Game 68: LAA vs. NYY — Skidding out of 1st place

Well, coming home didn’t help the Yankees’ West Coast skid, now on a 7-game losing streak. Maybe it’s because they technically brought the West Coast with them starting this mid-week series against the Angels. This also means that the Yankees have slipped out of 1st place in the AL East to the (ugh!) Red Sox.

And here’s how that happened tonight…

Michael Pineda actually had a pretty decent outing tonight, after a bit of a messy start. He threw 105 pitches into the 6th inning, giving up 7 hits, a walk, and 3 runs (only 1 earned), and striking out 7 Angels’ batters. In the 1st, a lead-off double scored on an RBI single to get the Angels on the board (the only earned run allowed by Pineda). The lead-off batter in the 2nd reached on a fielding error, ending up at 2nd as a result, and then scored on a 1-out double. That batter then scored on a 2-out single to give the Angels an easy early (and mostly unearned) lead.

Meanwhile, the Yankees took advantage of the Angels starter, who only gave up 2 hits, but also 5 walks in his 5 innings. In the 4th, Castro led-off with a single, moved to 2nd on Sanchez’s walk, to 3rd on a fly out, and then scored on Chase Headley’s sacrifice fly. Aaron Judge hit a 2-out solo home run, his 24th homer of the season, in the 5th. Then facing a new pitcher, Gary Sanchez hit a 1-out solo home run into the right field seats to tie up the game.

And things were looking good for the Yankees. Pineda finished his outing strong, handing the final out of the 6th to Chasen Shreve who used just 5 pitches to get that final strikeout. But Tyler Clippard just struggled out of the gate in the 7th inning, giving up a lead-off solo home run, a double, a fly out (yay!), and an RBI triple. And that was it for Clippard.

Jonathan Holder came on to stem the tide, but still had his own issues. An RBI single scored one more run, charged to Clippard. In the 8th, a lead-off ground-rule double moved to 3rd on a sacrifice bunt, and then scored on a single. And to cap off the game for the Angels, a player hit a 2-out solo homer up the middle.

And the Yankees’ offense against the Angels’ bullpen? Holliday’s double in the 8th. And that’s it. The Angels’ bullpen was showing their strength tonight in the Bronx, and the Yankees, well, weren’t.

Final scores: 8-3 Angels

Prospect watch: Yankees’ #2 prospect Gleyber Torres was pulled from a game on Saturday due to some soreness in his left elbow after an awkward slide. After some tests, it was revealed that Torres hyper-extended his elbow on that slide, tearing his ulnar collateral ligament (or UCL), which requires the surgery named for famed pitcher Tommy John to repair it. Because Torres is not a pitcher, nor is the injury in his actual throwing arm, the return to baseball activities is less than standard for the injury and surgery option. Torres will miss the rest of this year, and there is no set date for the surgery as of yet. Speedy recovery, kid.

And just a quick heads up: 20 of the 40 players drafted last week in the MLB draft have signed with the Yankees, but a few more (including the top 2 picks) are expected to exercise their option and sign on as well. Players can opt out of the selection and choose a different path for this next year, putting themselves up for the draft next year or doing something else entirely. But over 50% signed to be Yankees? And in the middle of this losing streak? Yeah, I’ll take it as a sign for good things to come for the organization.

Now, if only that can make that happen on the field… like this week… like tomorrow…

Go Yankees!

Game 63: NYY vs. LAA — Not quite a good night in the City of Angels

Angels Stadium is often called “Yankee Stadium West” because there is a rather large contingent of Yankee fans in the LA area who come out in droves for Angels-Yankees games every year. And that’s apparent by how much blue and white fill the cherry red seats and that the games are sold out in the middle of the week.

But I’m thinking it felt a little less like a second (or third?) home for the Yankees after this series. Despite the strength the Yankees showed this week, even coming from behind, it seemed to fall short in the end in these last two games. Pretty much faulting the less-than-ideal pitching show from both teams in the last 48 hours.

