It’s amazing how quickly a game can go from controlling to spinning at 100 miles per hour. Everything seemed to be going pretty well for most of the first half of the game. For most of the second half of the game, it looked more like the aforementioned car accident. Then the offense somehow pulled the fairing car out of a slide and managed to get it back on course.
The Yankees managed to get on the board early with a solo home run from Rizzo in the first run. Following quickly after that in the third, Judge hit his 40th homer of the season to score LeMahieu, who had walked. It’s been nice to see LeMahieu getting back on track after a disappointing season last year. With him providing strong base skills, this allows Judge to do even more damage when he hits a gigantic explosion. At the end of the third inning, the Yankees led the Royals by three.
For the first four innings, Gerrit Cole ran through Kansas City Royals batters. On the first at bat, Aaron Judge was able to land a home run to right field off MJ Melendez’s bat. It was an incredible catch and helped ensure the game didn’t start badly for Cole. The Royals players were making good contact, but they weren’t making consistent contact through the first four innings.
The wheels came off for Cole in round five. To some extent, he is not responsible for the results. Official scorers gave him five earned runs in the inning, but some of the blame lies with the Yankee defense. In that inning, he got two quick outs when trouble started brewing. Maikel Garcia got her first major league hit when the IKF doubled a fly ball. Two more singles soon followed to load the bases.
Whitt Merrifield then hit a single to score two runs. At this point, the Yankees still led three to two. Unfortunately for the Yankees, Salvador Perez returned from the injured list today. With runners on first and third, he hit a commanding home run to center field. It wasn’t a cheap shop – He got all that 100 mph fastball. Here’s where you can hang Cole’s sleeve – the defense left him there longer than he should have been, but the ace had to close the door after the initial stumble and he couldn’t.
On a positive note, Aroldis Chapman had a scoreless run in relief. Even better, it was a 1-2-3 strikeout inning. Maybe there’s some hope that he’s finally starting to become the regular Chapman. The Yankees could definitely use the older version of him with the injuries they’ve been dealing with.
For much of the game there was a real risk of the game being delayed. They played much of the game with rain falling. Before the start of the eighth inning, after much fiddling with the drying agents, the referees finally got the tarp out. After a relatively brief rain delay, Albert Abreu pitched for the Yankees in the eighth. He has provided some very good relief pitchers since returning from the Rangers/Royals. That trend continued today, when aside from a single, he managed to keep the match within reach.
In the bottom of the eighth, the Yankees began to threaten with a Rizzo dribbler and a Torres understudy in singles. Josh Donaldson then hit a ball to Royals shortstop Maikel Garcia, who couldn’t handle the ball. He reached on Garcia’s error. With the bases loaded, Andrew Benintendi came to home plate and hit a ground ball to first base, but he managed to shoot Nick Pratto far enough to his right to reach it. It wasn’t spectacular, but it was Benintendi’s first hit with the Yankees and he scored a run. With the bases still loaded, Aaron Hicks came to the plate and worked a walk to tie the game. The baton passed to IKF, and he came with a single to give the Yankees the lead for the first time since the fifth inning, with the Yankees by one. With the bases still loaded, Jose Trevino hit a dribbler that scored another run, but earned him an out at first base.
DJ LeMahieu managed to walk to reload the bases. The judge then came to unload the bases with a large salami of epic proportions. With that home run, he sits at 41 home runs, tied for the most home runs by a Yankee before August — with two games to spare. Even better, that home run put the game up 11-5, with the Yankees leading. After a few more singles, the round ended with a Josh Donaldson popup. Wandy Peralta was brought in to pitch the ninth inning, and with a little heartburn, he managed to pitch a scoreless ninth.
For much of the night, I felt like everything sucked. However, a miraculous round eight managed to calm my angry soul. In fact, I feel like my emotions went through a roller coaster of ups and downs. I went from top Aaron Judge giving the Yankees a 3-0 lead to bottom Cole giving up a five spot. Then another high when the Yankees regained the lead in the eighth. With this win officially in the book, I can say it was one of the most emotionally draining games. All’s well That ends well. I don’t know about anyone else, but I need a nap.