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Yankees 5, Rangers 4: Baby Bombers catalyze the Yanks’ 99th win

Oswald Peraza and Oswaldo Cabrera each went deep to propel the Yankees in the doubleheader opener.

MLB: Game One-New York Yankees at Texas Rangers
Oswald Peraza’s first career homer
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

It’s always fun to watch young players succeed in their initial chances in the big leagues. And with Oswaldo Cabrera and Oswald Peraza both swinging pretty hot sticks lately, there have been plenty of chances for fans to see these Baby Bombers make the most of their opportunities as the regular season winds down. Today was no different, and each were indispensable to the Yankees’ 5-4 victory in the first half of a twin bill in Arlington — No. 99 on the year.

As always, these days, Yankee road games begin with the Aaron Judge Watch. Today though, it did not last long. Judge jumped on a first-pitch fastball from Jon Gray, rolled over it, and grounded out harmlessly to shortstop. Womp womp.

All was not lost, however. With two outs in the inning, Cabrera smoked a Gray slider 378 feet into the left field seats. His solo dinger continued a nice little stretch for the Wizard of Oswaldo, as he came into today hitting .294 with a .976 OPS in his last 15 games.

Cabrera’s fifth homer since mid-September made the score 1-0, Yankees.

New York flashed some leather in the bottom half of the first. After Isiah Kiner-Falefa snagged a 101.5-mph liner off the bat of Marcus Semien, Marwin Gonzalez said “hold my beer.” Corey Seager smashed a ball into the right center field gap, 107 mph off the lumber. Gonzalez ranged to his left, dove for the ball, and robbed Seager.

Unfortunately, the Yankees’ luck for the inning ran out at that point. Taillon gave up a single to Nathaniel Lowe and plunked Adolis García. Then, Josh Jung singled into right field to easily plate Lowe, but lackadaisical defense from Gonzalez allowed García to cross the plate without a play. Texas had a 2-1 lead and then managed to load the bases, but Taillon escaped without any more damage. Considering Jamo’s 4.35 ERA and elevated walk rate (8 BB/31 IP) in the first throughout 2022, it’s perhaps not surprising that Texas touched him up.

The top of the second saw a milestone home run, albeit not the one everyone perhaps expected. With the count sitting 1-0, Peraza, the much-heralded rookie prospect for the Yanks, unloaded on a hanging slider from Gray.

Three hundred ninety-four feet later, the ball landed in the left field bleachers, the game was tied at two, and Peraza had his first home run in the bigs (the first of many, we all hope). Peraza’s blast also marked the first time since 2018 that two Yankees, age 23 or younger, went deep in the same game, per Jon Morosi.

Peraza continued his fantastic game in the fifth inning. First, he rapped a leadoff single, his second knock of the contest. He immediately stole second after getting a monstrous jump. Finally, the rookie scored easily on a Gonzalez single, showing off his easy wheels and giving the Yankees a 3-2 lead.

The fifth ended with another anticlimactic Judge AB, with the slugger popping out on the infield and aggressively shoving his helmet back into the dugout rack afterward. Perhaps feeling the pressure of chasing 62, Judge’s frustration is becoming more evident as he misses more hittable pitches while the season nears its end with him still one shy of sole possession of the record.

The Yankees’ lead did not last long. With Seager at third and one out in the bottom of the fifth, García demolished a Taillon offering to left field, giving Texas back the lead and giving García 100 RBI on the season. Tuesday afternoon was not Jamo’s finest start of the season, but if ever there were a time for mediocrity, it’s after you’ve clinched the division and a first round bye.

The Yankees were not done, however. Leading off the eighth inning, Kyle Higashioka hammered a home run to center field, tying the game up at four runs apiece. Moreover, Higgy continued his very good play of late. Coming into today, he’d put together an .846 OPS since the calendar turned to September. Dingers help with OPS.

On the heels of that homer, Judge rapped a solid single into right center, getting him on the board and inching him closer to Luis Arraez and the AL batting title lead. Anthony Rizzo, as is his wont, then got plunked to put runners on first and second. Cabrera followed with a sac bunt that moved Rizzo and Judge to second and third. Harrison Bader, batting cleanup, brought Judge in with a solid single to left field to put the Yankees in front once more.

Aaron Boone went to Greg Weissert, the 29th man for today, to try and get through the eighth on the heels of a clean seventh by Aroldis Chapman. Weissert did his part, retiring the Rangers in order, sending this to the ninth.

Higashioka, up with two out and no one on in the ninth, worked a clutch walk to bring You Know Who back to the plate for the fifth time on the day. Alas, Judge’s day ended the way it started, with the slugger rolling over the first pitch of the at bat resulting in a ground ball to shortstop.

Jonathan Loáisiga came on to close out the game, and after allowing a leadoff single, came back to end it and earn the save thanks to a gift double play on a line drive to Gonzalez with a runner on second base.

Take a breath everyone. These two teams are back it in a few hours, with Gerrit Cole making his final start of the regular season against opener Jesús Tinoco. New York will be looking for the club’s 100th win. Judge is already confirmed to be back in the outfield tonight, as the chase for 62 continues. First pitch is scheduled for 8:05pm ET.

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