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Yankees 4, Guardians 3: Late comeback gives Boone-less Yankees series win

The Yankees’ offense and bullpen overcame early controversy and another shaky start from Clarke Schmidt.

MLB: New York Yankees at Cleveland Guardians Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

This one sure began with a jolt. One would hope Aaron Boone knew what he was going to say in today’s post-game presser, because he had a whole lot of time to think about it after getting tossed in the first inning on Wednesday afternoon. Josh Naylor, your celebration might be dumb, but for just a moment, you were all of us.

Why did this happen, you may ask? There’s a charitable answer that involves umpires having difficulty navigating yet another new set of replay regulations. There’s a less charitable answer that, before more details were provided, makes it seem as if umpires quite literally went against their own rules for the sake of bailing themselves out of a bad call. Take your pick, but it all started on this play:

The play was initially ruled a catch, even though it pretty clearly wasn’t, even in real time. Although the Guardians did not appear to challenge the call within the required time slot, the umpires huddled and ultimately overturned the call. Although it’s since been reported that the Guardians did in fact challenge the call, at the time, it appeared that a replay on the stadium scoreboard is what prompted the umpiring crew to reconsider. The result?

However you might feel about today’s edition of the Ump Show, fortunately, it wasn’t a total game-changer. The play scored Steven Kwan, who had reached on a leadoff single, and moved José Ramírez to third base, where he subsequently scored on a Josh Bell single.

It made for another shaky entrance for Clarke Schmidt, but he reined things in adequately after that, holding Cleveland to just one more run — an Amed Rosario roundtripper — in another three innings before turning it over to the pen. He walked one and struck out three, making for his longest outing of the young season.

The Yankees offense, meanwhile, was held largely punchless by Peyton Battenfield in his first appearance on a big league mound. Anthony Volpe seemed to take to the top of the lineup well with a leadoff double, but Battenfield settled down from there. He cruised through four scoreless innings until the bottom of the order started seeing the ball better their second time up, ultimately driving him from the game with one out in the fifth inning after the Yankees scored two via a trio of consecutive singles from Oswaldo Cabrera, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, and Kyle Higashioka.

The score remained there for just another two innings, until Franchy Cordero continued his rapid self-endearment to the Bronx faithful with his fourth homer in just his seventh game with the team, this time to knot things up at three.

Two more innings later, and the Yankees offense kept chipping away, accomplishing what the vast majority of the league has largely been unable to do and sticking two extra-base hits (and, consequentially, the go-ahead run) on all-world closer Emmanuel Clase in the ninth inning.

The versatile Cabrera continued to see his stick heat up with the game-winning RBI:

Cleveland’s lineup isn’t exactly a juggernaut, but the Yankees bullpen did an admirable job keeping them in check following Schmidt’s departure from the game, with Ron Marinaccio, Michael King, Wandy Peralta (who picked up his first win of 2023), and Clay Holmes shutting the door with five scoreless innings to end the game.

Holmes did teeter on the edge of disaster for just a moment, issuing two walks and loading the bases in the bottom half of the ninth with that aforementioned one-run lead. Ultimately, however, he was able to retire Rosario with a filthy 2-2 slider to secure the win.

Now 8-4 and simply waiting for Tampa Bay to fall back to earth, the Yankees are back in action tomorrow evening in the Bronx when the Minnesota Twins come to town. First pitch is at 7:10 pm EDT, and the scheduled starters are youngsters Joe Ryan and Jhony Brito. See you there!

Box Score