It’s really no surprise that the Yankees broke through right in the top of the game. Gardner led-off with a single and moved to 3rd on Judge’s 1-out single. After Judge stole 2nd (and has just 1 less stolen base than Gardner this year), Matt Holliday’s sacrifice fly scored Gardner to get the Yankees on the board. Castro was then hit by a pitch to set-up a big breakthrough by Gary Sanchez, who hit a great 3-run home run into the left field seats.

Michael Pineda certainly had an off-night tonight. He threw 102 pitches in his 6 innings, giving up 10 hits, a walk, and 5 runs overall, and striking out just 2 Angels batters. After the Yankees gave him a nice lead, Pineda struggled right from the start, giving up 3 singles to load the bases with 1 out. A sacrifice fly got the Angels on the board. It was only a sacrifice fly because of the amazing defensive skills of Aaron Hicks actually reached over the center field wall and caught it, robbing that batter of a grand slam that would’ve quickly tied up the game. But Pineda got out of the inning without further damage.

It didn’t last long. After a lead-off single in the 2nd, a 2-run home run edged the Angels closer to the Yankees’ lead. And in the 3rd, the lead-off single moved to 2nd and then 3rd on 2 ground outs. After a walk, Pineda threw a really messy wild pitch, which easily scored the runner from 3rd (the runner who is not fast at all, a veteran with a persistent injury and better known for some towering home runs) to tie up the game. Another single scored another run and put the Angels in the lead.

The Yankees came back to tie it all up again in the 6th. Sanchez led-off with a single and ended up at 2nd on a throwing error. After 1 out, Chase Headley hit a single which scored Sanchez, and then Headley got caught in a rundown between 1st and 2nd. The game was tied again, but it was only the 6th inning.

Pineda was able to fend off the Angels for the second half of his outing, but he handed over the game to recent call-up (see below) Ronald Herrera. Despite getting ahead in the 7th with 2 quick outs, Herrera gave up a walk and then a big 2-run home run to give the Angels back the lead. Herrera had trouble getting that 3rd out of the inning. The next batter was hit by a pitch and then stole 2nd, ending up at 3rd due to a throwing error (Sanchez having a bad defense day, but a great offense day). But then Herrera got the strikeout he needed to stop the Angels’ advance.

Like I said, neither pitching staff was really at their best tonight. The Angels’ starter only made it into the 4th inning due to a potential injury, and both teams gave up 26 collective hits and got just 9 total strikeouts.

Final score: 7-5 Angels, Angels win series 2-1

Injury news: after last night’s unexpected injury and exit, CC Sabathia was tested and examined for what caused the tightening of his hamstring. An MRI revealed a grade 2 hamstring strain, which makes a stint on the disabled list unavoidable. As of yet, the Yankees haven’t set a timetable or announced a rotation replacement (for Sunday’s start) or a corresponding roster move.

Roster moves: The Yankees have been busy moving people around. Chapman is working with the Tampa Yankees on his rehab assignment. After designating Tommy Layne for assignment, they ended up outrighting him to AAA Scranton (like I said, they still want him around). Before the game today, they optioned Ben Heller to AAA Scranton, recalling tonight’s newest addition to the bullpen Ronald Herrera from AA Trenton. And in completion of a trade made earlier (Johnny Barbato) with the Pirates, the Yankees picked up pitching prospect Matt Frawley.

And the final day of the MLB Draft was earlier today, and the Yankees filled out their draft choices with 19 pitchers, 4 outfielders, 5 infielders, and 2 catchers.

