AL Wild Card: MIN vs. NYY — Rough start, solid finish thanks to big bats

The last time the Yankees won a postseason game was the 2012 ALDS, game 5, against the Orioles, Raul Ibanez was dubbed “King of New York” for his postseason heroics, and Derek Jeter would break his ankle diving for a ball in the 12th inning in the next game, game 1 of the ALCS against the Tigers. In other words, things were very different five years ago.

Tonight, the Yankees moved onto the ALDS after defeating the Twins in the winner-take-all Wild Card Game. It took nearly four hours in front of a sold-out crowd in the Bronx, and it took all of the energy and emotions to electrify the fans during the game.

We are all human and thus have off-nights. But for Luis Severino, tonight was one of the worst possible times to experience an off-night. And Girardi continued his recent short-leash for the pitching staff. Severino threw just 29 pitches in the 1st inning, giving up 4 hits, a walk, and 3 runs. He didn’t make it out of that 1st inning.

Severino gave up a lead-off home run, a 1-out walk, a 2-run home run, a single, and a double before Girardi had enough. With runners firmly in scoring position and just 1 out, Severino’s outing was over. So Chad Green was called in early to do Chad Green things. He quickly got out of the 1st inning with 2 solid strikeouts to strand the Twins runners. He breezed his way through the 2nd inning, but found some trouble in the 3rd inning loading up the bases with a single and 2 walks (and just 1 out).

While Green was responsible for all the runners as he passed the torch to David Robertson. The first batter hit into a fielder’s choice (a late double play) that scored the lead runner, but then Robertson got the first of his 5 strikeouts (of his 10 total outs) in his outing tonight. And Robertson’s outing was easily the best thing from the mound today, throwing 52 pitches over 3.1 pitches. It was stellar and ended up being the perfect recipient for the eventual win.

Tommy Kahnle was called on to close out the 6th for Robertson and then breeze his way through the 7th and 8th innings in just 29 pitches. Aroldis Chapman’s 9th inning was pretty good too, hitting 103 mph pitches as if they were nothing, and getting all 3 outs as strikeouts. The final out came as a beautiful swing, the whole stadium on its feet, the place alive with energy and hope.

Now, beyond the great job of the bullpen, which had to start so very early tonight, the Yankees’ offense actually worked tonight too. The Twins’ starter had his own rough night, only lasting 2 innings and throwing a whopping 64 pitches over that short time span. In the 1st, Gardner led-off with a walk, and Judge singled to put runners in the corners. With 1 out, it would fall to Didi Gregorius to his a big 3-run home run to tie up the game at that point, so very early on in the night.

Brett Gardner added a run in the 2nd with a 2-out solo home run that bounced off the front row barrier of the 2nd deck of the right field seats. With the starter out, the Yankees faced the Twins bullpen, which clearly isn’t nearly as good as the Yankees’, so the Yankees kept adding to their score.

In the 3rd, Sanchez led-off with a double and then scored on Greg Bird’s 2-out single. And Gardner hit a 1-out single in the 4th and then scored on Aaron Judge’s first postseason homer, a 2-run home run bouncing off the top of the left-field wall for a couple more insurance runs.

The Twins bullpen was able to focus in and keep the Yankees from adding more to their score. Until the 7th inning, that is. Judge led-off with a walk and then ended up at 3rd on Sanchez’s single and a throwing error. Gregorius was intentionally walked to load up the bases, and the Twins got their first out of the inning. A new reliever got a strikeout, and another new reliever promptly walked Aaron Hicks to walk in Judge to add just one more run to the score.

Look, both teams started off really messy and shaky, but both teams pulled it together to show how matched they really were. And it ended Yankees-side up.

Final score: 8-4 Yankees

So, now the Yankees advance to the ALDS against Indians in Cleveland on Thursday, for the best-of-5 game series. Just a reminder, the format goes 2 games in Cleveland, 2 games in the Bronx, and 1 game back in Cleveland, if necessary. The first team to win 3 games advances to the ALCS. But first, tomorrow night, we shift to the National League to watch their Wild Card game between the Rockies and Diamondbacks.

