Baseball returned to the Bronx, and the Yankees returned to their winning ways. The Bombers coasted to a comfortable 4-0 victory over their division rivals, and they did so without blasting key home runs or running out the gauntlet of relievers at their disposal. Instead, they got a sharp pitching performance out of their starting pitching and blew the game open in one inning to secure enough run support to get the job done.
Aaron Sanchez, he of the 6.31 ERA entering the game, was flummoxing the Yankees’ lineup through four innings. Sanchez allowed runners on base in three of those innings, but managed to deny the bats any big hits to bring home runs whenever a situation began to emerge. The Yankees are difficult to hold down indefinitely though, and they turned on a dime in the fifth.
Brett Gardner led the inning off by lacing a ball into the corner in right, flying across the base path and picking up a triple. DJ LeMahieu proved that even his outs with runners in scoring position are valuable, poking a ball sharply to second base that allowed Gardner to come home and put the first run of the game on the board.
From there the floodgates opened, and Sanchez worked the bases loaded via back-to-back hits to Aarons Judge and Hicks, and then grazing Gary Sanchez with a pitch. Edwin Encarnacion came up with the chance to do damage against his former team and he delivered, crushing a ball to center that nearly left the park but collided into the wall for a bases-clearing double.
Meanwhile, Domingo German had the Blue Jays flailing at his pitches left and right. German allowed a single from Eric Sogard to start the game, and then didn’t allow another baserunner until his final inning of work in the sixth. He was incredibly efficient, throwing just 78 pitches—54 of them for strikes. German probably could’ve gone another inning or two and pushed for double-digit strikeouts, but given the innings count that the team will be monitoring throughout the season, Aaron Boone decided to play it safe with his 26-year-old right-hander.
Instead, Boone turned to Tommy Kahnle and Chad Green to get through the final innings without having to tax the top arms in the bullpen. The pair rewarded him for the move, allowing just three baserunners over three collective innings of work. Green handled the eighth and ninth innings smoothly after struggling in these areas earlier in the year.
By adding an extra day on top of the rest from the All-Star break, those top arms will be well rested for the Yankees to use in the afternoon when J.A. Happ heads to the mound. Aside from Aroldis Chapman who pitched the ninth in the All-Star Game, the rest of the pen will be working with five crucial days of rest.