At this point, I’m wondering if there’s anything Matt Carpenter can’t do. The man just cannot stop bashing home runs, as a pair tonight took his season total to 13 through just 30 games. His seven RBI, plus a multi-homer game from Aaron Judge and a stellar bounce-back pitching performance by Jameson Taillon powered the Yankees to a comprehensive victory over the Red Sox, 14-1.
Taillon took to the mound looking to halt the Yankees’ skid and turn around his own fortunes after pitching to a 8.57 ERA across his previous four outings. He apparently didn’t get the memo that Rafael Devers is A) very good at baseball and B) is hitting every ball that Yankees pitchers throw in the zone out of the park, because he grooved a middle-middle curveball first pitch that Devers blasted out to right to give the Red Sox the early 1-0 lead.
The Yankees got right to work in the bottom half against a shaky looking Nick Pivetta. They loaded the bases with one out thanks to a Judge single, an Anthony Rizzo double, and a Giancarlo Stanton walk. Josh Donaldson tied the game with a soft RBI groundout, instantly dispelling fears of a repeat of last night, when the Yankees failed to score a run with the bases loaded in both the ninth and tenth innings.
That was just an appetizer for the main course: a mammoth three-run bomb to right from Carpenter to cash in the work of the players ahead of him in getting on base. It was his 12th home run in 88 plate appearances as a Yankee, which works out to a better than one home run per 7.5 PA clip, and more importantly, it gave New York a 4-1 lead.
Taillon settled in after that nervy first inning, retiring the next 17 batters faced after Xander Bogaerts’ one-out single in the first. He struck out the side in the second and in general was much sharper at commanding his pitches to the edges of the zone.
It was a little surprising to see Taillon pulled after just 79 pitches, given the effortless nature with which he was carving through the Red Sox lineup. However, I also understand getting a quality start in the books after his recent rocky stretch to carry him through the break and hopefully into the second half. Taillon’s final line: six innings, two hits, one run, and five strikeouts on 79 pitches.
It certainly helps to pitch with a lead, and the Yankees hitters made sure that would stay the case all game. Judge led off the fifth with his 32nd home run of the year to extend the Yankees’ lead to 5-1.
As it turns out, that was again just a prelude for more fireworks from Carpenter. Rizzo and Stanton reached on a single and double respectively, allowing Carpenter to blast his second three-run home run of the game, this one a wall-scraping Yankee Stadium short porch special to make it 8-1, Yankees.
Apparently, Judge was in no mood for being outdone tonight. He blasted his second home run of the game the next inning — a two-run shot to left after DJ LeMahieu led off with a walk. And as if to say “anything you can do I can do better,” to Carpenter, this final blast went a whopping 444 feet into the visitors’ bullpen, giving the Yankees another double-digit offensive eruption, 10-1.
Judge has now tied franchise single-season home run king Roger Maris for most homers before the All-Star break in Yankees history with 33.
The Bombers had one final outburst up their sleeve in the eighth. Carpenter walked with the bases loaded for his seventh RBI of the night, becoming the first Yankee since Joe DiMaggio in 1940 with multiple seven-RBI games in a season. He also is the second hitter in the modern era with to slug over 1.000 through his first 20 starts in a season after Barry Bonds. Isiah Kiner-Falefa wrapped up the scoring with a two-run single to truly add insult to injury, 14-1.
Also, congratulations to now-Scranton Shuttle veteran Ryan Weber, who pitched a scoreless final three innings to pick up his first career big league save.
This is exactly how you respond to a frustrating loss in the first game of the series, and just the kind of win you want to snap a mini-skid. The Yankees will go for the series victory tomorrow afternoon in the first-half finale with Gerrit Cole set to face Chris Sale. First pitch is scheduled for 1:35pm ET, so be sure to join us in the game thread.