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Yankees 6, Cardinals 2: Bullpen shines as Bombers salvage doubleheader split

A bullpen game worked out nearly perfectly as the Yankees bounced back in the doubleheader’s nightcap.

MLB: JUL 01 Yankees at Cardinals - Game 2 Photo by Rick Ulreich/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Pretty much nothing went right for the Yankees in the opening game of their doubleheader against the Cardinals, an 11-4 loss that somehow wasn’t even as close as that ugly final score indicates. Luis Severino got pounded, the offense was dead in the water until they trailed by double digits, and multiple rain delays caused a game that started at just after 2pm ET to not end until five and a half hours later.

Due to the doubleheader and no offdays next week, the Yankees opted to use a bullpen game in the nightcap, which always has potential for some issues. While the New York relief corps is quite good, there’s always some danger in relying on so much pitchers having good days at the same time.

However, it turns out there was no need to worry. Things went mostly smoothly for the Yankees’ bullpen, as they combined to allow just two runs all game, and none after the third inning. Meanwhile, big days from Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Anthony Volpe allowed the offense to put up enough runs to take the game, 6-2 over the Cardinals.

After not really getting anything going until it was too late in the first game, the Yankees struck first in the nightcap. DJ LeMahieu, Giancarlo Stanton, and Anthony Rizzo each singled, loading the bases for Harrison Bader. After Cardinals’ fans gave a Bader — who started his career in St. Louis — a nice hand, he hit a sac fly that was enough for LeMahieu to tag up and score.

However, the Cardinals answered back quickly in the bottom half of the first. The Yankees opted to start Ian Hamilton in the second game, as they have a week without a scheduled offday coming up (and they’ll likely need Randy Vásquez in the Orioles series with Jhony Brito unable to be recalled). Hamilton’s first career start did not get off to the best of beginnings as Lars Nootbaar led off the game for St. Louis with a home run to even the score. The 28-year-old allowed a couple more hits before eventually getting out of the jam.

In the second, Kiner-Falefa got the inning started with a single. Volpe was due up next, and he hit a long fly ball to right field. It hit off the wall and — thanks in part to a misplay by right fielder Dylan Carlson — Kiner-Falefa scored as Volpe raced all the way around for a triple. A couple batters later, he scored on a LeMahieu sacrifice fly.

After throwing a nice inning in the second, Ron Marinaccio was brought back out for the third. While Nootbaar singled to lead off the inning, Marinaccio then bounced back by retiring the next two batters. However, a walk to Willson Contreras kept the inning alive for Jordan Walker, who doubled home a run. Eventually, Michael King was brought in to clean up the inning, and he did so while keeping the Yankees in front.

The Yankees’ offense didn’t add anything over the next couple innings, keeping King with very little wiggle room. However, he did a very impressive job in his first appearance since June 25th. In total, King ended up going 3.1 innings, allowing one hits and no walks.

King would exit after that as Wandy Peralta came in for the seventh. He got into a little bit of danger by issuing a walk to Paul Goldschmidt, but then recorded a pair of strikeouts to get out of the inning.

Tommy Kahnle was next in line as he was tasked with the eighth inning. He too ran into a tad bit of trouble when he walked Alec Burleson. However, he took got the next two outs to keep the bullpen game rolling.

After six innings of not doing much, the Yankees’ offense finally picked up some insurance runs in the ninth. Kiner-Falefa reached base for the fourth time in the game when he drew a walk. Volpe then recorded a single — marking his fifth-straight multi-hit game — which moved Kiner-Falefa to third. Jose Trevino then laid down a squeeze bunt, which lead to Kiner-Falefa just beating the tag at home:

A walk then loaded the bases for Gleyber Torres, who lined a two-run single to left for extra insurance.

With that valuable breathing room, Clay Holmes was sent out for the ninth, his first action in a week. While he too walked a batter, he immediately induced a double play on route to a scoreless frame to finish off the excellent work from the bullpen.

Tomorrow will, hopefully, be a much shorter day of baseball as there’s only one game scheduled and no rain in the forecast. Gerrit Cole is set to get the start for the Yankees, as the lineup is will take on former teammate Jordan Montgomery at 2:15 pm ET.

Box Score