NEW YORK -- 220. That will be the final answer to the question: How many consecutive games did the 2018-19 Yankees manage to avoid being shut out?
On Monday, the historic streak that began over a year ago -- on July 1, 2018 -- came to a quiet, abrupt conclusion. The below-.500 Rangers visited Yankee Stadium, waited out a two-hour, 52-minute rain delay and blanked the Yanks, 7-0, to end what had been the second-longest stretch without being shut out in the Modern Era.
The credit belongs to Texas ace Mike Minor, who held New York scoreless through 7 1/3 innings, scattering five hits and striking out five. It was a classic case of how elite pitching can silence even the most prolific offenses.
“He’s obviously been a great pitcher for them all season,” manager Aaron Boone said. “Just his presence on the inside part of the plate, fastball-cutter combination, flashing the changeup too and occasionally going to the outer half of the plate. It’s just a good pitcher on top of his game tonight, and we weren’t able to mount much against him.”
Minor only learned of ending the Yankees' streak after the game, replying, "That's pretty cool."
“Me and [catcher Jose] Trevino mixed it up pretty well,” Minor said. “We mixed every pitch. I thought when they felt we were going to stay on one side of the plate, we went to the other side. We didn’t get into any patterns. I felt like we attacked.”
It wasn’t for a lack of effort, however. The Yankees made a push against the left-hander in the bottom of the eighth, putting two runners on with only one out. Just a day before, New York had entered that same frame trailing Oakland, 4-0, before scoring five runs in two innings to pull off an eventual walk-off win.
But with the Yankees staring down a 6-0 deficit after the Rangers posted four runs in the top of that inning, whatever luck might have played a role in helping them maintain the streak up to this point simply ran out. Texas reliever Shawn Kelley entered the game and quickly ended the threat, retiring two of New York’s best hitters, DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Judge, with just seven pitches.
“Anytime we don’t score or have a good offensive showing, it’s always a little bit surprising, just because our guys are so good,” Boone said. “But it happens. When a good pitcher is on top of his game, he can make it tough on you.”
“He’s nasty, man,” said left fielder Clint Frazier, one of four Yanks to be held hitless by Minor. “His fastball plays up, which means that it might say 92, but it feels faster than that. And then he obviously threw every pitch that he wanted in every count that he wanted. He came out on top. They came out on top.”
Only twice during the streak were the Yankees kept scoreless into the ninth inning. Both times they were down to their final out. But each time -- on Aug. 4, 2018, vs. Boston and July 13, 2019, vs. Toronto -- New York notched back-to-back hits to score the run it needed to preserve the streak.
The Yanks were unable to pull off the hat trick Monday, though they had an opportunity when Mike Ford -- Sunday’s walk-off hero -- hit a two-out single in the ninth. But Luke Voit, the next man up, came out swinging at the first pitch and grounded out to bring the streak to its conclusion.
During the run, there were 368 shutouts in the Majors, including 12 thrown by Yankees pitchers, and every other team in the big leagues was shut out at least three times.
The record holders will remain the 1931-33 Yanks, who scored at least one run in 308 consecutive games. And the team with the next-best shot to top them now is the A’s, who have gone 98 games without being shut out.
“It’s a credit to those guys and just how consistent they’ve been, [and] as a group, how tough they are to get through on a daily basis,” Boone said of his team. “I guess, eventually, unfortunately, that would probably fall, but I think it speaks to just how good of a group they’ve been over that time.”