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Yankees 5, Nationals 6: Rally falls short after bullpen blowup

The Yankees are still looking for a series win as they fell annoyingly short against Washington.

MLB: Washington Nationals at New York Yankees Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The thing that’s been the most frustrating thing about the Yankees’ struggles this season is that it seems like they rarely have an answer after getting punched in the mouth. At least in this game, they did have a bit of an answer, even if they came up short in the end.

After leading for most of the game, the Yankees fell behind late after a bullpen blowup mostly by Tommy Kahnle and Clay Holmes. While the Yankees’ offense showed some fight in trying to come back, they fell agonizingly short, as the Nationals took the game and the series with a 6-5 win.

After putting up a three home run game on Wednesday night, Aaron Judge started this game in a similar vein. On the very first pitch he saw in his first at-bat of the day, he crushed a 421 foot home run off Patrick Corbin, giving the Yankees an early lead.

Getting a start in an extended opener type role, Michael King went through the first two innings scoreless. Washington eventually got to him and ended his day in the third. While he got two outs in the inning, he also issued two walks, brining Joey Meneses to the plate. King got Meneses to ground one to Anthony Volpe at short, but the rookie couldn’t field the grounder cleanly, allowing Meneses to reach and a run to score. At that point, Aaron Boone went to Keynan Middleton, who came in and finished off the inning. For the day, King went 2.2 innings, allowing one unearned run on one hit and two walks, striking out three.

However, it didn’t take long for the Yankees to grab the lead back. DJ LeMahieu drew a walk before Judge was for once kept in the ballpark with a foul out. Gleyber Torres made up for that, though, hitting a homer that just cleared the top of the wall in left field.

While the Yankees’ offense was quieted down after that, their pitching also held Washington in check for a while. Jhony Brito followed Middleton with 2.1 scoreless innings, allowing just two hits. One of them came in the seventh inning, shortly after which, Boone went back to the bullpen and brought in Kahnle. Things got flipped in a hurry after that.

After Kahnle got the second out of the seventh, Jake Alu hit a hot shot up the middle. Volpe got a glove to it, but couldn’t quite corral it, as it went for a run-scoring single. Alex Call followed that with a home run, and somewhat out of nowhere, the Nationals took the lead. CJ Abrams followed that up by going back-to-back, deepening the Yankees’ stumble.

An inning later, the Yankees got one of those runs back. Giancarlo Stanton got the Yankees back within a run as he homered to the bullpen in right-center field. A couple batters later, Everson Pereira recorded his first major league hit when he scorched a double to left field. The Yankees couldn’t make use of that hit though, as he was left stranded at second base.

In the top of the ninth, Holmes got the first two outs — albeit one thanks in large part to Judge gunning down a runner — only for things to go haywire after that. Call then reached on a hard grounder that Oswald Peraza couldn’t handle, and Abrams added an infield single. After a hit by pitch loaded the bases, Meneses grounded one towards the mound. Holmes himself couldn’t field it cleanly, giving the Nationals an insurance run going to the bottom of the ninth.

Needing a rally, the Yankees got the inning off to a good start when Peraza led off with a single. After DJ LeMahieu and Judge were retired, Gleyber Torres kept the game alive with a single of his own. Stanton followed that with his fourth hit of the day — a single that scored a run and put the tying run in scoring position. Harrison Bader then made good contact on a pitch that looked like it might at least tie the game. However, Call managed to track it down and just barely to corralled the ball to end the game.

With that, the Yankees are still looking for their first series win since July. They’ll try again tomorrow when they head down to Tampa Bay to play the Rays.

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