was just as good, if not better. Also pitching like he had late dinner reservations, Means retired 12 of the first 13 Yankees he faced, allowing only a walk to the second batter he faced, Joey Gallo.
The volume ratcheted up pretty quickly, however, with two outs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Means threw an 83-mph changeup down and away in the zone to Stanton – which is to say, a pretty good pitch. So good in fact, that he was out in front of it and got the ball a little off the end of the bat. This means, if you’re Giancarlo Stanton, the ball only goes 424 feet over the left-center-field wall:
When it landed, the Yankees had themselves a 1-0 lead.
After Cortes put another goose egg on the board, Means decided to do the Yankees a favor: with one out, he issued a walk to number eight batter Rougned Odor, he of the 90 OPS+. Yankees catcher Gary Sánchez followed with a bloop single into center field, 68.5 mph off the bat that will certainly look like a line drive in the box score. Regardless of how it was hit, Odor advanced to third and scored shortly thereafter on a sacrifice fly from DJ LeMahieu. When the fifth inning ended, the Yankees had a 2-0 lead.
Cortes dug himself a little bit of a hole by walking Ryan Mountcastle, the leadoff batter in the top of the sixth inning. Fortunately, Cortes induced a 4-6-3 ground ball double play from the next batter, Austin Hays. The double play featured a nice turn and perfect footwork from a fresh-off-the-IL Gleyber Torres at the second base bag to put two outs on the board.
The double play turned out to be timely as well, as Trey Mancini followed with a moon shot into the left-field stands for a solo home run. That ended the night for Cortes, but once again, he gave the Yankees another good start with a final line of 5.2 innings pitched with seven strikeouts and only the one earned run. Jonathan Loáisiga came on in relief and ended the inning by striking out Orioles’ third baseman Ramón Urías.
It didn’t go as well for Loáisiga in the top of the seventh, though. Former Yankees prospect Jorge Mateo hit a 359-foot drive down the left-field line off a Loáisiga changeup. It was the first long ball allowed by the bullpen ace since May 7th. When it landed in the seats, the game was tied at two runs apiece, heading into the seventh-inning stretch.
The game remained knotted at 2-2 through nine as Chad Green, Aroldis Chapman, and the various anonymous Orioles relievers exchanged zeroes. With the “ghost runner” in play in extras though, it wouldn’t be tied for much longer. Baltimore right fielder Ryan Mountcastle struck a one-out single into left field off Wandy Peralta, scoring pinch-runner Ryan McKenna and giving the Orioles a 3-2 lead.
The Yankees, who if nothing else love their drama, came right back in their half of the 10th. A LeMahieu single to right field scored another pinch-running ghost runner — Tyler Wade — to tie the score at three runs apiece. DJ’s hit was right to Santander, who fielded it cleanly and unleashed a good throw, but Wade just outran the baseball and came up with a slick slide to boot:
Apparently deciding that there had been enough drama, the Yankees ended it quickly in the bottom of the 11th after a relatively clean frame from Clay Holmes. Leading off against O’s reliever Dillon Tate, Stanton delivered a single up the middle to score Aaron Judge, giving the Yankees a 4-3 victory:
It wasn’t the tidiest W, but it’s a W nonetheless. The walk-off hit from Stanton marked the second win in a row for the Yankees and gave them a little more space in the Wild Card race between them and the Oakland A’s, who lost earlier in a bullpen collapse against the Blue Jays. Boston beat Cleveland and Tampa Bay took down Minnesota to each hold serve.
Jordan Montgomery gets the ball tomorrow against Chris Ellis as the Yankees go for their third in a row. First pitch is at 1:05pm ET in the Bronx.