The Yankees did not play well for the first eight innings but they miraculously scored six runs in the ninth inning to beat the Rangers, 9-7, on Wednesday night. The Yankees had been 0-36 when trailing after eight innings this season, but thanks to Didi Gregorius they are now 1-37.
The bats truly came alive for the Yankees in the bottom of the 9th to end their 3-game losing streak. Brett Gardner hit a single to center field that ended up scoring Rob Refsnyder on an error by Ian Desmond. Two batters later, Brian McCann hit a 3-run homer to drive in Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury to tie the game at seven.
After Starlin Castro walked, Didi Gregorius hit a 2-run homer that landed over the Lays sign in right field to give the Yankees a stunning walk-off win. Gregorius should be an All-Star this season based on how he has performed in the first half. Among shortstops in the American League, his .290 average is third highest, his seven homers are seventh highest, his 35 RBIs are fifth highest and he has played very good defense.
This was a big win for the Yankees because the offense, which has struggled for much of the season, was able to lead the team to a win against the best team in the American League.
Besides Gregorius, McCann was the offensive star of the game since he also hit a homer to right in the eighth inning. He hit his 11th and 12th homers of the season and he drove in four of the team’s nine runs.
McCann grabbed his knee after his first homer because he has some patella tendinitis, but he said that it wasn’t a big deal and he was obviously able to remain in the game.
“We got to show up everyday and put W’s on the board,” McCann said. “We have three months to get this done. I thought Cessa did a great job going three innings.”
Masahiro Tanaka, who has been the most consistent starter for the Yankees along with CC Sabathia, had a subpar performance as he allowed six runs in six innings pitched.
Tanaka tied his career worst in allowing six runs but after allowing five runs in the first three innings he was able able to pitch much more effectively the next three innings. “I gave up two easy hits, a walk and a double,” Tanaka said. “The damage was pretty much done there. I wish I had done better.”
Luis Cessa, who is a rookie from Mexico, got his first major league win as he pitched the seventh, eighth and ninth innings while only allowing one run on a homer to likely future Hall of Famer Adrian Beltre. He said he was a little nervous but he felt back to normal after his first pitch. He also said it was the best feeling ever after realizing he got the win. He was trying to put zeros on the board and that’s exactly what he did except for the solo homer.
When asked about his mindset when the Yankees were down by four runs Girardi said that as a manager he tries to stay even keeled because things can change quickly. That’s is exactly what happened in the ninth inning.
Girardi said that hopefully this win will give us some momentum going forward since the team needs to win games
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the only Yankees shortstops to hit a walk-off home run in the last 70 years were Mickey Mantle (1954 against the White Sox in a game he started in center field), Gene “Stick” Michael (1971 vs. Detroit) and Derek Jeter (2005 vs. Boston).
The Yankees play at 1:05 p.m. on Thursday in the series finale against the Rangers and they will look for their second win in a row against the team with the best record in the AL. A win will also give the Yankees a .500 record once again.