Before tonight’s game, the Yankees held a moment of silence for the victims of the Las Vegas tragedy. They asked reliever and Las Vegas native Chasen Shreve to throw out the ceremonial first pitch in their honor.

Go Yankees!

Game 159: TB vs. NYY — Division hopes get pear-shaped

You know how you have one of those days where everything is working out in your favor, and then suddenly, everything goes pear-shaped and you just can’t do anything about it. Yeah, that was the Yankees’ Thursday night in the Bronx tonight. Much to the chagrin of basically everyone in Yankees’ universe.

Sonny Gray actually had a pretty good night for a good portion of his outing. Through his first 4 innings tonight, Gray threw just 58 pitches, gave up 2 hits, a walk, and a run. In the 1st, he gave up a 1-out solo home run to get the Rays on the board early. But he really reined it in and pushed the Yankees through a solid next few innings.

But then, Gray just kind of collapsed in the 5th inning. With 1 out, he gave up 2 singles to put runners on the corners. A wild pitch scored one run and a throwing error moved the other runner to 3rd. After a nice strikeout allowed the Yankees to hope the inning was almost over, it was not to be. Gray promptly walked the next batter and then gave up a big 2-run home run. After yet another allowed single, that would be it for Gray tonight.

Jonathan Holder came on in relief of Gray, but just couldn’t find that final out either. He hit his first batter with a pitch, gave up a single that scored one runner, and a big triple that scored the remaining 2 runners. That would be it for him too.

It would Chasen Shreve to get the final out of the 5th inning, a sigh of relief in the form of a strikeout. Shreve was breezing through the 6th until he gave up a pinch-hit solo home run, followed by a walk. Girardi wasn’t about to see a repeat of the previous inning, so he went back to the bullpen for Heller. Heller was very strong through the 7th and 8th innings as well, before handing the game to Gallegos who breezed through the 9th in just 12 pitches.

Remember, when I said things were great for the Yankees at first? They really were. Brett Gardner liked the 2nd pitch of the 1st inning and sent it into the 2nd deck of the right field seats for a lead-off home run. Aaron Judge followed that up with his own solo home run (that landed really close to where Gardner’s landed) to get the Yankees on the board early.

In the 2nd, with 1 out, Ellsbury singled, moved to 2nd on a passed ball, and then scored on Todd Frazier’s single. Greg Bird added to the score with a lead-off solo home run in the 4th inning after the Rays pulled their starter.

With another pitcher in the 5th (after the disastrous top of the inning), the Yankees were looking for a big comeback. Gardner led-off with a walk, moved to 2nd when Sanchez was hit by a pitch, ended up a 3rd on a fielder’s choice, and then scored on Starlin Castro’s single.

The Rays were able to piece together a better bullpen again, which didn’t help the Yankees in their efforts to reduce the deficit of runs. In the 9th inning, with yet another reliever on for the Rays, pinch-hitter Aaron Hicks jumped in and smacked a 1-out solo home run that bounced off the bench in the Yankees’ bullpen to get the Yankees back in the game. But 2 outs later, the game was done.

Pear-shaped hit rock-bottom.

Final score: 9-6 Rays, Yankees win series 2-1

Postseason Prep: What makes tonight’s loss even harder to swallow is that the Red Sox were so dominated tonight by the Astros (12-2), keeping the Red Sox at 3 games ahead of the Yankees in the standings. The Yankees host the Blue Jays starting tomorrow for the final series of the season. Basically, in order to win the AL East at this point, the Astros need to sweep the Red Sox (go Astros!) and the Yankees need to sweep the Blue Jays.

On this day in Yankees History: on Sept. 28, 1968, Yankees icon and legend Mickey Mantle played his final career game actually at Fenway. He started the game and hit 3rd in the order. In the 1st inning, he popped out and was promptly replaced (at his request). He just wanted one final game, one final at-bat. He was almost 37, at the height of his alcoholism, and still dealing with a lingering terrible hip injury. He was done with baseball that day nearly 50 years ago, but he spent the next 27 years of his life becoming a better man personally and cherishing the memories he made on the field. So a tip of the cap in memory of old #7.

Go Yankees!

