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Bullpen Day Thrives, Yanks top Rays 4-1

Entering the last week of the regular season the Yankees opened a four-game set Monday night in the always dreaded trip to face the Tampa Bay Rays. The Yankees came into tonight sitting one and a half games (two in the loss column) above the Oakland A’s for home field advantage in the AL Wild Card game. Aaron Boone decided to go with a “bullpen day” tonight instead of giving the ball to a typical starter.

Yanks complete four-run comeback as Walker wins it in the ninth


Tuesday evening’s matchup saw Lance Lynn (8-9, 4.84 ERA) take the mound for the Yanks against James Shields (5-15, 4.59 ERA). Earlier this month, Lynn made his first start as a Yankee against these same White Sox in Chicago. He was superb, going 7.1 IP, giving up zero runs on two hits and striking out nine batters. On Tuesday, Lynn was not as sharp, but pitched well enough to keep the Yankees in the game. The beginning of this game epitomized the dog days of summer: sluggish, long, tiresome and very little action. The Bombers continued their stretch of abysmal defense, making two more errors in the first three innings. If you thought Greg Bird could not play any worse, you were sadly mistaken as he dropped a ball that was thrown at his chest. Despite the defensive blunders, Lynn was able to wiggle his way out of trouble in both innings.

Photo Courtesy: Yankees.com



Once again, the Yankees bats went cold against subpar pitching. Everyone is aware that this team is desperately missing Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and Didi Gregorious, but the Yanks should be taking care of these inferior teams. There is still plenty of talent in this lineup and there is no excuse for getting only one hit in five innings against James Shields.

The first run of the game came in the top of the fifth when Nicky Delmonico singled to left and then scored on a double by Avisail Garcia. In the top of the sixth inning, the White Sox broke the game open. After Lynn got the first two outs, Yoan Moncada singled to center and Adam Engel followed with a single to left. Aaron Boone went to the bullpen and brought in Jonathan Holder, who gave up an RBI single to Yolmer Sanchez and a two-run single to Delmonico, putting the Sox up 4-0.

The Yankees showed life in the bottom of the sixth when Brett Gardner lead off the inning with a triple to right center. The inning almost turned into a disaster when Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Hicks both popped up. Then, A.L. Rookie of the Year front-runner Miguel Andujar crushed a two-run home run to left field to cut the White Sox lead to 4-2. Andujar has been a saving grace for the Yanks this year, particularly since the big bats of Judge and Sanchez went on the DL. In the month of August, Miggy has eight home runs and twenty-six RBIs, hitting .330 with a .980 OPS. The rookie has been a vital part of this team’s success. A walk to Gleyber Torres marked the end of the night for Shields and southpaw Jace Fry entered to face Greg Bird. Bird laced a shot to deep right-field, but Garcia would make the catch on the warning track. Both teams failed to score in the seventh.

The White Sox called on Juan Minaya to pitch the eighth and unfortunately for Minaya, the Yanks bats came alive. Stanton smoked a single to right field to start off the inning and then Hicks parked a two-run home run to right to tie the game. Dylan Covey would come in to relieve Minaya. Covey got Andujar to ground out and struck out Luke Voit. Gleyber Torres hit a two-out single to right and went to second on an errant pickoff attempt. It was time for Greg Bird to finally break through, but he instead popped out to short. Bird is 0 for his last 21. Not great.
Photo Courtesy: Yankees.com

Dellin Betances was lights out in the ninth, striking out another two batters. Then, in the bottom of the ninth, Neil Walker pinch-hit for Ronald Torreyes and launched a bomb to right-center to give the Yanks a 5-4 victory. Walker has been criticized by Yankees fans all year, but he has been a solid piece for this team over the last couple of months. Tonight was a much needed come-from-behind win for the Bombers.

What’s Next?

The Yanks wrap up their three-game series with the White Sox tomorrow night at the Stadium as CC Sabathia (7-4, 3.30 ERA) faces Reynaldo Lopez (4-9, 4.66 ERA). This will be Sabathia’s second start since coming off the DL, as he looks to build off his solid start in Baltimore. It looks like Didi and Sanchez will be back in the lineup this weekend against the Tigers or for the following series against the A’s. Thank God. This lineup needs them. 

Recap by: John Keefe


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