The Yankees needed no reminders about the urgency of turning their season around, even with general manager Brian Cashman unexpectedly attaching himself to the traveling party. If they are to play like the team that they expected to be, this appears to be their make-or-break week.
“A lot of people are talking, bombarding from the outside in, trying to give their two cents,” Frazier said. “I think the most important thing that we’ve done as a team is just stick together. Because inside that clubhouse, everyone that is in there, that’s what matters. We’re in this together. We’re trying to go out there and win ballgames. Tonight, it took everybody.”
After Cashman offered votes of confidence for manager Aaron Boone and his coaching staff, the Bombers’ bats came to life, overcoming a middling effort by starter Jordan Montgomery. Sánchez slugged a second-inning homer, and the Yankees’ dugout erupted to celebrate Gittens’ fourth-inning homer, which landed near the Interstate 190 on-ramp and was also his first hit in the Majors.
“We’ve got a lot of runway in front of us to establish an identity and rewrite the story,” Boone said. “We’ve dug ourselves a little hole, certainly. But we’re also in control of that story. The bottom line is, it doesn’t really matter right now what I say about it. Talk is cheap -- we’ve got to go out and play good baseball.”
Miguel Andújar knocked a sixth-inning RBI groundout to complete the Yanks’ scoring off Hyun Jin Ryu, who permitted three runs in six innings. In the seventh, Gardner cut the deficit to one run by swatting an Anthony Castro slider over the right-field wall. DJ LeMahieu doubled and scored the tying run after two wild pitches.
“Every victory is important,” Sánchez said through an interpreter. “With this victory, something we want to do is be more consistent winning series. It’s highly important for us. I see this team turning the page and moving forward; I see the offense is picking up at the right time.”
In a pinch
Left out of the starting lineup in favor of Gardner against the left-hander Ryu, Frazier snapped a 3-for-22 funk by drilling the go-ahead hit off Jordan Romano in the eighth, scoring pinch-runner Tyler Wade from second base.
“In that situation, I was really trying to be disciplined and hit a fastball,” Frazier said. “He started me off with a slider and Tyler stole [second base]. Once he got to second base, it did change things up a little bit. I would say for the most part, I was trying to hit the ball up the middle. I was a bit early on that fastball and I was just glad to keep it inside the base.”
Jonathan Loaisiga worked a scoreless seventh for the win. Zack Britton made the Yankees sweat in the home half of the eighth, loading the bases on two walks and a single, but he recovered to get Bo Bichette on a flyout before Aroldis Chapman pitched a clean ninth inning for his 13th save.
“He kept grinding,” Boone said of Britton. “Even when he’s rolling at his best, sometimes he’ll find his way into a little trouble. He’s really good at continuing to make pitches, and with that sinker, he’s always a pitch away.”
Gittens got it
Gittens had been hitless through his first 14 at-bats before connecting with Ryu’s cutter, powering a 439-foot drive out to left-center field. According to Boone, Gardner called Gittens’ shot in the Yankees’ dugout, remarking: “Skip, he’s going deep.”
“I touched first base and my mind just went blank,” Gittens said. “I didn’t care if it was a home run, a base hit or a little squibber. That was an amazing feeling. Thank God I was able to get a home run tonight.”
Gittens rounded the bases for what would have been his first homer during the Yanks’ visit to Target Field last week, but it was ruled to be a foul ball after a crew-chief review. On Tuesday, a member of the Yankees’ security team was able to recover the ball for Gittens, who said he has big plans for the memento.
“I’m going to give it to my son [T.J.],” Gittens said. “Whenever I get a chance to see him again, I’m going to put it in his little crib and let him have it.”