Game 152: MIN vs. NYY — Sweep dreams of postseason potential this afternoon

In today’s afternoon finale against the Twins, the Yankees went in with every intention to sweep their potential Wild Card opponents and press on to closing that gap between them and the AL East leaders. The Yankees did both. Hopefully, but more on that later.

Luis Severino is technically being set up for the first game in the postseason, potentially the one-off Wild Card game. But fingers crossed he’s more #SevySharp and less whatever he was today. Yes, Severino was certainly less than sharp today, throwing 71 pitches in just 3 innings, giving up 5 hits, a walk, and 3 runs, and striking out just 3 Minnesota batters. To borrow a popular phrase the Yankees skipper often says in press conferences: “it’s not what you want”.

But to be fair, it wasn’t really bad until Severino’s final inning. Outside of that, he allowed just 1 hit, no runs, and no walks. He just wasn’t quite finding it today. All of those allowed runs came in the 3rd inning. With 1 out, Severino gave up 2 singles and a walk to load up the bases. Another single scored the Twins’ first run, and one more single scored 2 more runs. Severino then focused in and got those other 2 outs of the inning, but he was just not having a good day. And as we’re down to just 10 games of the season, every single game matters. Every pitch, every out, every strike, every hit, every run matters. There’s no more leash allowed.

So that was it for Severino. But the game was in good hands. Chasen Shreve came on and just breezed his way through the middle third of the game. Shreve pitches just 33 pitches through 3 innings, setting himself up for the eventual win. Heller came on in the 7th and kept things scoreless, German’s final 2 innings were near perfect, adding 4 more strikeouts and holding the Twins to those 3 early runs scored.

Technically, any team that scores second and then takes the lead becomes a “come-from-behind” win, even when they come from behind to dominate. I’m not a fan of this terminology, as it puts home teams at a weird language disadvantage (though not a physical one). The Yankees weren’t the underdogs today, in any sense of the word. Not that the Twins were, but the Yankees just played better. They played better the entire series, so it is a deserved win overall.

Anyway, with the Twins leading, getting onto the board first in the top of the 3rd inning, the Yankees saw their opportunity against the Twins’ starter, who was having a less-than-stellar day today as well. Bird led off the bottom of the 3rd with a double and then scored as part of Aaron Judge’s 45th homer of the season, a big 1-out 2-run home run into the right field corner seats. Gary Sanchez backed that up with his own home run, a solo shot up the middle, his 32nd of the season, to tie up the game right then and there.

Then in the 4th, Ellsbury hit a 1-out triple, watched Frazier work a walk, and then scored on Greg Bird’s double. That was it for the Twins’ veteran starter, but their bullpen didn’t have good luck out the gate, which was great for the Yankees’ momentum. Brett Gardner singled to score Frazier for that insurance run. After another out, Sanchez singled to score Bird. So with 2 runners on base, Didi Gregorius smacked a 3-run home run into the right field seats to ensure the Yankees victory today.

And into the 5th, with a new reliever on the mound, Holliday singled, Ellsbury walked, and a fly out moved Holliday to 3rd. A wild pitch then scored Holliday. Then the Yankees loaded the bases with Bird’s single and Gardner’s hit-by-pitch. And the Twins knew they needed to stop this free-for-all and called in a new reliever again. First, Aaron Judge’s sacrifice fly easily scored Ellsbury, and then Sanchez’s single loaded up the bases again. But a strikeout on a foul tip stranded all on the bases looking to add more runs to the Yankees’ big lead.

But they didn’t need to. And they really wouldn’t get much more chances. A few more hits (15 total today), but nothing collectively to add more.

But again, they really didn’t need to pad their lead any more.

Final score: 11-3 Yankees, Yankees sweep series 3-0.

PSP: Sometimes, I try to stall posting this blog a few extra minutes so that I can add information about upcoming opponents or waiting on a milestone or injury news. But I won’t do that today. The opponent the Yankees are watching constantly is the Red Sox, and they don’t play until tonight. So for now, that means the Yankees are just 2 1/2 games behind the Red Sox in the AL East. (Go Orioles tonight!)

