Game 97: In one of the more unlikely endings you’ll see, the Yankees completed their three-game sweep of the visiting Cincinnati Reds in comic fashion.
In the top of the 8th, New Jersey native Todd Frazier clubbed a 98-mph Dellin Betances fastball over the left field wall to knot the game at 2. You couldn’t call it a mistake pitch — it was high and inside, but Frazier somehow turned on it with enough wood to carry it into the third row. In post-game comments, manager Joe Girardi called it “shocking”.
Facing Cincinnati’s 100mph fireballer Aroldis Chapman in the 9th, the Yankees manufactured the winning run in a unconventional manner. Jacoby Ellsbury got it started with a lead off single to left, but not after a ferocious AB, fouling off heater after heater.
Ellsbury then stole second without a throw, and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Mark Teixeira struck out swinging, bringing Brian McCann to the plate. McCann hit a bloop into short right field that looked certain to be the second out of the inning — until hilarity ensued (see video above).
Kuroda Can’t Catch a Break
Staff anchor Hiroki Kuroda once again witnessed a win turn into a no-decision. Kuroda was outstanding, scattering 3 hits over 6.2 innings, while allowing no earned runs and striking out 6. Only a Brian Roberts error in the 5th inning set the Red’s first run in motion.
Ellsbury Leads Offense
In addition to his huge at-bat leading off the bottom of the 9th, Jacoby Ellsbury turned in a 4-4 performance today. McCann went 2-5, and Roberts 2-4. This was a fortunate win — facing Red’s ace Johnny Cueto and their vaunted 8th and 9th inning guys, the Yankees were 3-15 with runners in scoring position, and stranded 13 in total. The Reds, on the other hand, finished the series 1-22 with runners in scoring position.
Sweep A Great Start
“If we’re going to get to the playoffs, we’re going to have to win at home. To be able to start off this way against a team that’s been playing well, that’s fighting for their division as well, I think was really important.”
— Today’s winning pitcher David Robertson.
Amen, brother. And with a little help from the Oakland A’s, who laid a whuppin’ on the first place Baltimore Orioles today, the Yanks are now 3 games out. Here’s the box score and recap.
MEMORY LANE: On today’s date in 1962, the Yanks edged the Washington Senators, 3-2 in the first of a four-game series. With two out in the bottom of the first, Roger Maris walked, then Mickey Mantle deposited a Steve Hamilton pitch to the cheap seats in left field. Pitcher Whitey Ford went 7 innings for the victory, improving his record to 9-5. The win was the Yankees 8th straight, and they would go on defeat Washington the next day for their 9th in a row — but were unable to sweep the ‘Nats, as the Yanks dropped the final two games.
The Ralph Houk-managed Yankees were in first place entering the series, 21.5 games ahead of 10th place Washington.
On July 20th, 1941, Joe DiMaggio had three doubles and a homer in a 12-6, 17-inning Yankees victory over the Tigers at Detroit.