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Yankees 7, Reds 4: Judge and Rizzo run rampant in extra innings

The big bats were just that in a 10-inning victory.

New York Yankees v Cincinnati Reds Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

After tough opponents in the Rays and Blue Jays, the Yankees came into Cincinnati really needing a sweep. I don’t mean to disrespect the Reds, but they’re just not on the level, and if the Yankees want to pull themselves out of fourth place, they need to really beat up on teams like this. Fortunately, they’ve done just that in the first two games of this series, following up last night’s win with a 7-4 victory, albeit one that took 10 innings.

It certainly wasn’t easy, with more evidence that the Jhony Brito experiment may not be panning out. Whether it was the opener helping him against Toronto on Monday or not, Brito was significantly worse in his second turn this week. The righty did strike out six in four innings of work, but he also walked four, with three in a disastrous third inning. In fact, of the four runs Brito allowed two of them reached on walks. Matt McLain walked in the first, advanced to second on a balk, and came around on Jake Fraley’s single.

Come the third, Brito actually got the first two outs in the frame, but three consecutive free passes loaded the bases. Spencer Steer was able to get a ball in play to bring a run in, and although that was the only hit of the inning, if Brito had better command, it may never have happened.

Fortunately, Ben Rortvedt made the most of his first start with the Yankees. The big catcher had two hits in his season debut, and was driven in twice by the captain:

Aaron Judge reached base five times on the day (notching his seventh career four-hit game), with that RBI single and another run-scoring double. That two-bagger came in the big fifth inning, where Isiah Kiner-Falefa kicked off the comeback with his second home run in five days:

No, IKF is not suddenly a power threat, but it is more than likely he’s a better player than his 50 wRC+ entering play today. If he can get closer to that 85ish mark he’s had for his career, that’s a whole bunch of more runs created than we’ve seen from this lineup. It doesn’t make him a top-of-the-order hitter, but the jump from bad to average, or even slightly below average, counts for a lot.

Rortvedt had another single and was brought around on Judge’s aforementioned double. Anthony Rizzo tied the game at four with a single, but Judge was hosed at the plate on a very questionable send from third.

After that, we were deadlocked. Ron Marinaccio and Michael King both worked strong outings, picking up a combined four innings of shutout ball after Brito was hooked after the fourth. Each allowed a single baserunner and struck out a trio of Reds, and after Marinaccio scuffled a bit in his past few outings, it was good to get him such a clean run today.

Unfortunately after that big fifth inning, the club couldn’t get any offense going until extras, where it all kind of happened at once. The Yankees have been very bad at extra-innings games on the road over the past few seasons, but for today at least those demons were exorcised. Gleyber Torres moved pinch-runner/newest Yankee Greg Allen over with a fly ball, before the team’s two best hitters did their thing:

Rizzo now has consecutive days with huge home runs, pacing the team to their second-straight series win. Ryan Weber pitched a clean ninth to become the seventh different Yankees pitcher with a save in 2023.

New York can now turn their attention to that much-needed sweep tomorrow — what a way for Luis Severino to debut this year, incidentally. The righty is back from his bum lat issues, and will get the ball in Sunday’s early morning affair. The game starts at 11:35am Eastern, and is exclusively on Peacock.

Box Score