Game 71: TEX vs. NYY — #TanakaTime returns for pitching duel

So, it’s a bit soggy in the City, which led to an initial delay of 1 hour and 42 minutes of the first pitch. Though it should be noted that it was barely raining for most of the delay, while it certainly started coming down towards the end of tonight’s game. Not that it seemed to dampen the efforts of either the Yankees or the visiting Rangers.

Masahiro Tanaka got back into the swing of things with a great outing, throwing 100 pitches in 8 innings, giving up just 3 hits and 2 walks, striking out 9 Texas batters. He even went long stretches tonight where he just plowed right through the roster (16 was the longest tonight). Of course, he was matched for most of the evening with his former Japanese league opponent, heading up things from the Rangers’ dugout. And the Yankees’ offense was able to help support him It was your basic run-of-the-mill pitching duel between two really stellar pitchers, who got all the way to the “old days” in their home country.

But with the score still scoreless,  both teams were also searching for the elusive offensive contribution that would send them to the victory lane. Aroldis Chapman took over for Tanaka in the 9th and had a bit of trouble with his control. With 1 out, a single moved to 2nd on a hit-by-pitch, stole 3rd, and then scored on a passed ball-strikeout combination.

So with somebody on the board finally, the Yankees needed to do something to not lose this game. And they did in the bottom of the 9th with Brett Gardner’s nice 1-out solo home run to tie up the game and send it into extra innings.

Chad Green came out to see to a quick 10th inning, but struggled a bit along the way thanks to a lead-off batter reaching on a fielding error. That runner moved to 2nd on a ground out before a walk put 2 runners on base and Green was done for the night. Chasen Shreve got his turn, and after another out, he loaded the bases with a walk, but then got out of the 10th with a pop-up.

And with that bit of grace, the Yankees had their chance to do something and break the tie. in the bottom of the 10th. Gary Sanchez hit a 1-out single, moved to 3rd on Gregorius’ single, and then scored on Ronald Torreyes’ single for a walk-off hit.

Final score: 2-1 Yankees, in 10 innings

Chase Headley was out for the second day in a row due to “back spasms”. However much Headley’s veteran presence is missing on the field, the Yankees are making up for it in their own way. Plus, Torreyes seems to make a pretty good substitution. Like hitting winning walk-off hits and making slick plays in the infield.

And for something a little different and fun: if you’re not following Didi Gregorius on Twitter, it’s probably  be because you don’t have Twitter. Because it’s amazing. He’s created an entire symbolic alphabet of sorts to celebrate each of his fellow teammates’ participation in the victory. So, it’s become a thing of rather epic proportions — deciphering his Twitter.

Go Yankees!

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