Nick Greco again delivers this comprehensive Game Summary.
In a Saturday matinee with a threat of rain throughout, Lance Lynn and the Yankees took on Drew Hutchison and the Texas Rangers in the third game of a four game set. Lynn continued to shine for the Yankees in his second start, not yet allowing an earned run in the pinstripes.
Shin-Soo Choo got things going for the Rangers with a lead off line drive single to Shane Robinson in center field. (Why is Shane Robinson playing centerfield?) Lynn bounced back in classic Lynn fashion, pounding the zone and striking out the next three Rangers to retire the side without further damage.
In the bottom of the second, the Yankees jumped out to an early lead with a solo home run off the bat of Giancarlo Stanton into the left field stands on an inside Drew Hutchison fastball that wasn’t in or fast enough. After a Didi Gregorius ground out, Miguel Andujar singled on a grounder just out of reach of the third baseman, Jurickson Profar. With Miggy on first, Greg Bird pounced on a 2-0 fastball scorching a double to the right-center field gap, scoring Andujar and extending the Yankees lead in the bottom of the first to 2-0.
Lynn, continued to battle and challenge the Rangers in the 2nd giving up a Joey Gallo double, pitching around the Friday night hero Ronald Guzman for a walk, but not surrendering a run to the Rangers. After the bottom of the 2nd, it was still 2-0 Yanks.
The bottom half of the Yankees lineup did not produce in the bottom of the 2nd and despite some scoring, Hutchison cruised through two on a low pitch count.
The top of the third saw the first Rangers scoring with a Shin-Soo Choo double to center field on a seemingly simple fly ball, fielded cleanly by Shane Robinson towards the center field gap. Choo challenged Robinson’s arm and won. (Where is Hicks) Choo is moved over on a Rougned Odor grounder to short and then driven in on an excuse me, half-swing floater into right field by Elvis Andrus. The Rangers were on the board and the score was now 2-1. Andrus tried to take advantage of Kyle Higashioka’s arm on a bouncer in the dirt, but was caught trying to advance to second. Adrian Beltre singled, but Lynn would strike out Profar to end the third and keep the score at 2-1.
The 4th and 5th saw no scoring as Lynn continued to challenge the Rangers with his two-seam fastball, adding three strikeouts to his line. Lance Lynn exited the game after five innings with a final line of 5 IP, 5H, 1ER, 3BB and 8K.
David Robertson came in to relieve Lynn and pitched a scoreless 6th, tacking on one strikeout.
IN the Yankees' half of the 6th, Greg Bird continued to have a great afternoon with his second double of the afternoon to right field, setting up an RBI single from Neil Walker and extending the Yankee lead to 3-1.
The top of the 7th gave Yankee fans another familiar sight, as Zach Britton again failed to live up to his promise. After getting the first two outs in order, a Choo single, followed by an Odor single, followed by an Andrus walk led to Britton walking Beltre with the bases loaded. Dellin Betances was brought in to try and calm the storm and promptly balked in a run as Odor bluffed taking off at third base. Profar then struck out, but not before the Rangers tied the score at 3-3.
The bottom of the 7th was the setting of Miguel Andujar’s continued audition for the AL Rookie of the Year as he unleashed his helicopter swing on a high and outside Chris Martin fastball and blasted the go-ahead homer to right field and driving in Giancarlo Stanton, who’d singled on a clothesline to center. It was now 5-3 in favor of the Yanks.
Dellin Betances shut down the Rangers in the top of the 8th. And, in the bottom half of the inning, Alex Claudio set the Yankees down on three straight ground outs.
With the rain coming down, Aroldis Chapman did his best to give Yankees fans everywhere a heart attack. Isiah Kiner-Falefa walked to lead off the inning. Choo was then called out on strikes with a nasty slider. Odor then took a 100 mph fastball to left field to give the Rangers two men on base. Andrus popped out to Bird for an infield fly. It was now two on and two out. Chapman then plunked Adrian Beltre’s left leg with a 100 mph fastball. Somehow Beltre walked to first base and stayed in the game. The bases were now loaded with two outs. Jurickson Profar steped in the box and got ahead of the count on Chapman, forcing him to throw strikes. Chapman then pounded three straight fastballs in the zone, 1,2,3... Start Spreading the News, the Yankees won with a score of 5-3.
Lance Lynn continued to be a breathe of fresh air, not only with his results, but with his style. Lynn has essentially the anti-Sonny Gray, pounding the zone with over 70% fastballs and challenging hitters to best him.
Two points of concern from an otherwise great game: First, is anyone else tired of seeing Boone trot out our B squad lineup? I realize it’s a long stretch of continuous games in a row, but we are fighting to stay within reach of the division and for home field advantage in the wild card game. Today Neil Walker, who for some reason was playing right field, miss-played a ball that Judge and Stanton would normally get. Choo also took advantage of Shane Robinson’s arm and advanced on a play that Hicks would probably not be challenged on, leading to a Rangers run. Aaron Boone, please let our guys play, let our guys get into a rhythm.
Secondly, the bullpen has not been fabulous. Britton fumbled again. Betances pitched great...but he balked in a run???? Chapman came within one ball of blowing the game. Let’s get our guys to take a page out of the Lance Lynn playbook, attack the zone, attack the zone, attack the zone.
This afternoon the Yankees have a chance to put themselves in position to take the series. CC Sabathia will take the mound tomorrow to try and close things out against the Rangers.