With the season on the line, the New York Yankees showed up in a big way Wednesday night with a Wild Card win over the Oakland Athletics.
An electric atmosphere punctuated the fall air in the Bronx, which continued to grow as Luis Severino carved through the A’s in the top of the first inning. Pandemonium exploded in the following half-inning, as Andrew McCutchen worked a leadoff walk and Aaron Judge followed with a 116.7 mph home run into the left-field seats off opener Liam Hendriks. From that moment, the Yankees never looked back.
Severino worked his way into trouble in the fifth, allowing two singles to start the frame. Armed with one of the best bullpens in baseball, Aaron Boone went to a late-inning weapon in Dellin Betances. Two fly balls and a strikeout later, the fire was out. The move to call on Betances was the first of many moves that went according to plan for Boone and the Yankees.
The Yanks got locked down for the next four innings, with Lou Trivino and Shawn Kelley allowing a hit a piece and combining to strike out four Yankees. But Bob Melvin decided to go with The Fernando Rodney Experience™️ in the sixth inning. Judge and Aaron Hicks hit consecutive doubles to lead off the frame, and that was it for Rodney.
Blake Treinen, owner of a 0.78 ERA in the regular season and the A’s closer, was next to pitch in the sixth. He walked Giancarlo Stanton, who promptly stole second base sneakily on the first pitch of Luke Voit‘s plate appearance. Voit lifted a fly ball that almost snuck over the right field wall but ended up a two-run triple after a misplay from Stephen Piscotty. One pitch later, Didi Gregorius lifted a sacrifice fly to left that barely scored Voit (the A’s challenged, and the call stood).
David Robertson pitched a perfect seventh inning, before handing it over to Zach Britton for the eighth. Britton did allow a two-run short porch job to Khris Davis, which made it a 6-2 game. But Stanton returned the favor as he cranked his first-ever postseason homer to send Treinen to the showers. Aroldis Chapman pitched around a leadoff single to record two strikeouts and a ground out to send the Yankees hurdling toward a best-of-5 showdown with the Boston Red Sox.