The Yanks (94-59) got off to a 6-0 lead, and hung on to beat the Bad News Bears (um, the 44-109 Baltimore Orioles) Friday night, 10-8.
With the win, the Yanks remain 1 1/2 games ahead of Oakland for that top wild card spot and to have the one-game sudden-death wild card game played in the Bronx.
Magic Numbers: 7 over the A’s for the top wild card spot (because the Yanks own the tiebreaker). 2 over Tampa Bay for the bottom wild card spot.
Didi Gregorius hit his 27th HR to put the Yanks up 2-0 in the first inning.
They got four more in the fourth. Neil Walker doubled with one out, and Gleyber Torres singled him in. Torres stole second, went to third on a passed ball, and scored on an Austin Romine groundout. 4-0. Brett Gardner walked and Aaron Hicks homered (25) to make it 6-0. The Yanks now have 249 HR on the season, and are on pace to tie the all-time record of 264, set by the 1997 Seattle Mariners.
Hicks became the fifth Yankee this year to hit the 25 HR mark. Gleyber Torres needs two more to become the sixth.
Then, it seems, manager Aaron Boone got a little too cute in utilizing his bullpen and that could have cost the Yankees the game.
With two out, CC Sabathia gave up two runs in the fifth. 6-2.
In the seventh, Boone brought in Jonathan Loaisiga to replace CC. He immediately gave up a HR, 6-3. Single. Strikeout but a stolen base and an E2 on Romine put the runner on third. Zach Britton came in and gave up a single, 6-4, before getting out of the inning.
The Yanks came back with three in the bottom of the inning. Hicks singled, Judge walked and McCutchen singled in a run. Judge was out on a fielder’s choice, caught in a rundown which put runners on second and third with one out. Luke Voit then singled in two runs. 9-4.
Here is where Boone got a bit too cute and almost blew the game. Instead of leaving Britton in, Boone brought in Stephen Tarpley, who got a strikeout. Fine.
But instead of leaving Tarpley in after he faced one batter and struck him out, Boone now brings in A.J. Cole, who gives up a walk and a HR. 9-6.
Cole gets a pop up for the second out, then a bunt single. In comes David Robertson, who promptly gives up a 2-run HR before getting the last out of the inning. 9-8.
The Yanks got an insurance run in the eighth when with two out, Hicks singled and Aaron Judge doubled him home.
Dellin Betances closed it out in the ninth.
But that eighth inning was too close for comfort. Why remove Britton after just 2/3 and why remove Tarpley after just one batter?
The Yanks have to sweep Baltimore. With the A’s breathing down the Yanks’ throats and the Yanks having seven games at Tampa Bay and Boston to close the season, in order to ensure that the wild card game is played in the Bronx, sweeping the Orioles is almost an imperative.
Hicks 2 hits, scored 4 runs, 2 RBI, walked 2x. HR
Judge 2 hits, RBI
Gregorius 2 RBI, HR
Voit 2 RBI
Sabathia (W, 8-7, 3.77) 6 IP, 2 R, 6 H, 3 W, 5 K. Career win #245.
Loaisiga 1/3 IP, 2 R, 2 H, 0 W, 1 K. Gave up 1 HR. 5.82
Britton (H, 9) 2/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 0 K. 3.35 (Balt/NYY)
Tarpley 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K. 5.40
Cole 1/3 IP, 3 R, 2 H, 1 W, 1 W, 0 K. Gave up 1 HR. 5.74 (Wash/NYY)
Robertson (H, 20) 1/3 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 0 W, 0 K. Gave up 1 HR. 2.93
Betances (S, 4) 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 1 K. 2.69