Aaron Judge — Walking to History…
Yankees 7, Orioles 4…
I’d prefer to see Aaron Judge, the Monster Home Run Hitter, but there’s no mistaking that the young slugger knows how to take his walks. By walking four more times yesterday, Judge now has 103 walks on the season. The great Ted Williams holds the modern record for most walks by a rookie with 107 in 1939. Granted, he’s far off the pace set by all-time record holder Barry Bonds (232 in 2004) and well down the overall list (tied for 432nd place) but his rookie year has been a record-setter. He is the first rookie with 100 walks since Jim Gilliam did it for the Brooklyn Dodgers back in 1953.
Oh, there was a game played too as the Yankees took down the Baltimore Orioles hours after their arrival in Maryland following Sunday night’s win over the Boston Red Sox. I think I heard the team got in at 3 am on Monday morning and they were back at it by 2:05 pm. Apparently no sleep is needed this time of year. The Yankees spotted the O’s a 3–0 lead and then mounted their comeback.
Jordan Montgomery got the start over Jaime Garcia, but he was rudely welcomed by O’s lead-off hitter, Tim Beckham, who homered to right in the bottom of the first. With Dylan Bundy, arguably the O’s best pitcher this year, on the mound, it looked like it might be a long afternoon.
While Bundy was easily dispatching the Yankees (he held the Yanks hitless for the first three innings), the O’s scored more runs in the bottom of the 2nd. Mark Trumbo opened the inning by reaching base on a fielding error by Didi Gregorius when he couldn’t make a backhanded stop. Chris Davis may not hit for average but when he gets a hold of a pitch with the barrel of his bat, it’s gone. His shot to left center put the O’s up, 3–0. To Brett Gardner’s defense, he almost came up with a spectacular catch but the ball was just over his glove.
The Yankees finally got to Bundy in the 4th. Starlin Castro led off with a single to left. Didi Gregorius followed with a line drive home run to right, bouncing off the railing, and it was a one-run game. Walks to Aaron Judge and Todd Frazier set the table for Jacoby Ellsbury. His chopper through the hole into right field scored Judge and the game was tied at 3.
Baltimore came right back in the bottom of the 4th when the first two batters reached on singles, but Chris Davis grounded into a double play and Wellington Castillo struck out to end the threat without scoring.
The Yankees didn’t miss their chance in the top of the 5th inning. Chase Headley looped a single to center and scored when Starlin Castro jumped on Bundy’s first pitch with a two-run shot to left. It was the end of the day for Bundy and a 5–3 lead for the Yankees.
Two insurance runs were added in the top of the 6th. Todd Frazier and Jacoby Ellsbury walked against O’s reliever Miguel Castro to start the inning. A sacrifice bunt rolling down the first base line by Austin Romine moved the runners to second and third. O’s Manager Buck Showalter pulled Castro and replaced him with Donnie Hart. Brett Gardner hit a grounder to short and was thrown out at first but Frazier scored on the play. After Chase Headley walked, Showalter made another pitching change and brought in Richard Rodriguez. Starlin Castro greeted Rodriguez with a single lined to center, scoring Ellsbury. The Yankees had increased their lead to 7–3.
The Yankees had a couple of hits in the top of the 7th, including a double by Todd Frazier, but were unable to capitalize, thanks to a double play on Greg Bird and a ground out by Austin Romine. Meanwhile, Yankees reliever Chad Green was mowing the Orioles down. He had taken over for Jordan Montgomery with two outs in the 5th inning, and pitched through the 7th (striking out the final three batters he faced).
Manager Joe Girardi turned the game over to David Robertson to start the 8th. It didn’t start well when D-Rob walked the first two batters. But he responded by striking out Jonathan Schoop and Adam Jones for the first two outs. Trey Mancini came up with a chance to make it a close game but his grounder to second ended the inning. ‘Bend but not break’ continues to be the theme lately with D-Rob.
For the 9th, it was time to turn the game over to the arm of Dellin Betances. Betances got the first two hitters out, but Wellington Castillo, in the midst of a career year with Baltimore, punched his 19th home run over the center field wall. The O’s had closed the gap to 7–4. Seth Smith was then inserted as a pinch-hitter for Joey Rickard but he went down swinging for the final out. Game over. Yankees win!
The Yankees (74–63) find themselves a mere 2 1/2 games behind the Boston Red Sox in the AL East Standings this morning. The Red Sox fell to the Toronto Blue Jays, 10–4. The win pushed the Orioles 4 1/2 games behind the Yankees. The Yankees also gained ground in the Wild Card Standings, moving 3 games ahead of the Minnesota Twins. The Twins lost, 11–4, to the Tampa Bay Rays.
The pitching star, no doubt, was Chad Green (3–0). He pitched 2 1/3 innings and didn’t give up any hits or runs. He struck out a total of four batters in picking up the win. It wasn’t a great effort by Jordan Montgomery but credit to him for not letting the dam burst when the Orioles scored their early runs.
The hitting star was Starlin Castro who was 3-for-5 with the two-run homer. Didi Gregorius deserves honorable mention for his two-run shot.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter sounded a little bitter about the expanded September rosters after the game. “There’s so many things that happen this time of the year,’’ said Showalter in his post-game comments. “They don’t make the moves they made in July and June. They’ve got all those bullets down there. They’ve got 12 people down there if you count Garcia. You’re able to do that. We couldn’t today because I had like three or four guys I wasn’t going use today. We had to do that to win the previous game. Everything is effect-counter-effect.” That’s fine, I’ll take the counter-effect…the Judge walks and the Castro/Gregorius homers…for the win.
Odds & Ends…
It’s tough when you are playing a team nipping at your heels, but Gary Sanchez began serving his three-game suspension (reduced from four games). So, El Gary will miss the Baltimore series and will resume play on Friday night in Arlington, Texas. Austin Romine becomes the starting catcher against the Orioles, backed by Erik Kratz. Romine’s suspension was reduced from three games to two, and he’ll begin serving his time when Sanchez returns. Then, sadly, the storied Yankees career of Erik Kratz will come to an end.
Prior to Monday’s game, Sanchez posted the following message on his FaceBook page:
The Yankees have recalled 2B/SS Tyler Wade. Wade could potentially see some time in the outfield with Aaron Hicks on the DL, but he also brings speed to the basepaths with 26 steals at Triple A. Wade won the International League batting title (.310) with the conclusion of the IL regular season yesterday.
Congratulations to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders for their 86–55 finish in the International League! They begin the play-offs against the Wild Card Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Phillies) tomorrow. The RailRiders finished 6 1/2 games better than the IronPigs in the IL North Division.
Have a great Tuesday! It’s back to work for many of us who enjoyed the long Labor Day Weekend but hopefully the Yankees keep putting in the hours for another victory. Go Yankees!