Pitchers: Shawn Semple, Harold Cortijo, Aaron McGarity, Garrett Whitlock, Ron Marinaccio, Bryan Blanton, Janson Junk, Colby Davis, Riley Thompson, Austin Crowson (L), Alex Mauricio, Shane Roberts, Tristan Beck, Jacob Stevens, Jordan Butler (L), Andrew Abbott (L), Tanner Burns, Brent Burgess, and Andrew Nardi (L)
Outfielders: Steven Sensley, Pat DeMarco, Jake Mangum, and Jimmy Herron
Infielders: Eric Wagaman (1B), Ricky Surum (SS), Chris Hess (2B), Alika Williams (SS), and Hayden Cantrelle (SS)
Catchers: Ryan Lidge and Steven Williams

Overall in the draft, the Yankees clearly sent a message as they sought 28 total pitchers, 5 outfielders, 5 infielders, and 2 catchers. In thinking back to these last few seasons, the biggest weakness is the pitching and the Yankees are clearly setting themselves up for a future of stronger pitching options. And prospective pitchers made good trade bait if the Yankees need to fill an offensive hole along the way. It was a good move for the organization.

Go Yankees!

Game 57: BOS vs. NYY — “El Gary” & Gardy rule the Bronx

Finishing a series on a win is always a good thing. Winning a series is always a good thing. Doing both of those in the Bronx against the Red Sox is a great thing. On another chilly day in the City, the Yankees faced off against their division and long-time rival Boston Red Sox to close out their mid-week series. And they did so with a rather large show of power.

This gave starter Michael Pineda a nice cushion to work from, which he did need from time to time. Pineda threw 110 pitches through his 7 innings, giving up just 4 hits, 2 walks, and 1 unearned run, striking out 8 Boston batters along the way. In the 4th, the lead-off batter reached 1st on a throwing error, moved to 2nd on a single, ended up at 3rd on a double play, and then scored on a passed ball.

The Red Sox did threaten at times, putting runners in scoring position four times. But Adam Warren threw a flawless 8th inning, breezing through the Red Sox in just 18 pitches, and Giovanni Gallegos got the first 2 outs of the 9th, including one great sliding catch by Ronald Torreyes. It would be closer Dellin Betances to create a dramatic flourish to the 9th inning — a walk, a strikeout wild pitch that allowed the batter to reach safely, and a walk to load up the bases — only to have Betances get a great strikeout on a wicked slider to end the game.

Meanwhile, the Yankees continued to give the Red Sox starter a really hard time. This same starter used to play with the Rays and the Tigers, so he’s faced the Yankees quite often. And consistently, the Yankees love hitting off him, as they did tonight — racking up 8 hits, 4 walks, and 6 runs in just 5 innings (and a whopping 107 pitches).

In the 2nd, Sanchez led-off with a walk and moved to 2nd on Gregorius’ single. Two outs later, Sanchez scored on Brett Gardner’s single. In the 3rd, with 1 out and runners on the corners, Gary Sanchez hit a big 3-run home run into the left field seats. And after Castro’s lead-off single in the 5th, Sanchez did it again and hit a big 2-run home run, this time to the right field seats.

As the Red Sox dipped into their bullpen, the Yankees continued their offensive march towards victory tonight. In the 6th, with 2 outs, Aaron Judge’s single became the hardest hit ball of the season, at 119.8 mph in exit velocity (though it should be noted that Judge has hit three 119+mph hits, and the rest of MLB has none). After moving to 2nd on Holliday’s walk, Judge then scored on Starlin Castro’s single.

And in the 8th, Brett Gardner led things off with his 13th home run of the season. Hicks and Judge singled, and Holliday was hit by a pitch to load the bases. All with no outs this inning. Castro hit into a fielder’s choice out at 2nd, which still scored Hicks to cap off the Yankees’ scoring tonight.

