Yankees first loss of spring due to ninth inning rally

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 18: Gary Sanchez
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 18: Gary Sanchez /

Heading into the top of the ninth inning in a 6-6 tie, Michael King gave up three runs that would eventually seal the game as the Yankees lost their first game of the spring on Wednesday.

Trailing 6-2 in the eighth inning with two outs, the Yankees loaded the bases with the next three batters. Estevan Florial then delivered a clutch single that scored two runs, cutting the deficit to just two.

A wild pitch to Danny Espinosa in the next at-bat scored Tyler Wade from third. Florial was able to advance from first to third on the wild pitch, putting himself 90 feet closer to tying the game.

Now 6-5, Espinosa had the tying run at third with two outs. He struck out, but the ball slipped by the catcher to the backstop, allowing Florial to score and Espinosa to reach first base. It was not a pretty inning, but the Yankees had tied the game.

King entered the following frame and immediately loaded the bases with a walk and two singles. A double in the next at-bat scored two runs, and a sacrifice fly brought home the third.

In the bottom half of the ninth, the Yanks threatened. They loaded the bases again by drawing three walks. With one man out, Erik Kratz popped out to the first baseman, then Ryan McBroom struck out to end the game.

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Aaron Judge made his Spring Training debut and finished 0-for-2 with a strikeout and a sharply hit groundout.

Coley Harvey of ESPN reported that Judge said his shoulder felt great and that he saw his pitches well, which is a wonderful sign.

In case you did not see it plastered on every social media outlet, Gary Sanchez clobbered a moonshot over the scoreboard at Steinbrenner Field to open up the scoring in the first inning. Defensively, he looked solid and was quick to block balls in the dirt.

Giancarlo Stanton laced two doubles for his first and second hits of the spring. Aaron Boone gave us the first glimpse of the modern day “Murderer’s Row” with the Judge-Stanton-Sanchez trio in the middle of the lineup. It is going to be something special to watch once the season gets in full swing.

Luis Cessa got the start and did better than what his line suggests. He did pretty well in his first two innings, then ran into some struggles in the third inning. Cessa surrendered singles to the first couple batters, making it first and third with no men out.

Cessa then induced a double play ball in the next at-bat that Gleyber Torres tried to shovel pass to Didi Gregorious but was unsuccessful. The run from third scored, and next thing you know, Cessa leaves a pitch up in the zone that John Hicks clubbed for a three-run home run in the ensuing at-bat.

Had Torres turned that double play, maybe Cessa could have escaped allowing only one run. Nonetheless, Cessa could have done other things not to get himself into that situation in the first place.

Adam Warren followed Cessa and pitched three clean innings, allowing only two hits and striking out one. Dellin Betances made his Spring Training debut, pitching one inning and allowing a run. After starting off the sixth with a walk, he got two quick outs, but the runner made it to second on a steal.

In the next at-bat, Betances induced a ground ball that hugged the third base line for a single that would score the runner from second. All in all, not a terrible performance.

Next: Should Greg Bird bat third?

Next up, the Yankees travel to Clearwater to take on the Phillies once again. C.C. Sabathia will make his Spring Training debut.