In other numbers, the Yankees are floating around the “magic number” that means they are officially in the postseason. Currently, that number is 4. Yes, that means, the Yankees need 4 games to clinch postseason, and there are only 10 games left of the season. We shall see how that all pans out in the next coming weeks.

Also, in the 5th inning today, Todd Frazier hit a foul ball line drive into the seats and it directly hit a young girl. She was treated on the scene and taken to a local hospital for further treatment. Due to HIPPA medical privacy laws, there isn’t much more information at this time. But our thoughts and prayers are with her and her family right now as she recovers.

Go Yankees!

Game 148: BAL vs. NYY — Monty keeps up the momentum

The Yankees continue their drive towards the postseason with momentum. This is the one part of the schedule that is clearly working in the Yankees’ favor. Yesterday’s win was Joe Girardi’s 900th win as the manager of the Yankees, joining the likes of the legendary Joe Torre and Casey Stengel. And that is certainly helping that aforementioned momentum.

Jordan Montgomery had a much better outing than any other one in the recent month, setting himself up for the first win since July. He threw 95 pitches in his 6 innings, gave up 4 hits and a walk, and struck out 6 batters, all while keeping the Orioles completely scoreless. Kahnle and Heller continued that scoreless streak through the next two innings.

Chasen Shreve found some trouble in the 9th inning. He gave up a 1-out walk that scored on a 2-run home run before loading up the bases with 3 consecutive walks on 2 outs. Giovanni Gallegos came on to stop the anti-momentum of Shreve, which was odd enough in itself. He unfortunately promptly balked to move all the runners up that also scored another run for the Orioles. But then he got a strikeout to close out the game.

Meanwhile, the Yankees pressed into the Orioles’ pitching staff enough to force their starter out of the game in just the 4th inning. In the 3rd, with 2 outs, Headley and Judge worked walks and then were part of Didi Gregorius’ 3-run home run into the right field seats to get the Yankees on the board. Then in the 4th, Ellsbury doubled and Todd Frazier walked, so Greg Bird’s 5th homer of the season became a 3-run home run to double the Yankees’ lead. And that would be it for the O’s starter.

In the 5th, with 1 out, Gregorius singled, moved to 2nd on Castro’s hit-by-pitch, and then scored on Jacoby Ellsbury’s single. And with a new pitcher in the 7th, Gregorius led off with a single and then scored as part of Todd Frazier’s 2-out 2-run home run up the middle to cap off the Yankees’ big offense tonight. (And the “thumbs-down” thing is still a thing apparently.)

The biggest downfall for Yankee pitchers tonight, which fortunately didn’t go against them that much, was the 8 total allowed walks. That stat has to improve as against another team that would take advantage of that, that could be quite detrimental to the Yankees’ hopes for October baseball.

Final score: 9-3 Yankees

Roster moves: before today’s game, the Yankees recalled reliever Jonathan Holder (who pitched rather well again this afternoon) and infielder Miguel Andujar from AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Andujar made his MLB debut today late in the game as a DH substitute, and for his first MLB at-bat, he grounded out. That first hit is coming.

Postseason prep: well, the Red Sox won their marathon game last night against the Rays in the 15th inning, after getting 7 runs in that final inning to beat the home team 13-6. That kept the Red Sox 3 games ahead of the Yankees, and after tonight’s win against the Rays, they remain that 3 games ahead of the Yankees in the AL East. Again, it’s still very much “Go, Rays!” this weekend, while the Yankees need a final win tomorrow to sweep the Orioles and head into their final 2 weeks of the season with that winning momentum.

Go Yankees!

Game 140: NYY vs. TEX — Dropping an easy lead doesn’t help postseason hopes

Both the Rangers and Yankees are battling for the postseason, so this weekend’s series is extremely important for both teams for very different reasons. The Yankees are hoping to breathe down the Red Sox’s neck and possibly snag that lead spot from them in the AL East and force them to be the first Wild Card spot. The Rangers are just a few games out of the second Wild Card spot and hoping to up their game wins to finagle a chance for the postseason. It’s that time of year where anything can happen, and it usually does.