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

And the Yankees announced the lineup for their 70th Annual Old Timers’ Day in just over two weeks. Yankees Hall-of Famers and alumni scheduled to appear include: Jesse Barfield, Scott Bradley, Dr. Bobby Brown, Homer Bush, Rick Cerone, David Cone, Bucky Dent, Al Downing, Brian Doyle, Mariano Duncan, John Flaherty, Whitey Ford, Joe Girardi, Goose Gossage, Ron Guidry, Charlie Hayes, Rickey Henderson, Reggie Jackson, Scott Kamieniecki, Pat Kelly, Don Larsen, Graeme Lloyd, Hector Lopez, Sparkly Lyle, Kevin Maas, Tino Martinez, Lee Mazzilli, Ramiro Mendoza, Stump Merrill, Gene “Stick”
Michael, Gene Monahan, Jeff Nelson, Paul O’Neill, Jorge Posada (making his OTD debut!), Willie Randolph, Tim Raines, Mickey Rivers, Tanyon Sturtze, Ralph Terry, Marcus Thames, Joe Torre, Mike Torrez, Roy White, and Bernie Williams.

The widows of five Yankee legend will also make an appearance: Arlene Howard, widow of Elston Howard; Helen Hunter, widow of Jim “Catfish” Hunter; Jill Martin, widow of Billy Martin; Diana Munson, widow of Thurman Munson; and Kay Murcer, widow of Bobby Murcer.

Old Timer’s Day is coming up on Sunday, June 25. Gates will open at 10am that day. The “Old Timers” will play a short exhibition game before the regularly scheduled afternoon game the Yankees will play against the visiting Rangers at 2:05 pm. At the afternoon game the day before (Saturday, June 24), many of the above legends will be there to hang out with the fans, signing autographs and taking pictures. Basically, it’s going to be a weekend of legends. Have you got your tickets? I can’t wait!

Go Yankees!

Game 52: NYY vs. TOR — The Big Smoke clouds the Yankees’ night

After last night’s rather dominant start from the Yankees, the Blue Jays decided that turnabout was fair play and copying the Yankees’ example to set themselves up for a win. And while imitation is usually the sincerest form of flattery, it’s really not in sports. Not that the game went anything like last night’s game.

Michael Pineda got the start in tonight’s game and got roughed up in his 5 innings. He threw 87 pitches, giving up 10 hits, 3 walks, and 5 runs, striking out just 1 batter. In the 1st, he gave up a 1-out solo home run, a 2-out walk and a 2-run home run to give the Blue Jays a nice early lead. A lead-off walk in the 3rd moved to 3rd on a single and then scored on a sacrifice fly. And in the 4th, a lead-off single ended up at 3rd on a 2-out single and then scored on Pineda’s wild pitch.

Jonathan Holder came in for the 6th inning, having a pretty good outing save a single pitch that ended up becoming a solo home run to continue expanding the Blue Jays lead. In the 7th, Adam Warren had a bit of a struggle, due to some fielding mistakes. A missed catch error allowed the first batter to reach 1st. The Yankees challenged the out at 1st, but it was upheld as safe. That runner ended up at 3rd on a double and then scoring on a sacrifice fly. But Warren got out of trouble. Chasen Shreve’s 8th was a 16-pitch flawless outing.

The Yankees were quite stifled in their offense tonight, not even getting on the board until the 6th inning. The Blue Jays starter only gave up 2 hits and 2 walks going into the 6th inning. Then Sanchez singled, and Aaron Judge hit a 2-run home run to get the Yankees on the board and end the Blue Jays’ starter’s night. Under a new reliever, Holliday worked a walk and then scored as part of Starlin Castro’s 2-run home run to double the Yankees’ score.

And in an effort to edge further into the Blue Jays’ lead, Judge worked a 2-out walk and then scored on Matt Holliday’s double to cap off the Yankees’ runs tonight, falling just short of the Blue Jays.

Final score: 7-5 Blue Jays

And Aaron Judge was honored again as the American League Rookie of the Month, this time for May, of course. Not really a surprise to anyone really. He hit his 18th home run tonight, currently batting .326, with an on-base plus slugging percentage of 1.122 (which is insane). He is the first Yankee to win ROTM more than once, and the fourth Yankee to ever be awarded (also Cano, Matsui, and Sanchez) the honor. Add in Judge’s high standings in the All-Star Game voting, and Judge is having quite the year.

