THE BRONX – Last night’s game ended 11 outs earlier than usual, which benefitted the Yankees as they grabbed a 7-to-5 win over Toronto in Friday’s series opener.
Just seconds after Aaron Hicks struck out in the bottom of the seventh, the grounds crew rushed to get the tarp to cover the infield. That was the last bit of baseball we’d see, as the game was called after a delay of one hour and 25 minutes.
“We got a heads-up from the umpires right before it was coming that it was going to get real windy and nasty,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “It finally started to blow in, you could see it coming, obviously. The original thought was the delay would be about an hour and a half, but there was some uncertainty there, so we just didn’t really know.”
The first inning saw six runs scored collectively as neither Lance Lynn nor Marcus Stroman had their best stuff. Lynn walked Curtis Granderson and Justin Smoak in the first, then RBI singles from Kendrys Morales and Kevin Pillar scored them both. After a walk to Randal Grichuk, Aledmys Díaz singled to score both Morales and Pillar.
In the bottom of the frame, Aaron Hicks walked with two outs and then scored on Didi Gregorius‘ fourth triple of the 2018 campaign. Three pitches later, Miguel Andújar ripped a double into the right-center field gap to score Didi. It was Andújar’s 35th double of the season, which leads all MLB rookies and is nine ahead of second place (Brian Anderson, Marlins; Niko Goodrum, Tigers).
The Yanks took a short-lived lead in the fourth inning as Stroman made some costly mistakes. Gleyber Torres, who is working through a tough slump since returning from the disabled list, doubled with one out. Greg Bird battled through a 10-pitch plate appearance to walk. Two pitches later, Neil Walker cranked a three-run homer on a 90-mph cutter that sat over the middle of the plate.
With a 5-to-4 lead, Aaron Boone tried to squeeze another inning from Lynn. He lasted just two more batters, as Granderson doubled to lead off the inning and Devon Travis singled to right to tie the game. Chad Green entered and cleaned things up, allowing a harmless two-out single to Russell Martin.
The Yanks took the lead for good in the bottom of that frame, with Joe Biagini relieving Stroman. Hicks walked, and moved to third on a perfectly executed hit-and-run by Andújar. Two pitches later, Torres beat out a 6-4-almost-3 double play ball for an RBI fielder’s choice. The Yankees tacked on an insurance run in the bottom of the seventh, as Giancarlo Stanton deposited a pitch from Luis Santos 431 feet out to right field.
“Not an ideal start, but to fight back and get this win was really huge for us,” said Stanton. “A good test for us. Get punched, and punch right back.”
The rain hasn’t been kind to the Yankees for most of 2018, but it allowed them to save Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman for another day. And, most importantly, they got win No. 76.