The Yankees struck first against the Rangers in tonight’s opener at Arlington, giving themselves a nice lead early in the game. Perhaps a bit too early. In the 2nd, they quickly loaded up the bases thanks to 2 singles and a throwing error and no outs. Jacoby Ellsbury singled home one, and Todd Frazier was hit by a pitch to walk in another run. Two outs later, Gary Sanchez singled and scored 2 more runs, but Frazier was out on his way to 3rd base to end the inning. And with 2 outs in the 3rd, Didi Gregorius followed up that big inning with a nice solo home run to cap off the Yankees’ run tonight. {Media note: for some reason, the only clip for Gregorius’ home run in the Espanol version.}

So with that nice, hefty lead, the Yankees looked to their starter, Masahiro Tanaka, who just needed to maintain a semblance of order from the mound. But instead, he left far too many pitches up and not enough in Sanchez’s catcher’s mitt. Pitching into the 5th inning, Tanaka threw 81 pitches, gave up 8 hits and 7 runs, and still struck out 7 Texas batters. A solo home run led off the 2nd to put the Rangers on the board. And they chipped away at the lead in the 3rd. A 1-out single scored on a nice double, and then that runner scored on another double.

In the 5th, a lead-off single promptly scored on a double, and a single put runners in the corners, who then moved up a base on a wild pitch scoring the tying run. After another allowed double, and still no outs in the inning, Tanaka was done for the night, still responsible for the 2 runners on base. Tommy Kahnle came in and gave up a single that scored both those runners to give the Rangers the lead. Chasen Shreve came on for the final out of the inning before throwing a scoreless 6th.

Oh, but the damage was done yet. Caleb Smith had a rather rough going when he came on in the 7th. He quickly loaded up the bases with a single, wild pitch, walk, and another single before getting the hook himself. Ben Heller then tried to keep things under control but struggled himself. A sacrifice fly scored one run, and a single another. But it would be the 2-run triple to cap off the night for the Rangers and finalize their now solid lead over the Yankees. Bryan Mitchell came on to close out that inning before finding a scoreless 8th.

The Yankee batters after that 3rd inning struggled to do much more with their offense. The Rangers’ pitchers effectively shut them down for the final third of the game, including a 3-strikeout 9th inning that made the home crowd very happy. Yankee pitchers gave up 15 hits, despite their 11 total strikeouts, while the Yankee batter managed just 8 hits (all off the Rangers’ starter and all far too early in the game).

Final score: 11-5 Rangers

Austin Romine sat out tonight’s game as a result of his suspension appeal after the melee in Detroit a few weeks ago. Romine was the one who the upset Tigers’ batter initially felt compelled to take out his aggressions on that started the whole benches-clearing incident. Originally issued a 2-game suspension, upon appeal, it was reduced to a single game, which he took tonight. Fortunately, the Yankees missed no solid catching time, as Sanchez just came off his own sentence from the same incident to catch tonight’s game.

And looking ahead, with yet another hurricane barreling down on the southeast, safety is always a priority. The Yankees were originally scheduled to play the Rays in St. Petersburg right after this series in Texas, but it looks like Hurricane Irma may cause some problems for the state of Florida and most of its upcoming sporting events are being rescheduled or relocated. Out of consideration, the Mets have opened their home field to the teams for the games as they will be hitting the road themselves after this weekend. Tampa area fans with tickets can find out information about refunds and exchanges, while New York area fans can get tickets to the series at Citi Field beginning tomorrow (Sept. 9) at 10 am.

Go Yankees!

Game 136: BOS vs. NYY — #SevySharp to narrow Red Sox’s division lead

Well, that helped narrow things a bit. The Yankees have the luxury of being in the same division with the lowest ranked division leader in the AL. All that means is that no one has run away with the AL East just yet (unlike a few other divisions across the league). In other words, the postseason race is still very much on, and the Yankees are very much in it.

Luis Severino was just spectacular once again in tonight’s start, throwing just 87 pitches in his 6 innings, giving up just 2 hits and a lone unearned run, and solidly striking out 9 Boston batters. In fact, he didn’t give up that run until his final inning. Two fielding errors allowed 2 runners to reach base safely and into scoring position before a passed ball scored the lead runner. In other words, it was a momentary slip in the defense that allowed a run to score and not Severino’s great night.