And it’s only June 2, people!

The weekend continues tomorrow in Toronto, “The Big Smoke”. Apparently, such a nickname was originally given to larger Australian cities by its native people due to its industrial production (or air pollution). It was then affectionately applied to London (for much of the same reason — the notorious London “fog”). And along the way, it was applied to Toronto and stuck. It’s certainly a better nickname than “Hogtown” or “The City That Works”.

Makes you kind of appreciate the “Big Apple”, “Gotham City”, and the “City That Never Sleeps”…

Go Yankees!

Game 47: OAK vs. NYY — A grand Judgement day

Well, that’s not a bad way to end the last homestand of the month. The Yankees wanted to finish the week strong, and they did going 4-2 (with a postponed game in the middle) overall for the homestand. And they’re off to face division rivals in Baltimore and Toronto to continue to mold and shape the AL East next week.

Continuing the camo-accented uniforms for the weekend’s honoring of military veterans and their families for Memorial, the Yankees closed out their series and homestand against the visiting Athletics in this afternoon’s rubber match. Michael Pineda got the start and threw 101 pitches through 6 innings, giving up 3 hits, 3 walks, and 3 runs (only 2 earned), and striking out 5 Oakland batters to earn the win.

The lead-off batter in the 2nd inning worked a walk and moved to 3rd on a ground-rule double. The next batter hit a solid single to left field, which scored both runners as the batter tried to stretch it into a double. The on-field call was safe at 2nd, but the Yankees challenged it. It was eventually overturned thanks to the sharp throw of Gardner and the quick swipe of Castro.

In an inning I’m sure Pineda would like to forget, a 1-out walk in the 6th moved to 2nd on Pineda’s balk and then scored on a throwing error by Pineda. But then the defense kicked it up by getting a sweet double play to end the inning — a line drive out to Castro who fired it to 2nd to get the runner doubled off 1st.

Chad Green was the first to relieve Pineda, throwing a flawless 7th, but getting into a spot of trouble in the 8th with a 1-out walk and a big 2-run home run. Tommy Layne came on for a 1-pitch fly out, and Adam Warren got the last out of the inning in just 2 pitches. Warren continued that flawless streak through the 9th inning, earning the save in just 9 more pitches.

Meanwhile, the Yankees offense had to come up with an offensive win, mainly on the back of a certain power-hitter with his own new fan section. In the 2nd, Castro led-off with a single, ended up at 3rd on Gregorius’ single, and then scored on Aaron Hicks’ sacrifice fly to get the Yankees on the board.

With 2 outs, the Yankees loaded the bases in the 3rd with singles by Torreyes and Sanchez and a fielding error on Holliday’s hit. So it would be Aaron Judge to hit his 16th home run of the season and 1st grand slam of his career. And the crowd went nuts, including some special little leaguers who were lucky enough to sit in “The Judge’s Chambers” to witness history (the ball landing just below that section).

In the 4th, Hicks led-off with a single, stole 2nd only to end up at 3rd on a throwing error, and then scored on Chris Carter’s sacrifice fly. So the Yankees dinged the Oakland starter into the 6th inning, including unearned runs thanks to their sloppy errors. But the Oakland relievers didn’t have any better luck. (Fortunately for the Yankees!)

In the 7th, Torreyes hit a 1-out single and then scored on Gary Sanchez’s double. The A’s challenged the call on the field originally as they thought it might have been a caught ball first before the outfielder tumbled to the ground and lost the ball from his glove, but the replay upheld the call of no-catch because they didn’t think he actually had the ball safely in his glove before it popped out.

And in the 8th, under a new reliever, with 2 outs, the Yankees loaded up the bases again with a couple of walks and a fielder’s choice so that Brett Gardner’s double scored 2 more runs to ensure the Yankees’ victory.

