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Yankees 2, Guardians 3: Bullpen can’t hold lead after Germán’s gem

Germán was dominant for 8.1 innings, but things got very dumb after that.

Cleveland Guardians v New York Yankees Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

When you think of near no-hitters, the ones that come to mind are usually the ones broken up in the ninth inning. Think the Mike Mussina near-perfect game in Fenway Park in 2001. This particular outing from Domingo Germán was close to one, but not in that way. Other that a first-inning hit, Germán then mowed down the Guardians’ lineup. He eventually allowed a second while going for a complete-game shutout in the top of the ninth. After that, things got dumb.

The bullpen—Clay Holmes in particular—melted down, not only losing the shutout but the lead the Yankees had as well. The now fully Aaron Judge-less lineup had no answer as the the Guardians came away with a 3-2 win.

The Yankees got on the board in the third inning, thanks to a long ball. It had been a couple days since the Yankees last home run, with Jose Trevino’s shot last Thursday being the most recent. However, Trevino himself ended that streak, hitting a 425-foot blast:

A couple batters later, an Anthony Rizzo walk and a Gleyber Torres single kept the inning alive. That would allow the Yankees to score another run when DJ LeMahieu added a single of his own. The offense didn’t do really anything else of note after that, meaning the lead stayed at just two runs going into the late innings. That ended up mattering.

Meanwhile, Germán just kept motoring along. After Amed Rosario singled in the Guardians’ second at-bat of the game, Germán proceeded to retire 23 of Cleveland’s next 24 hitters. The only blemish in that time was a fifth-inning walk to Josh Bell. That too was no big deal, as Germán got the next three outs without Bell even moving into scoring position.

At only just 82 pitches through eight innings, Germán was brought back out to go for a complete-game shutout and also the Maddux. If you aren’t aware, a Maddux is a complete-game shutout where the pitcher throws under 100 pitches. The last Yankee to do it was Masahiro Tanaka in a start in 2017.

After getting a strikeout, Steven Kwan picked up a single. At that point, the tying run was at the plate, and Aaron Boone decided to not mess around too much and went to the bullpen. Fans were a bit upset at the move and booed Boone as he came out to make the change. When the dust eventually settled, Germán’s final line was one run allowed one one hit and one walk in 8.1 innings.

Clay Holmes came in and he got a Rosario to hit a grounder, but Holmes couldn’t field it cleanly, getting the Yankees into a tougher spot. José Ramírez then added a single, loading the bases with still just one out. Josh Naylor singled past a diving Torres, bringing home two runs to tie the game.

Boone then went back to the bullpen after Holmes had blown the save. He brought in Wandy Peralta, who loaded the bases with a walk. After getting one out, Peralta walked Mike Zunino, giving Cleveland the lead after all that.

The game also flew by and — going into the top of the ninth — it had a chance to be the shortest one since 2008. Alas, that changed quickly considering all the dumb stuff that went down. Emmanuel Clase took care of business in the Yankees’ half of the ninth to secure the loss as the boos rained down on Aaron Hicks following a K for the final out.

Debate what you want. Blame whoever you want. This game will go high on the list of stupidest games of the 2023 Yankees’ season.

The Yankees will now try and get back on the horse tomorrow night in game two of this series. Gerrit Cole will take the hill as the Yankees try to win for the first time since Cole last started (Thursday), while Cleveland will counter with rookie Tanner Bibee. First pitch is at 7:05pm ET.

Box Score