Now, the Yankees gave Severino enough run support that he didn’t have to push himself tonight. Chase Headley got things started with a lead-off solo home run in the 3rd. Then Matt Holliday and Todd Frazier hit back-to-back solo home runs in the 4th to give the Yankees a solid lead.

Part of the reason this was rather impressive is that the Red Sox had their almost unstoppable ace starter (who’s regularly in the conversation when it comes to AL Cy Young candidates this year), but he clearly was having a bad night and gave the Yankees plenty of room to make a dent against him. The Red Sox also pulled him in the 5th inning after he’d racked up 109 pitches already before calling on 6 relievers to try to stop the Yankees. It didn’t really work in the long run.

Now, with the Red Sox barely on the board in the 6th, the Yankees answered back in the bottom of that inning. Holliday led-off by working a walk, and 1-out later, the Red Sox dug back into their bullpen for a new reliever. Ellsbury singled and Gardner walked to load up the bases, and yet another reliever was called out. After another strikeout and those loaded bases, Gary Sanchez stepped up to the plate. He hit the ball and it was initially called a ground out in the relay, but the Yankees challenged the timing of the play. And then won. And that made all the difference.

As a result of Sanchez’s awarded single, Holliday scored a run, and the bases were still loaded. So Starlin Castro hit a solid double that cleared the bases and just solidified the Yankees’ eventual victory. Only to be followed by Aaron Judge’s monster 2-run home run (his 38th of the season) deep into the left field seats.

After Severino left the game with a rather secure lead, the Yankees turned to their bull pen for the final third of the game. First up was Tommy Kahnle, who struggled at first, giving up a walk and single before buckling down and getting his 3 needed outs. Chasen Shreve then breezed through the 8th inning in just 13 pitches.

Giovanni Gallegos had some issues of his own in the 9th. A lead-off single moved to 2nd on a wild pitch before Gallegos got 2 outs. A walk allowed another base runner before a single scored a run for the Red Sox. Gallegos got final batter swinging at an ironically high slider.

To be perfectly fair, both pitching staff got 28 strikeouts, but the Yankee batters got 13 total hits off Boston pitchers. But if we’re being frank here, it was the 4 total home runs by Yankee batters that really did the most damage.

Final score: 9-2 Yankees, Yankees win series 3-1

Injury news: on a long catch in yesterday’s game, Aaron Hicks strained his oblique. He’s just off the DL for another oblique injury, but this one is on the opposite side and seems quite a bit less severe. So I doubt he’ll be out of the lineup for long.

In trivia news: tonight’s starter Luis Severino threw his 200th strikeout this season, making him the 2nd Yankee to throw 200+ strikeouts in a single season age 23 and under. The only other Yankee pitcher to do so that young was Al Downing in 1964, and no other pitcher has done this since 2009 (Felix Hernandez, Seattle).

And the Yankees and Red Sox decided to team up today for a final show of support for the people of Texas just now beginning to dry out and recover from Hurricane Harvey. Both teams signed a big Texas flag that team managers Girardi and Farrell unfurled at home plate before tonight’s game, and both teams set up online auction sites to allow fans to bid on special products in which all proceeds will go to relief efforts in Texas.

The Yankees are selling game-used jerseys, a signed home plate, autographed caps, and more. (As of this post, the Aaron Judge game-used jersey is currently sitting at over $9000, but there are plenty of signed caps from the stellar bullpen guys still sitting at the minimum bid of $100 for any interested fans.) The Red Sox‘s online site has similar items for their own fans. The auction closes in a week (September 10) to ensure all profits make it to the recipients soon to begin recovery efforts.

Boston and New York both understand the national response and support from the entire baseball community after their own tragedies — 9/11 and the Boston Marathon bombing, and Hurricane Sandy hit both areas hard. So it is a natural response to stand with the hard-hit areas after Hurricane Harvey and do what we can to help them come back stronger than ever. Just as the country did for Boston and New York during their time of need and healing. Our continued thoughts and prayers are with those just beginning to recover from the storm and its massive flooding.

Go Yankees!

