After three ugly losses, this one looked like it might stretch the losing streak to four games. Luis Severino looked flat-out bad and eventually departed after only two innings and his team down 4-0 with what’s been reported as right shoulder soreness. But the bullpen calmed the game down, Isiah Kiner-Falefa got a huge hit, and it was the other team that melted down this time to get the Yankees a walk-off win on the tenth after two wild pitches.
The Reds were the last to score last night and the first to score today. Severino looked shaky out of the gate, walking Jonathan India to lead off the game. Brandon Drury followed with a single. After Tommy Pham grounded out and moved the runners up, Joey Votto hit a line drive right to IKF that just hit the dirt before he caught it, allowing India to score. Severino also walked Tyler Stephenson before getting out of the inning, so he had to work a lot. He and Kyle Higashioka seemed to have a bit of trouble getting on the same page.
Even worse, Kyle Farmer, Mike Moustakas, and Stuart Fairfield hit back-to-back-to-back solo home runs to start the second inning, making it 4-0. He got the next three outs, but was at 43 pitches through two innings pitched. None of his pitches were working, and his fastball velocity was noticeably down.
And so, while throwing his warmup pitches for the third inning, Sevy decided he couldn’t keep going and removed himself from the game. It was later reported that he left with right shoulder stiffness. Considering his lengthy injury history, it’s a nail-biting time as we wait for more details. He’ll get an MRI tomorrow.
Sevy was replaced by JP Sears. He stabilized things, pitching a clean third and fourth inning, with three strikeouts. However, he did give up a lead in the fifth (we’ll get back to that lead in a bit), after a Votto RBI double and a Stephenson sac fly made it 6-5, Cincinnati. Sears finished with 3.2 innings pitched, two earned runs, one walk, and five strikeouts. Albert Abreu and Wandy Peralta got the Yankees through the seventh with no further damage.
The early frustration of the Reds taking the lead was compounded by the Yankees’ inability to get to the struggling Mike Minor for the first two innings. IKF hit a two-out double in the bottom of the second, but Higgy couldn’t drive him in. I know, I’m shocked too.
The second time through the order, though, the Yankees got to Minor as you’d expect they would. It was a bad third inning for the Reds, exacerbated by poor defense. Joey Gallo started the inning with a walk. DJ LeMahieu singled, but Aaron Judge then stuck out looking on what was clearly a ball inside. (Home plate umpire Nick Mahrley called a huge strike zone all night, to the ire of both teams.) Anthony Rizzo then hit a ball straight to India that was destined to be an out and maybe even a double play, but he let it get past him to the outfield, plating Gallo.
Stanton flew out for two outs, then Gleyber Torres singled to drive in LeMahieu, making it 4-2. Rizzo advanced but then strayed too far past second base, so he appeared to be caught in a rundown until the Reds didn’t get anyone to cover second base in time, so he was able to get back safely. Donaldson followed with a walk to load the bases, then IKF ripped a double into the gap to clear the bases and give the Yankees the lead.
Higgy naturally struck out to end the inning, the Yankees were firmly back in this ballgame.
Minor was replaced after four innings pitched by Buck Farmer, who despite also having an ERA north of 6.00 shut down the Yankees for two innings, striking out four. Joel Kuhnel of the 6.21 career ERA pitched an easy seventh.
With the Reds up 6-5, Aaron Boone surprised me by bringing in Aroldis Chapman to pitch the eighth. An IKF throwing error (his 11th of the season) allowed pinch-hitter Donovan Solano to reach first with one out, but Chapman managed to pick off pinch-runner Nick Senzel. He also walked Farmer with two outs, but escaped unscathed.
It was fruitless on offense for New York until the bottom of the eighth, when Giancarlo Stanton hit a porch home run to tie the game at 6-6.
Twenty-four hours after his blown save, Clay Holmes trotted right back out to try to keep things tied in the top of the ninth. And while he didn’t give up any runs this time, it was still an inning to raise your blood pressure. He walked Fairfield to lead off the frame, but followed it up with a strikeout to India. Drury then hit a ball to third that Donaldson probably should have converted into an out, but he couldn’t handle it and Drury got an infield single. With runners at second and third, Holmes got Pham to fly out and Votto to ground out, keeping the score tied, and when Hunter Strickland kept the Yankees off the bases, the game went to extra innings.
Michael King entered in the tenth, and a Stephenson single promptly moved automatic runner Votto to third base. But King came up big, striking out pinch-hitter Matt Reynolds and getting Farmer to hit into a double play, keeping things tied. In a bad stretch of games where plenty of the pitchers haven’t come through when needed, King was up to the task.
The Reds brought in Alexis Díaz, and he did his job at first, striking out Judge swinging with LeMahieu as the automatic runner at second. They then elected to intentionally walk Rizzo to try to get Stanton to hit into a double play, but a wild pitch advanced the runners and made that impossible. With the infield in, all Stanton now had to do was put the ball in play. The big guy didn’t even have to do that:
Stanton simply watched as another wild one from Díaz brought LeMahieu home to win the game, 2021 style. After these last few games, the Yankees will take it. Now we wait and see what the damage is for Sevy.
Tomorrow the series concludes, with Nestor Cortes facing prime trade candidate Luis Castillo. First pitch will be at 7:05pm ET.