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Urshela and Co. Make an Early Impact to Prevent Rays from Earning Game 3 Win

📸 Photo Credit: Bill Menzel/ Latino Sports

THE BRONX, N.Y. — Statements. That’s what the Yankees needed to do and that is exactly what they did in their 4-3 win over the first-place Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday night. 

All statements made by the Yankees roster came from all sides of the diamond. First with an opposite-field two-run home run to right field from Yankees third baseman Gio Urshela in the top of the first inning to give the Yankees an early 2-0 lead. 

Urshela’s night continued to shift in his favor with an impressive snag at third base, saving the Yankees from rendering their two-run lead in the second inning. The Colombian native has drilled his focus on one task and that’s to dominate in every game to inch closer to their American League East competitors in the standings.

“It’s very important for us, getting closer to them (the Rays in the American League East). We got Boston next, that’s the team that’s in front of us. We’re just trying to play the best we can,” Urshela said after the Yankees snagged their second win in Game 3 of the four-game series.  

As a silent assailant at third base, Urshela’s six-foot stature never hinders his ability to come up with the big play in any situation. His sharp athleticism and keen glove alongside the third base foul line have drawn thunderous applause night in and night out from the Bronx faithful.

Yankees third baseman Gio Urshela with a hustling grab and throw in a game against the Red Sox in 2019. (📸 Photo: Bill Menzel/ Latino Sports)

The 29-year-old third baseman doesn’t exhibit the towering power of Giancarlo Stanton, nor does his talents flash before your eyes like Fernando Tatís Jr. or Ronald Acuña Jr., but his offensive and defensive statements are to be noted and worthy of every conversation involving top Major League Baseball accolades. 

As an overcast evening eased into a breezy June night, the Yankees pitching staff — with proven consistency from their starters and firm control from their bullpen — found ways to lead the pack toward their 31st win of the season. Jordan Montgomery sailed through 6.1 innings, only surrendering three runs — one of them earned — striking out six batter’s and walking two to earn his third win of the season.

Yankees skipper Aaron Boone entrusted Jonathan Loaisiga, who has become a trustworthy force within the Yankees bullpen. The Nicaraguan has 25 strikeouts on the season in his 23rd appearance on the mound. His 2.02 ERA is promising, as the reliever racks in 28.1 innings in the 2021 season. 

With a tight one-run lead going into the bottom of the ninth, the Yankees leaned on their closer Aroldis Chapman to deliver the final punches of the night. After walking the first two batter’s he faced, the LatinoMVP retired Randy Arozarena and Ji-Man Choi after a long eight-pitch at-bat with two strikeouts, shortly ending the game by fielding a bullet from Austin Meadows and throwing straight heat to first baseman DJ LeMahieu to end the ball game. 

“Just from a delivery standpoint, he was probably a little out of wack. First couple hitters, the velo wasn’t quite there and obviously, he was missing some spots,” manager Aaron Boone noted on Chapman’s shaky start in the ninth inning. “But (Chapman) got it together, and got it together against the top of their line up. I thought the stuff picked up as the inning went on, and he obviously made a lot of big pitches and made a nice play getting off the mound to finish it off.”

As the 12-year veteran collected his 12th save of the season, Chapman’s 0.41 ERA has continued to earn him the lowest ERA in the league and his 42 strikeouts are two shy of the league lead, closely trailing Cleveland Indians closer James Karinchak (44).  

With the Yankees’ offense starting to flicker, the bullpen continues to be their knight in shining armor. The bullpen has not allowed a single run in 17.2 innings, dating back to Sunday’s match-up on the road against the Detroit Tigers. The arsenal of arms coming from the bullpen has accumulated a 2.65 ERA this season, the lowest in the American League and second-lowest in all of Major League Baseball.

Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman has become a dominant force and the most reliable reliever in the Yankees bullpen with 12 saves and a 0.41 ERA so far in the 2021 season. (📸 Photo: Bill Menzel/ Latino Sports)


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