Young Reds starter Hunter Greene had some nasty stuff early on Sunday morning in Cincinnati, but the Yankees made their four hits against him count. Homers from Harrison Bader and Gleyber Torres put New York ahead, and the Bombers won Luis Severino’s much-anticipated season debut, 4-1. The W secured a series sweep that was a little chippy at times, but bumped the Yankees up to a 14-6 record in May.
Aaron Judge’s day off started chaotically for the Yankees. Manager Aaron Boone was tossed before noon and bench coach Carlos Mendoza found himself holding the lineup card before the end of the first inning.
Boone got the fireworks started early after Jake Bauers’ odd play in the right-field corner. Bauers slid but couldn’t make the catch near the line with the ball clearly hitting his glove in fair territory. The ball was called foul on the field, so Bauers took his time dusting himself off and tossing the ball in. You can’t really blame him because the the play was dead once the first-base umpire Nestor Ceja made the call.
The umpiring crew surmised that Jonathan India would’ve scored had the ball been correctly called fair and assessed the run for Cincinnati after a challenge. India started the play on first base so the run wasn’t automatic had the ball been called fair on the field. Did Boone have a late morning tee time with Paul O’Neill? Perhaps. Did he have a point? Absolutely.
It looked to be a pretty quick hook for Boone, and noted Ump Show enthusiast Brian O’Nora made a production of tearing off his hat and tossing the Yankee manager. O’Nora called an awful game behind the plate Friday night and both sides rightfully let him hear it. It’s all speculation, but he tossed Boone with the urgency and conviction of a man settling a score.
As noted earlier, Greene sliced and diced the Yankee lineup through his first four innings, facing the minimum. He touched 100 mph, peppering fastballs at the top of the zone with his other offerings complementing. He threw a couple of excellent sliders that made the Yankees potent left-handed bats look foolish. It was interesting to see how Severino and Greene profile similarly, especially with respect to their fastball command and slider shapes. Greene flashed a much-improved changeup, too, and Sevy threw several nasty ones in his own right.
Severino was understandably a little rusty with his fastball command the first time through the order but his secondary stuff looked sharp. He fanned five batters and got through the first 4.2 frames without further incident.
Sevy’s velo topped out at 99 mph in the third and fourth — encouraging signs for his first start healthy. A Luke Maile single knocked him out of the game, but with his pitch count exactly at 75, he got the job done in his temporarily limited capacity and coming an out shy of qualifying for the win. Albert Abreu stranded Maile, inducing an India groundout to close Sevy’s line.
The Yankees got on the board in the fifth after the score held at 1-0. After a Willie Calhoun walk, Harrison Bader teed off on a hanging changeup for a two-run homer and a 2-1 Yankees lead.
Greene bounced back nicely to retire the side and K’d two to put him at seven punchouts through five innings. The next damage came in the top of the sixth via another long ball when Gleyber Torres flexed his opposite-field power.
Abreu followed with a scoreless sixth. That’s three straight scoreless outings for Abreu, who bridged the middle innings after Sevy’s limited pitch count today.
Anthony Volpe got in on the action in the seventh with an RBI double after a Greg Allen pinch-ran for Jake Bauers and stole second. With fatigue setting in, Greene hung a slider and Volpe hammered it. The Reds’ starter finished his day strong, striking out Kiner-Falefa after seven innings, ten strikeouts, and four earned runs. In Greene’s career so far, the stuff is as tantalizing as the results are mixed.
Ascending bullpen piece Jimmy Cordero came in to retire the Reds in order in a nine-pitch seventh. Wandy Peralta coaxed three groundouts in a ho-hum eighth inning.
Reds’ manager David Bell took exception to Peralta attempting a quick pitch and got tossed. After a turbulent weekend, both teams can agree they’re ready to get away from this umpiring crew.
Clay Holmes loaded the bases in the ninth with two singles and a walk. Despite the drama, he ended the game on a harmless tapper back to the mound.
Other notes include Anthony Rizzo dialing up a hat trick, striking out thrice, but he found a serendipitous infield hit In his fourth at-bat. Almost everything went Rizzo’s way in Cincinnati. DJ LeMahieu shined with the leather Sunday, making a pair of fine plays to rob Reds hitters.
The game featured ten 10 hits and clocked in at just under two and a half hours. All in all, not bad for a brunch affair.
The Yankees are back in action on Tuesday at Yankee Stadium, where Gerrit Cole will get the ball against the Baltimore Orioles’ Kyle Bradish at 7:05 pm EDT.