So. It turns out Yankees games are a ton of fun to watch and recap when the bats are hitting everything under then sun. The offense absolutely poured it on the Athletics. To paraphrase the late great Yogi Berra, it got late really early in Oakland tonight. The Bronx Bombers jumped out to an early lead and cruised to the finish line.
Tonight started quietly, though it did not stay that way for long. In the top half of the first, the Yankees managed a baserunner on an absolute laser off the bat of Aaron Judge, 110-mph into center field. But that was all the traffic New York managed. When Oakland’s turn came around, they didn’t even achieve that, as Jameson Taillon retired them in order on three ground balls.
New York’s offense perked up in the second. After a one-out Josh Donaldson walk, Oswaldo Cabrera flared a single into left field, putting two runners on for All-Star catcher Jose Trevino, who promptly walked to load the bases, the first of many times that happened tonight. After a visit from the Oakland pitching coach, Isiah Kiner-Falefa came to the dish with the sacks full of Yankees. And after a questionable ball on a 2-2 pitch ran the count full, IKF came through and drove a fastball back up the middle to plate Donaldson and Cabrera. 2-0 for the good guys.
Andrew Benintendi then drove a ball to center field to re-load the bases. After a rare Aaron Judge popup, only his sixth infield fly ball of the season, the newly returned Giancarlo Stanton came through in the clutch to plate two more runs and hang a serious crooked number on the Athletics. Oh — and it was 117.7-mph off the bat. That’ll play, Giancarlo.
117.7 mph exit velo— New York Yankees (@Yankees) August 26, 2022
Yeah, he's back. pic.twitter.com/GdTo5iPCDu
It irritatingly looked like Taillon was ready to give at least some of those runs back, allowing back-to-back singles to kick off the bottom of the second. But after winning a lengthy battle against Stephen Vogt with a popup to Donaldson at third, Jamo replicated the feat and popped Jonah Bride out to Anthony Rizzo at first. One ground ball later and Taillon had done his job. A shutdown inning, albeit a mildly annoying one. Considering how this game ended up, it feels like Taillon escaping this jam was an underrated turning point tonight.
After that shutdown second inning, the Yankees showed former draft pick James Kaprielian no mercy. Gleyber Torres walked to lead off the third and then Donaldson smashed a curveball into the gap in left center. Torres, on his horse the whole way, scored rather easily and extended the New York lead to five.
A walk to IKF, and once again the bases were full and Kaprielian was at 68 pitches through 2.1 innings. It sure felt like he was taking one for the team with three more full games to play in this series and a lot of outs remaining in this contest.
The Yankees kept coming, too. Benintendi, swinging a hot bat recently, drove a sacrifice fly out to left. A walk to Aaron Judge later and the bases were once again loaded, this time for Stanton. He walked and brought in the seventh Yankee run, mercifully ending Kaprielian’s night. He left having thrown 86 pitches, with the bases still loaded.
Kirby Snead came into the game for Oakland to try and put the fire out, but Rizzo had other plans. Smelling a base hit and RBI all the way, Rizzo busted it down the line on a ground ball to first. Snead was late covering and Rizzo got his knock and his ribbie. A Gleyber ground ball finally finished the inning and Kaprielian’s line … 2.2 innings, seven hits, six walks, eight runs. No home runs, but it turns out that going 5-for-9 with runners in scoring position is a great way to put runs on the board.
Still no mercy from the Yankees in the fourth. With Donaldson on first after his second knock of the night, Trevino laced a double into the right center field gap. Donaldson scored easily to put a ninth run on the board and give Trevino a ribbie.
The offense kept coming, too. Still in the fourth, with the bases loaded again … the 18th time already according to Michael Kay … Aaron Judge smashed a ground ball off Snead’s leg to officially put the Yankees in double digit runs. Meanwhile, in the fifth, Torres got off the schneid with a hard-hit single. That knock put every Yankee batter into the hit column on the night.
After a couple of innings without scoring runs, the offense came alive again in the seventh. With Rizzo and Torres on base, Donaldson hammered another double, this time to right center field. Two more runs on the board and 50 RBI on the season for Donaldson. Cabrera decided to get in on the fun with a double of his own that scored Donaldson. 13 runs on the board and the Yankees were 9-for-16 with RISP on the night.
As the Yankee bats bludgeoned Oakland pitching, Taillon continued his “bend, but don’t break” night. In the third, he once again allowing multiple base runners. Echoing the second inning, though, he once again escaped unscathed. But at 60 pitches through three frames, it looked like Jamo was not going deep into this one, especially with a rather large Yankee lead.
He came out in the fourth and retired Oakland in short order, however. In the fifth, Jamo induced three ground balls to IKF, putting himself in position to officially pick up the win. And at 89 pitches through five, he at least put himself in the conversation for who would pitch the sixth in this one.
Aaron Boone rewarded Jamo for his work and indeed sent him back out. After two quick outs, A’s designated hitter Shea Langeliers touched Taillon up for a solo dinger. If you’re gonna give up the long ball, surrendering a solo home run up 10 runs is the time to do it. That was all the damage Oakland would do to Taillon though as he finished the frame and his night. 6 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K. After Taillon escaped his mini-jam in the second, there was really never any suspense left in this one. Well done, all told.
Rookie reliever Greg Weissert made his major league debut for the Yankees in the seventh, and it was a bit of an ignominious one. The righty plunked the lead off man, balked, plunked the second batter of the frame, walked the bases loaded on four straight pitches, then walked in a run on a full-count wild pitch.
He managed to get one out, but honestly, this was the best possible time for a debut like that. Unfortunately for Weissert’s stat line, Lucas Luetge was unable to immediately stem the bleeding and the Athletics narrowed the gap to 13-4. In the dugout after Weissert came out of the game, de facto Yankee captain Aaron Judge made sure to sit down with the rookie and buoy his spirits. Leadership.
In the eighth inning, New York added injury to insult. Up nine runs with Yankees batters already drilling two Oakland pitchers with comebackers, pinch-hitter Kyle Higashioka smoked yet another ball up the middle. This time, it hit Oakland reliever Joel Payamps on the inside of the leg, knocking him out of the game.
That prompted Oakland to resort to sending a position player, third baseman Sheldon Neuse, out to pitch. Neuse masterfully used his 43-mph “slider” (at least according to YES) to befuddle the Bronx Bombers, retiring all five batsmen he faced in the eighth and ninth innings.
This one was a lot of fun, folks. 10/10 would recommend that the Yankees play like this all the time. They have a chance to do exactly that tomorrow night, with Gerrit Cole facing off against former Yankee prospect JP Sears. First pitch at 9:40 pm EDT.