Perhaps it was all coincidence, or perhaps…the New York Yankees were fired up by watching one of the Baby Bombers Era’s top enemies getting a little too cocky with just a one-run lead.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Aaron Boone saw a tiring Corey Kluber on the mound. He saw two outs on the scoreboard. He saw the near-Triple Crown winner Vlad Guerrero Jr. in the box.
And he decided to simply…roll with it. It backfired.
Vladdy smacked a hard liner off the tippy-top of the center field wall, breaking a tie and missing a two-run homer by Aroldis Chapman’s fingernail.
That blast sure did get George Springer dancing.
After all, how could the Jays lose? Boone’s an idiot! Robbie Ray’s on the mound! We’ve got this!
The Yankees started launching home runs as soon as George Springer started dancing.
Michael King finished the inning. Springer danced about a one-run lead. He seemed to think it was about as secure as Baltimore’s 6-1 lead over Boston.
What do y’all think happened next?
With one out in the top of the sixth, Anthony Rizzo proved once again that Alex Cora was a fool for bringing Darwinzon Hernandez in to face him, further boosting his numbers against lefties with an absolute moonshot, his 250th career home run.
Surely, that was it.
Surely, the very next batter — Aaron Judge — didn’t also go deep.
3-2, no problem. Just a one-run deficit. At this point, Springer’s probably still dancing, but maybe a little lower and slower. Maybe behind a clubhouse wall.
Maybe he sauntered over to a television while he samba’d to watch Gleyber Torres’ 0-2 liner clear the left-center field wall. 5-2.
Oh. But I thought…but that’s what we do.
Not on Thursday. Not so much.
Thanks to six hits, five of them home runs (Judge went yard in the first, Brett Gardner in the ninth), the Yankees proved that good hitting can beat Cy Young-caliber pitching, even if the aforementioned “good hitting” is all bombs.
One night after Gerrit Cole’s struggles were the preeminent narrative, the dominant thread is now…pure chaos. Boston fell to Baltimore. The Yankees’ bullpen didn’t even let Toronto bring the tying run to the plate in this one; they lost. Seattle sat, waited, and popped a little champagne when Boston lost. They now control their own destiny for a potential Game 163.
The Bombers? Well, they’re not dancing yet. The magic number is two, and they’re a pair of games up on the Red Sox and Mariners, on the verge of contending with the Rays, the rare division champion that definitely wants to play spoiler.
What we do know? The Blue Jays can no longer pass the Yankees, who are 5-1 on the most important road trip the franchise has had in many years. Springer can boogie back into the scrum.