I guess you can’t win them all. But on a night when Clarke Schmidt, and then the bullpen, held Seattle scoreless through nine, an offense that dropped an Alexander Hamilton on the Mariners each of the previous two nights should have scraped together a run or two. Alas. George Kirby and the M’s were up to the challenge this evening, and they scrapped out a 1-0 win in extras.
Kirby made short of the Yankees in the first. Gleyber Torres, Aaron Judge, and Willie Calhoun went down quickly against the young right-hander. The second was the same but different. DJ LeMahieu: good morning. Isiah Kiner-Falefa: good afternoon. Jake Bauers: good night. The third time? Not the charm. Three up, three down. Greg Allen was left holding the bag, frozen on a wicked offering from Kirby.
Not to be outdone, Schmidt eviscerated Seattle early, recording the first three outs of the game with very little effort. Then, he came out for the second and knocked them down in order again, culminating in a weak groundball from Cal “The Big Dumper” Raleigh. Seattle managed the game’s first baserunner in the bottom of the third. Kolten Wong, he of the .160 batting average coming into the day, worked a two-out walk.
It might seem like a small thing, but that’s the kind of at-bat Schmidt can’t let get away from him. If for no other reason than it gave J.P. Crawford the chance to poke a single through the infield and put runners on first and third; from no big deal to no bueno in no time. Torres made a nice play on a ground ball from Ty France to keep the game scoreless but Schmidt had to work harder than he should have.
Torres kept up his yeoman’s work leading off the fourth. Like a good Gleyber, he poked an opposite field single, breaking up Kirby’s perfect streak. Kirby then fell behind Aaron Judge, 2-0. Undaunted, the righty evened the count then uncoiled smoke past Judge, whiffing the incandescent slugger. Adding annoyance to irritation, Torres took off for second with Calhoun at the dish and slid well past the bag, easily getting tagged for the second out. I declare that a TOOTBLAN. Kirby wrapped up the frame without letting NY on the board.
Seattle managed another runner in scoring position in the fourth after sophomore sensation Julio Rodríguez reached on a single then swiped second. But Schmidt buckled down and escaped with no damage. After the Yankees went down fecklessly in the fifth, Schmidt kept pace with Kirby. A three-up, three-down frame sent this one off to the sixth with both clubs still in search of a run.
The Yankees were on the verge of breaking through, with Kyle Higashioka on second and two out. And then Gleyber ripped a liner to short that looked destined to drive Higgy in. But Crawford quickly reacted, snaring the 106-mph line drive:
Inning over, runner stranded, and zeroes all around. They would continue.
Schmidt came back out for the bottom of the sixth and got the first two out. But after surrendering a single to Julio, with Jarred Kelenic up, Aaron Boone came out to get Schmidt. He was not letting him face the lefty for the third time. Schmidt’s final line: 5.2 innings pitched, no runs allowed, though responsible for the man on base. Wandy Peralta trotted in from the Yankee pen and struck out Kelenic, keeping the game scoreless through six. Call that a great outing from Schmidt on the whole.
Kirby came back out for the seventh for Seattle, with his pitch count in excellent shape. He escaped disaster when Judge just got under a full-count slider. LeMahieu later knocked a bloop single to right with two outs. And then Kirby escaped disaster a second time. IKF drilled a ball to center, but Rodríguez made the catch at the wall, keeping the contest scoreless.
Peralta came back out in the bottom of the seventh and, despite a leadoff double, held Seattle off the scorecard again. Kirby came out again in the eighth for the M’s, his final inning of a masterful start. And again, he smacked the Yankees around. After freezing Jake Bauers and getting Anthony Volpe to weakly ground out to second, Kirby ended the frame by overpowering Higgy. Mark that as eight shutout innings from the sophomore slinger.
Wandy came back out for the eighth and retired the first two men he faced, prompting Boone to come get him and bring Clay Holmes in to face Ty France. And Holmes, who’s admittedly been... um... nerve-wracking so far this season, rewarded the skipper’s faith, retiring France swinging, and giving the Yanks one more chance to win it before the game went to Manfred Ball.
Seattle smartly decided they weren’t letting the reigning MVP beat them and, with two out in the ninth, intentionally walked Judge with the bases empty. If anyone was beating the M’s, it was Calhoun, not Judge. And it paid off. Paul Sewald got him to fly out to left for the final out of the frame. Back out for the ninth, Holmes retired Seattle in order to secure bonus cantos. At least the Yankees have tomorrow off.
Oswaldo Cabrera, who took over for Calhoun as the ghost runner in extras, broke for third on a groundball to short from DJLM. That seemed to startle Crawford, who looked like he wanted to go to third on the the play. Instead, he bobbled the ball to set up a first-and-third, no-out play. After an IKF popup, Bauers walked, juicing the bags for Anthony Volpe, who clubbed a three-run shot on Tuesday night.
Volpe hit into a 5-2 force though, keeping the bases loaded, now with two out. Franchy Cordero, pinch-hitting for Higgy, struck out swinging to kill the Yankee threat. I’m not gonna lie, seeing Franchy there instead of Anthony Rizzo makes me doubtful we’ll see Tony Rizz back playing first base on Friday night. But maybe I am just a pessimist and they just really wanted to play it safe with four full days off for Rizzo after the neck injury on Sunday.*
*After the game, Boone said that Rizzo was only available in “an emegency.”
And that was the Yankees’ last chance. In the bottom of the tenth, facing Ron Marinaccio, “The Big Dumper” drove in the zombie runner on the fifth pitch he saw. Can’t blame this 1-0 result on the pitching. It is what it is.
The Yankees are off tomorrow, and then head to the City of Angels for a series with the Dodgers that starts Friday. Join us here while Giancarlo Stanton, Josh Donaldson, and Tommy Kahnle seemingly join the Yanks out there. First pitch will be at 10:10pm ET, and it’ll be Sevy Bump Day, which everyone loves.