A rather light crowd in the Bronx tonight to watch the series opener against the visiting White Sox, still more than a few MLB stadium sellout crowds, but light for a big stadium like Yankee Stadium. But it was a pleasant evening for some baseball, and the Yankees decided to go for 8 straight wins.
And they did so behind the rookie starter Jordan Montgomery, making his 2nd start of his MLB career. Actually, Montgomery did a pretty stellar job for the majority of the game, pitching into the 7th inning with just 88 pitches. Overall, he allowed 7 hits, 2 walks, and 3 runs, and struck out 4 Chicago batters. However, he didn’t allow any runs until the 7th inning. After giving up 2 consecutive singles to kick off his final inning, he left a pitch linger too long in the strike zone that the batter decided to fire over the left field wall for a 3-run blast to get the White Sox finally on the board.
That would be it for Montgomery, so he turned the game over to Adam Warren. Going into this game, Warren had yet to allow a baserunner let alone a run, but that ended tonight. He gave up a walk in the middle of getting out of the 7th inning for Montgomery, but got the out before any further damage happened. Then after a fairly easy 8th, Warren struggled in the 9th. With 1 out, he gave up a single that promptly scored on a double to snap Warren’s scoreless streak.
So, the Yankees went to their sure thing — Aroldis Chapman. Chapman threw a grand total of 2 pitches. With just 1 out and a runner on 2nd, his 1st pitch became a single to put runners on the corners. His 2nd pitch became a ground out that the infield beautifully turned into a double play (the 4th of the night for the Yankees’ defense) and Chapman’s 4th save this season.
Meanwhile, the Yankees only needed 2 innings to make an impact tonight offensively. In the 3rd with 2 outs and Kozma and Hicks on the corners, Matt Holliday showed that his back was feeling better with a single monster swing to get the Yankees on the board with a 3-run home run straight into the left field bleachers at a projected 459 feet.
After that, the inning became a hit parade. Castro doubled and then scored on Chase Headley’s double, who ended up on 3rd thanks to a fielding error. Headley then scored on Aaron Judge’s single to cap off the Yankees for that inning as the Yankees sent up all 9 batters that inning alone. And in the 5th, with 2 outs and Castro on 1st with a single, Aaron Judge hit a big 2-run home run into the White Sox’s (the visitor’s) bullpen that forced the starter out of the game and give the Yankees a huge, solid lead.
They’d need it. The Yankees didn’t get another baserunner the rest of the game, while the White Sox chipped away at the lead, but certainly couldn’t overcome the power that is the Yankee offense right now (tonight getting 10 total hits off just the White Sox starter).
Final score: 7-4 Yankees
In case any of you were wondering: after being DFA’d last week to make room for tonight’s starter, the Yankees officially traded pitcher Johnny Barbato to the Pirates for a player to be named later or cash considerations.
Before the game tonight, Brett Gardner received a great award as the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year, Left Field. An award given to the best defensive player in each position. This used to be given out per league, but since 2014, it is the best player at each position regardless of league. The only other Yankee to win this award was former 2nd baseman Robinson Cano (now with the Mariners) in 2012 and 2013, when the awards were divided by league. A well-deserved honor for Gardner, who is consistently one of the best outfielders in the game, as we Yankee fans know very well.