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Yankees 4, Guardians 3: A walk-off win to take a chaotic series

In a Yankees game filled with blunders and injuries, Willie Calhoun tied it in the ninth and Jose Trevino won it in extras.

Cleveland Guardians v New York Yankees Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

What an odd night in the Bronx. The Yankees got their second consecutive win and took the series against the Cleveland Guardians in Wednesday’s finale with a 4-3 victory at Yankee Stadium courtesy of Jose Trevino. The catcher came off the bench and knocked a clutch hit in the bottom of the 10th to walk it off. It was absolutely a bumpy ride for the Yankees to reach the ultimate destination, though.

The Guardians struck first in the opening inning, scoring two runs off Yankees starter Clarke Schmidt. Defense didn’t help matters, and as a result of an Anthony Rizzo error, both runs were unearned. Consecutive run-scoring singles by Josh Bell and Andrés Giménez plated the two runs.

Schmidt limited the damage after that, but even though he struck out four hitters in 4.1 frames, it was clearly difficult for him to put hitters away once he reached two strikes. He ended up conceding just the two unearned runs, so his ERA dropped to 5.83. He allowed six hits and two walks for too much traffic on the basepaths.

Fortunately for the Yankees, their bullpen did a wonderful job against the Guardians for the rest of the game (save for one unfortunate exception). There were incredible performances by Ian Hamilton, Jimmy Cordero, Ron Marinaccio and Albert Abreu, who scored the victory. The relief corps’ efficiency and effectiveness allowed the Yanks to get back into the game, and they did just that against a tough opponent in Shane Bieber.

Solo home runs by the suddenly surging Willie Calhoun and a finally-able-to-bat Jake Bauers tied the score in the bottom of the fifth.

The game would remain knotted at two runs apiece until the top of the ninth, although the Yankees had a prime chance to score in the eighth.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa singled to left field and then stole second base, putting himself in a prime spot to score. He advanced to third base on a Kyle Higashioka flyout, but made another baserunning blunder when Anthony Volpe grounded sharply to third: he took off to home plate on contact, with the infield in, and was called out on the play. Kiner-Falefa may have simply been told by the third-base coach to go on contact, but regardless of who made the call, it didn’t work.

In the top of the ninth, Marinaccio got the first two outs and then gave way to Clay Holmes, who has been stumbling a bit of late. Batted-ball luck wasn’t on his side.

First, a relatively soft fly ball that Kiner-Falefa couldn’t catch allowed Myles Straw to get himself into scoring position. Then, a bloop single by Oscar Gonzalez drove in Straw and put the game 3-2 for the visitors. The ball fell between three fielders, and Harrison Bader got the worst part of a collision and had to depart the game.

Manager Aaron Boone said after the game that Bader was “in good spirits” but that the Yankees will put him through tests to be sure. It’s better to be safe than sorry with potential head injuries.

The Yankees tied the game in the bottom of the ninth, thanks to a leadoff hit from Anthony Rizzo and an RBI single by Calhoun a few minutes later. Before that play, Oswald Peraza got hurt on a stolen base attempt and had to leave the game, too, with a leg injury. Yes, there had to be a pinch-runner for the pinch-runner because that’s the name of the game with the 2023 Yankees.

Boone said in the postgame that Peraza rolled his ankle and will get X-rays.

Charged with stranding the zombie runner at second in the 10th, Abreu came up big. He stranded the runner with composure and determination, notching a strikeout and a double-play ball after an intentional walk of José Ramírez.

Now tasked with simply getting a hit to win the game in the 10th, the Yankees did the job. Jake Bauers worked a walk, which put runners on first and second (the automatic one). IKF then bunted to put the winning run at third with just one out. Trevino, acting as a pinch-hitter, was the hero of the night with a walk-off single to center field.

New York’s record is now 17-15 as they head to a much-needed offday on Thursday before 17 games in 17 days.

Next up is a very important series at Tropicana Field against the AL East-leading Rays (now a remarkable 25-6). Jhony Brito is the Yanks’ probable starter for Friday, and he will go up against Yonny Chirinos with first pitch at 6:40pm ET.

Box Score