The Yankees were bound to lose their share of the series in 2022, though that hadn’t happened very often through the first half of the season.
But dropping two out of three to one of the worst teams in baseball?
That was what came to fruition Thursday night in The Bronx as the Reds hit the Yankees’ bullpen to secure a 7-6, 10-inning victory and win the stunning league victory.
It was the second extra-inning affair in the three-game set: The Yankees (62-27) pulled off a 10-inning victory on a pair of wild pitches on Wednesday, after Clay Holmes’ ninth-inning meltdown allowed the Reds (34). -55) to steal the opener. Cincinnati arrived at The Bronx with the third worst record in MLB.
“Heavy losses, but we always fought back,” Aaron Judge said. “I wish we could have scored a little more races early, especially tonight, but they got a good ball club over there and they fought. Their record may show something else, but they have a lot of good ball players over there who fight slaughter, put the ball in play. Some good quality arms and high speed.
“It’s hard to swallow. You’ll never lose the series. But sometimes you have to tilt the cap and get ready for the next one.”
It only marked the Yankees’ fourth league loss in 29 chances this season. They have now lost four of their last five games, with the Red Sox arriving at Yankee Stadium on Friday for the final series before the All-Star break.
On Thursday, the Reds (34-55) came to Jonathan Loaisiga – and returned to the Yankees after seven plus weeks on the injury list with inflammation in the right shoulder – for four hits and three runs in the eighth inning to break a 1 – 1 tie. So, after the Yankees (62-27) stormed back to equalize at the bottom of the inning, Lucas Luetge was marked for three more runs in the top 10 on a pair of doubles and a single.
“Could just not put some guys away,” manager Aaron Boone said of Luetge, on an evening when the Yankees’ bullpen was without some of its upper arms due to the recent workload.
Matt Carpenter made things interesting at the bottom of the 10th, crushing a two-run homer to get the Yankees within 7-6. But with two outs and the winning run initially, DJ LeMahieu hit a ball to midfield that landed in the glove on Nick Senzel. LeMahieu left seven men at base in his last three strokes of the match.
With the Yankees trailing 4-1 at the bottom of the eighth, they threw themselves over the Reds’ bullpen. The referee started by crushing his 31st home run of the season before Gleyber Torres got a two-out, two-run homer to equalize 4-4.
The late burst of running wiped out what had been a pitchers duel between All-Stars Luis Castillo and Nestor Cortes. Both threw seven strong innings of one-run ball before making room for their bullpens.
Castillo, one of the top two starters expected to be traded before the August 2 deadline (perhaps even to The Bronx, where the Yankees suddenly had a gap in their rotation after Luis Severino went on to IL on Thursday), did not allow and hit 5 ¹ / ₃ innings.
Cortes, meanwhile, delivered a bounce-back effort after being tagged for four runs in 3 ² / ₃ innings last Friday in Boston.
The only race Cortes allowed on Thursday came on a sacrificial flight with the bases filled in the fifth inning. Carpenter, who only started in the right field for the second time this season, appeared to have a shot to throw Senzel out on the plate, but looked first toward second or third base before throwing home late.
Cortes threw his hands up in apparent frustration behind the plate, but later credited Carpenter, who made a leaping grip against the right field wall earlier in the game.
“I could have reacted a little back home, but I completely understand where he’s coming from,” Cortes said. “He’s playing his heart out there.”