Bronx, NY- The Yankees used nine pitchers Friday night in the Bronx because this was a bullpen game. Domingo German, Jordan Montgomery, and Gerrit Cole are not available due to injury or COVID-19 protocols. So Wandy Peralta, Stephen Ridings, Joely Rodriguez, Clay Holmes, Jonathan Loaisiga, Lucas Luetge, Zack Britton, Chad Green, and Albert Albreu got the call from manager Aaron Boone.
Abreu pitched a scoreless 11th and got his first career win. Brett Gardner, the veteran, and in a season-long struggle, singled home the winning run with two outs in the 11th and a walk-off 3-2 win over the Mariners.
Aaron Judge hit a tying sacrifice in the eighth and Giancarlo Stanton evened the score with a two-out single in the 10th after hitting into a double play with runners on in the eighth inning.
This is a Yankees team that could not pull off comebacks like this and provide the drama so many times in the first half of their season. The trade deadline acquisitions of Anthony Rizzo and Joey Gallo have added a different dimension to the lineup.
Whatever the reasons, and because the course of a long baseball season has those ups and downs, the Yankees have found the chemistry. The tide has rapidly changed. They are a season high 11-games over .500, and if they continue to win at this pace that talk of a team expected to play baseball in October will soon be a reality.
But a month or so ago there was that talk of the underachieving Yankees. There was talk of changes to come, and the manager would be the first to go when the season concludes. But that is no more.
Either Boone is a wiz or the Yankees have what is called “The Mojo” that led to their fourth straight win .
Important to note, though, the Yankees remain the hottest team in baseball. Once a team with gut wrenching defeats, they have rapidly turned things around. They are 19-8 in their last 27 games.
“It’s important to keep this going,” said Boone.
His team has no intention of letting up and have quickly picked up significant ground in their bid for an AL Wild card. Don’t rule out a run to bypass either the first place Rays or second place Red Sox in their pursuit of a division title.
This was the Yankees eighth walk off win of the season and first since July 21 against the Phillies. It was their third straight comeback win and 10th coming from behind this season.
“Every game for us is a must for us,” Gardner said. “A lot of energy in the room with a must win attitude to keep it up”
And leave no doubt, the decimated Yankees pitching rotation has been effective. Starters have posted a 2.60 ERA in their last 26 starts since the second game of a July 4 doubleheader against the cross town Mets.
That Gardner line drive hit, a 2-2 fastball with runners on first and second with two outs, drove in Joey Gallo the extra inning ghost runner.
Prior to the game, Manager Aaron Boone hinted that Perlata could throw more than one inning, but it mattered how effective the lefthander would be as this was his first Major League start.
The bullpen game worked. Then again, right now, everything is working for the manager and the Yanlees.
“They answered the call,” Boone said about the bullpen. “A lot of them in different situations, coming in at different times in this game.Everyone did their job and stepped up and executed.”
And the Mariners are also playing for something, in the hunt for one of those AL wildcards. Boone went with the plan and his bullpen was able to contain a good hitting lineup that was held to one run in nine innings.
“The Mariners are a good lineup that can hurt you in a lot of ways,” Boone said.
But the Yankees indeed are getting contributions from those that have been asked to step up. They have not disappointed the manager and no question are a pivotal part of this resurgence.
Abreu, who has been back-and-forth, more than once from Triple-A Scranton to the Bronx, has been a vital part of the bullpen. He has allowed one run in four innings and prevented the Mariners from getting their automatic runner to score in the 11th.
“He has grown leaps and bounds this year,” Boone said. “From the end of spring training on to his Triple-A season. Tonight he was in a huge spot and he delivered.”
But this entire Yankees team has delivered. They are a team that is finding ways to win as they did Friday night in the Bronx. And how will Boone handle the bullpen Saturday afternoon in game two of this series?
“We’ll figure it out.” Boone said. It seems that will not be an issue. Winning and the way they are doing it is no longer leading to those gut wrenching Yankees losses of a month ago.
Hey, winning will change the entire complexion and the Yankees know that first hand.
Rich Mancuso: Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso
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