Game 130: CLE vs. NYY — Uphill battle against the ace, #ForHouston

There was nothing inherently wrong with how Luis Severino pitched today. I mean, it wasn’t ideal in that he ended up with a loss, but overall, had there been enough run-support, we’d be having a different conversation in this blog post. Of course, a wonky strike zone didn’t help either.

To kick off the first game of this mid-week series against the Indians, the Yankees turned to Severino. Again, he actually had a pretty great game, throwing 108 pitches into the 7th inning, giving up 4 hits, 3 walks, and 4 runs (3 earned), and striking out 9 Cleveland batters. His biggest flaw was giving up 2 different 2-out solo home runs to the same batter in the 1st and 6th innings. He then gave up a 1-out solo shot in the 7th, a single, and then a strikeout before getting the hook.

Adam Warren came on in relief, but left that runner to Severino’s record. The runner made a dash for 2nd, but a missed catch error allowed him to make it all the way to 3rd where a wild pitch would score him (hence the unearned run on the starter’s stats). Warren finally got a ground out to end the 7th inning, and ended up giving up a 1-out solo home run in the 8th that caused a bit of a ruckus. A fan did the stupid thing and reached for it. It bounced off his hands and onto the field.

Now, fan interference generally is ruled as an automatic double, but if the video can show the ball would’ve been out, it’s ruled a home run. The trajectory had the ball bouncing off the top of the left field wall, and thus a home run which was upheld by the umpire review. {Media note: the attached video link doesn’t show it so clearly, but it was going to be a home run despite the poor fan.} The right call, but a bummer for the run scoring and the guy who could have been escorted from the stadium for interfering with the state of play. At the very least, the fans in his section would make the rest of the game rather uncomfortable.

Chasen Shreve’s 9th didn’t really go much smoother. A 1-out walk scored on an RBI double. And with a runner lingering at 3rd on a wild pitch Shreve got the last 2 outs (all 3 of his outs were strikeouts, by the way) to keep the Indians from adding much more to their lead.

The Yankees, on the other hand, seemed to be waiting for a rally they just never had. To be perfectly fair, the Indians’ starter tonight is an easy nominee for the Cy Young Award this season, continuing his stellar breakout season that helped his team make it all the way to the World Series. The Yankees didn’t hit much off him — just 3 hits and a walk in his 8 innings.

One of those hits was Chase Headley’s lead-off solo home run in the 3rd. The other 2 hits came in the 5th with 2 outs. Ellsbury doubled and then scored on Todd Frazier’s single. But that would be it for the Yankees against the Indians’ starter.

While the Yankee pitching staff certainly got more strikeouts (12 overall), the only stat that matters is runs scored. And tonight, the Yankees fell a bit short.

Final score: 6-2 Indians

In other news around the league (a rare feature in this blog): Due to the increasing destruction that Hurricane Harvey is inflicting on the Texas and northwestern Gulf area, the Astros-Rangers series that is scheduled to begin tomorrow will be played at the Rays’ home in Tropicana Field. The Rays are on the road, currently in Kansas City, which might see the outer bands of the storm later this week. It’s a logical and kind thing to do for the teams, so that they can finish out their season (especially Houston as it continues to dominate the AL).

If you’re in the Tampa area and want to catch the game, tickets are $10 general admission. They’re using the hashtag #ForHouston as part of the promotion, so even if you can’t go, you can use the hashtag on your social media account to remind people to be proactive and get involved in relief efforts in some way.

If you’re looking for a way to donate or help, the Astros’ Spring Training facility in West Palm Beach will be accepting donations starting tomorrow that will be later taken to the relief centers in Houston. The Astros Foundation and ownership will be donating $4 million to relief efforts, including the American Red Cross. This follows MLB and the MLB Players Association’s announcement of its own donation of $1 million for relief efforts. And for the rest of the season, the Astros will use their 50/50 raffle during games to raise money for the American Red Cross’ relief efforts in the Houston area.

Our hearts and prayers are with those in the path of the storm, who are still watching flood waters rise around them. New York knows what it means to survive and ride out the worst disasters, so we stand with you in the midst of the storm and by your side once recovery begins. Stay safe.

Go Yankees!