Final score: 9-5 Yankees, Yankees win series 2-1.

And they’re off to Baltimore, like I said in the beginning. They’ll play 3 games at Camden Yards. The Orioles are currently 3 games behind the Yankees, but you know they’re looking to make things a little more even. So it’s bound to be a good series battle. The Yankees then take a trip north of the border for a 4-game weekend series against the Blue Jays, who are looking to take their current losing season (4 games under) and flip that around.

However, it’s still really early in the season, and the Yankees have had some really good games with some really good players. Trying to predict the World Series now is about the same as guessing the plot line of the next Star Wars movie — you might have some ideas and theories, but your accuracy is going to be really low, percentage-wise. I know what I’d like to happen (in both instances), but I’m at about at 30-40% positive on my guess. (And I have a feeling I’m going to be more right about baseball than a galaxy far, far away.)

But that’s baseball and life… you never know what’s going to happen. There’s too many possibilities. And doesn’t that mysterious factor just make things a bit more interesting?

Go Yankees!

Lots of rain means tonight’s game postponed, but that doesn’t dampen the fun in the Bronx

Early this morning, the powers-that-be checked the weather radar (or simply opened their curtains) and figured out that it’s going to rain all day, with a possible minor break around game time before thunderstorms roll back in again. Basically, not exactly ideal weather for the Yankees and Royals to play their final game of this week’s series.

So, they called it postponed and rescheduled the finale for Monday, September 25 to squeeze in a game on a mutual off-day. The Yankees will be coming in from a short series in Toronto before their final homestand, and the Royals will make a brief trip eastward after a weekend series in Chicago before heading home for their final homestand.

Game information, start time, and rainout policy details are found here.

Last night, the first pitch of the game had Jacoby Ellsbury ran hard tracking down a long fly ball, slamming into the back wall with his head and right arm. He made the out, of course, probably saving a double or even a triple from the speedy Royals lead-off runner. But it also landed him on the 7-day disabled list with a concussion and sprained neck. There is no timetable for his projected recovery.

Aaron Hicks, who came on at the top of the 2nd inning to replace Ellsbury, will likely see more time on the playing field. So to fill his spot as the utility outfielder, the Yankees recalled Rob Refsnyder from AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Day 4 of HOPE Week continued on as planned. Today, the Yankees recognized A Moment of Magic Foundation, a non-profit organization that began as “The Princess Project” in which college-age students dress up as popular fairy tale princess to visit children’s hospitals and schools. Now nationwide, A Moment of Magic sends out “The Fairytale Force” (the princesses) or “Mission Super Hero” (popular comic book superheroes), college students from around the US, dressed as princesses and heroes to visit children at local hospitals and schools.

In a fun twist, A Magic Moment’s local Fairytale Force paired with certain Yankees dressed as superheroes to surprise participants from another great organization called Friends of Jaclyn, an organization the Yankees honored in 2014. Friends of Jaclyn is a foundation in honor of Jaclyn Murphy, who, after being diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor, was paired with a local college lacrosse team. Her lasting legacy is now to pair sick children with local high school and college athletic teams “to show them love, support, and friendship”.

It would be the starting rotation that showed up to surprise lucky Friends of Jaclyn at a party held at Yankee Stadium — Superman (CC Sabathia), Supergirl (CC’s wife, Amber Sabathia), Iron Man (Luis Severino), Wolverine (Michael Pineda), the coolest ninja turtle Michelangelo (Masahiro Tanaka), Captain America (Jordan Montgomery) and Spider-man (GM Brian Cashman).

What a great way to put a smile on children’s faces, giving them the amazing gift of joy and wonder! Genuine love, support, compassion, and encouragement can go a long way in recovery and healing for both the kids and their parents. It’s good to see foundations like A Moment of Magic and Friends of Jaclyn continue this legacy of compassion and joy.

