Thursday, September 1, 2016

A Month We Said Goodbye to ARod, Jersey Number 13th Inning Proves Lucky for Yanks, Closes Out Wild Month

What a month of August! At the beginning of the month, Yankee fans were commiserating as they had said goodbye to Aroldis Chapman, Carlos Beltran, Ivan Nova and fan favorite Andrew Miller, searching for a new nickname for a bullpen made up of Tyler Clippard, Adam Warren and Delin Betances. A month that saw Alex Rodriguez play his last game in pinstripes, two Baby Bombers make history by going back to back in their first major league at bats, Gary Sanchez with history of his own by blasting 11 bombs quicker than anyone in the history of the game and being named player of the week two weeks in a row as a catcher, saw the Yankees win the series over the reigning World Champs with two dramatic extra inning affairs that resulted in the same final score. Luis Sessa and former Yankee Ian Kennedy started the game, but neither would factor into the decision in this 13 inning roller coaster of a rubber game three.

The Royals jumped on Sessa early as KC put the Yankees in a sizable early hole. Kendrys Morales connected on a first pitch curveball for a first inning two-run homerun to straightaway centerfield that pushed Kansas City out in front by two. In the bottom of the second, Pablo Orlando made it all the way to second on a fielding error by Chase Headley and scored when the next batter Alcides Escobar hit a soft line drive down the left field line for an RBI double, widening their early lead to three. And then in the bottom of the third, Eric Hosmer led off the inning with his 19th blast of the year, an opposite field solo shot down the line in left to make it 4-0 Kansas City.

Kennedy silenced the Bomber bats through five but it was the top of the sixth that saw the Yankees make their way back into the game. Jacoby Ellsbury led off the frame with a single, advancing to second on a Gary Sanchez walk. After a long fly ball to right by Mark Teixeira that advanced Ellsbury to third, Didi Gregorius lofted another fly ball to center that plated Ellsbury to put the Yanks on the board at 4-1. Starlin Castro then added to his career best homerun mark by launching his 19th of the season to deep left-center that pulled the Yankees to within one.

New York tied the game up in the top of the seventh, knocking Kennedy out of the game in the process. Aaron Hicks worked a one-out walk which prompted manager Ned Yost to pull Kennedy out for rookie left hander Scott Alexander. Brett Gardner gave the rookie a rude introduction to the show by lining a single to right, advancing Hicks to third. The following hitter Ellsbury lifted a fly ball to medium deep centerfield that scored Hicks to knot the game up at four apiece.

That would be the last run to score for quite some time as both bullpens kept the game tied deep into extra innings. The Yankee bullpen arms of Shreve, Layne, Warren and Parker combined to hold the Royals not just scoreless but also hitless through five brilliant innings of clutch baseball. As for the Chanps' pen, they worked in and out of trouble but held New York scoreless, forcing the Yankees to leave nine runners in scoring position on base.

In a month where we said goodbye to Alex Rodriguez, lucky number 13 was the inning where the Yankees took the lead and didn't look back. Gregorius started the rally with a line drive single off the glove of first baseman Eric Hosmer. Castro followed suit with a ringing double to right that moved Gregorius to third, still with no outs. Brian McCann then scored Gregorius with a sacrifice fly to left that put the Yankees ahead for good at 5-4. For the second consecutive night, the Yankees won an extra inning game against the defending champs by the same exact score of 5-4, tying the bow on a crazy win, series and month.

The Pinstripers have the day off tomorrow as they travel to Baltimore to begin a three-game weekend series with the Orioles, with first pitch scheduled for Friday at 7:05 PM/EST.

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