SEATTLE -- A five-game losing streak in the midst of what has largely been a splendid season for the Yankees seemed a bit weird, so Aaron Boone figured it was time to talk.
The Yankees’ manager said he chatted with his club prior to their series opener vs. the Mariners on Monday night at T-Mobile Park, and while he wouldn’t go into specific details of what was said, the team seemed to respond to whatever words were spoken, beating Seattle, 9-4, to snap out of the funk.
“It's definitely nice to get one,” Boone said. “It’s been a rough week for us, and to punch one of the win column was great. We really played well. I thought we just really had good at-bats, and [starter Jameson Taillon] was huge."
Taillon battled through some mid-game control issues and ended up tossing seven innings, rebounding from a rough outing against Seattle in the Bronx in his last start on Aug. 2. Josh Donaldson had four hits, including a home run, a two-run single and a pair of doubles. He finished a triple short of the cycle.
Not everything sparkled in the Emerald City, however. Matt Carpenter, who has been one of the team’s biggest bats and a true surprise success story in baseball this year, fractured his left foot when he fouled a ball off of it in the first inning. He did not return to the game and could be out for an extended period of time.
“I’m pretty disappointed,” said Carpenter, who said he had an X-ray that confirmed the fracture and that he would see a specialist, likely in New York, to determine what the course of action and timetable will be. “My mindset is that this is not the end for me here this year. I'm hopeful that I can come back and contribute."
Although that remains to be seen, the Yankees did get some positive news on the injury front Monday. First baseman Anthony Rizzo expected to return to the lineup Tuesday after missing four games with a balky back, while slugger Giancarlo Stanton is progressing from his recent Achilles woes.
Boone said one message he made sure to relay to his players before the game was that the dust of the Trade Deadline has now settled, the team is right in the middle of the August go-time portion of the schedule, and the men that are showing up in the clubhouse every day make up the roster that they hope to take deep into October.
“Just, this is our group now and we have everything we need in that room,” Boone said. “We're going to get some guys back in the mix coming off the IL as we go, but just a reminder, we’ve got everything in that room to get through this and realize our goal of being a champion."
The team had dropped the final two games to the Mariners at Yankee Stadium last week, then traveled to St. Louis and lost three straight to the Cardinals, but they stormed out of the gate Monday like they had taken Boone’s message to heart.
The Yankees got on the board in the first when Donaldson turned around a 97.1 mph heater with a 101.6 mph liner to left to score two runs. Taillon gave up a first-inning homer to Mitch Haniger, but the Yankees answered with two runs in the third, getting Donaldson’s solo homer with two outs and then stringing together a Gleyber Torres single and a Benintendi RBI double.
Taillon ran into some command struggles in the fourth. With two outs and Haniger on second, he walked three straight batters to cut the Yankees’ lead to 4-2. But he got Cal Raleigh to ground out to first base to end that bases-loaded threat, and he didn’t surrender another run until Raleigh got him with a solo homer in the seventh. He also didn’t walk another batter, and he finished with a season-high 108 pitches, 69 of which were strikes.
“There's something to be said when you're on the attack,” Taillon said. “You can miss a little bit but you get away with a little bit.”
The icing came when Judge took Mariners lefty Ryan Borucki deep to the batter’s eye in center field in the ninth, a 107.7 mph blast that traveled a Statcast-projected 423 feet. It was the Yankees’ 12th hit of 13 for the evening, eight of which were of the extra-base variety.
“From the offensive standpoint, it felt like we just kept going, having good at-bats and tacking on runs,” Donaldson said. “It was important.”