One more day of HOPE Week tomorrow before the Yankees take on the Athletics as they begin their weekend series. With hopefully, a bit less precipitation.

Go Yankees!

 

Game 42: KC vs. NYY — It’s good to be home again.

Back home again, with a few cosmetic changes to the stadium. Jeter’s retired number joined the others on the big wall in left field. And out in the right field seats, they added a special section called “The Judges Chambers” after several avid fans have showed up in robes and powdered wigs last week. Tonight, fans got special robes and foam gavels to the lucky guests in that section.

The umpires seemed in a jovial mood before tonight’s game. They specifically called manager Joe Girardi out from the dugout while they gathered at the plate to exchange lineup cards. They specifically asked Girardi to clean up home plate they covered with dirt, as an amusing nod to this weekend’s dramatic ejection. Everyone seemed to find amusement with it. And it’s a nice way to close the chapter on the crazy weekend.

Tonight, the Yankees hosted the Royals for the first game of their 4-game series this week, behind Michael Pineda. Pineda did a pretty good job of keeping the Royals in line for his outing. He threw 98 pitches into the 7th innings, gave up 6 hits, a walk, and 2 runs, striking out 6 Royals’ batters. A lead-off solo home run kicked off the 3rd inning, and 1 out later, a batter singled and then scored on an RBI double.

Adam Warren came on in the 7th to get out of Pineda’s jam, including a close call for the final out of the inning. The batter hit a grounder up the middle and Castro fired to get the out at 1st, but when the umpire there called it safe, the runner made a run for home. But seeing as the Yankees rely on an observer with a near-perfect record, the Yankees opted for a challenge, which was quickly overturned and negated the run scored, keeping the Royals to those 2 runs.

Clippard breezed his way through the 8th inning in just 15 pitches, before Dellin Betances came on for the save in the 9th. Despite giving up a single, Betances closed out the game quickly and earned his 3rd save of the season.

Meanwhile, the Yankees faced the Royals’ starter, with mixed results. He certainly held them off for most of the game, but they also racked up his pitch count (102 pitches in just 6 innings). But they made good use of the limited options. Brett Gardner continues his power-surge with a 1-out solo home run in the 3rd inning.

Then in the 4th, with 1 out, Judge worked a walk, moved to 2nd on a ground out, and then scored as part of Didi Gregorius’ bit 2-run home run to leap the Yankees ahead. And after the starter left the game, in the 7th, Chris Carter hit a 1-out solo home run to get that insurance run.

And, yes, if you were paying close attention, the Yankees scored every run tonight on home runs.

Final score: 4-2 Yankees

And today kicked off the 9th Annual HOPE Week. Helping Others Persevere and Excel is an initiative the Yankees began to recognize and honor local community organizations. Today, Dellin Betances, Starlin Castro, Aroldis Chapman, and Didi Gregorius surprised siblings Victor and Nayyelyn Garcia at the world-famous Bronx Zoo.

11-year-old Victor was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia 2 years ago, needing a bone marrow transplant to save his life. He found one close to home — his sister Nayyelyn, now 7-years-old.  The Icla da Silva Foundation, the largest organizer of the US’s Be the Match Registry of bone marrow donors, helped the Garcia family with their entire ordeal — arranging for the flight from their home in the Dominican Republic to New York this last August for the surgery and paying for all travel and medical expenses.

Before tonight’s game, now doing well in remission 9 months post-surgery, Victor and his kid sister Nayyelyn threw out the first pitch. The Yankees also donated $10,000 to the Icla da Silva Foundation and encouraged people to sign up to be a bone marrow donor.

I know we’re just getting started with HOPE Week, but every day, every recipient is so special and so worth the celebrating. It reminds everyone to do something for someone else. Even something as simple as registering to be a donor to save someone’s life one day.

Go Yankees!

{Also, our thoughts and prayers are with those injured in the attack in Manchester, England tonight and with the families of those who never made it home.}