Just under 24 hours ago, Andrew Benintendi was getting ready to travel with the Royals for a four-game series in Yankee Stadium. He still made the trip, but he did so to bat leadoff in his Yankees debut against his former team. The Yanks wasted no time throwing him right into the mix.
A game that was supposed to be about the Yankees’ newest acquisition turned into a coming-out party for another Royals pitcher, tonight’s starter Brady Singer. An overall strikeout fest ensued that few would have expected in a Jameson Taillon-Brady Singer duel, but in the end, Aaron Judge stole the show. The MVP front-runner belted another walk-off home run, though there was a reason why the entire offensive production for the Yankees tonight can be summed up in that one sentence. This was an old-fashioned pitchers’ duel all the way.
The Singer/Taillon starting pitcher matchup combined for 18 punchouts on 13 innings in a quiet night for both offenses. It was ultimately left to the bullpens to determine who was going to blink first and cough up the lead.
The Yankees have not been at their best as of late, and they faced a starter that has been at his best, coming off a career-high 12-strikeout outing in his last start. Singer had his way against this powerful Yankees lineup like he was just pitching just another game. Signs of the night that was ahead of us came very early on, when Singer struck Benintendi out on three pitches in the first, finishing him off with a sinker that ran back at the inside part of the plate.
The blueprint for Singer was the same that it has been through this successful run of starts, sinkers for called strikes (he earned 20 of them on the night), and sliders for whiffs, specifically back-foot sliders to the left-handed batters and low and away to righties.
Singer wrapped up his night with seven innings of shutout ball, allowing only one hit. He earned 10 punchouts to only a single walk, and the Royals needed all of it, as he left the game with the score tied at 0-0.
On the other side of the hill, Taillon came into this ballgame needing a good outing to re-establish his confidence, and what better team to face than the Royals coming off 18 innings without scoring a single run? The Yankees starter battled through some traffic in the first three innings, as Gleyber Torres extended the opening frame with an error and the Royals managed to get an extra-base hit with less than two outs in both the second and third inning. However, each and every single time, Taillon got out of it.
Taillon’s outing ultimately is overshadowed a bit by Singer’s masterful performance, but he kept the Yankees in the game as well, with eight strikeouts over six frames allowing four hits, but no earned runs.
Ron Marinaccio pitched 1.2 innings fresh off the IL a couple of days ago, and he gave the Yankees some length tonight. He followed Taillon with two clean innings, and Clay Holmes kept things scoreless in the top of the ninth.
The Royals sent out their best reliever in Scott Barlow for a ninth appearance against the top of the Yankees order, and although Benintendi wasn’t able to reach base, Judge must have feeling his taste for the walk-off home run. The Yankees’ MVP candidate hit his third walk-off bomb of the season, and gave the team a win.
Next up, the Yankees send out their ace Gerrit Cole for the second game of this series, and the Royals counter with Kris Bubic. First pitch is tomorrow night at the same time, 7:05pm ET.