The first leg of Sunday’s doubleheader against the Rangers wasn’t a must-win for the New York Yankees. As the game unfolded, though, it inched awfully close to that designation.
Gerrit Cole continued to dominate, extending his scoreless innings streak to 19 before allowing a game-tying solo shot to Kole Calhoun after he surprisingly came back out for the seventh despite being well over 100 pitches.
It was a disappointing end to an otherwise flawless outing for Cole, who fanned 10 Rangers and lowered his ERA to 2.67. Jonathan Loaisiga and Clay Holmes pitched in with 2.2 scoreless innings, setting the stage for the offense to put Texas out of its misery.
Despite catching several breaks from the Rangers’ defense, the Yankees’ lineup failed to come through in the clutch.
Once Gleyber Torres stepped up to the plate with the chance to play hero in the ninth inning, though, there was only going to be one ending. It wasn’t the prettiest of swings for a 3-1 count, but Torres muscled the pitch over the short porch in right field to give the sleep-walking Yankees a 2-1 walk-off win.
Gleyber Torres smacked a walk-off home run in the ninth inning and the Yankees beat the Rangers.
Another walk-off hit for Torres!
Just a few weeks ago, he plated Isiah Kiner-Falefa on a single in the bottom of the ninth to down the Guardians. For all of his maddening tendencies (poor defense and questionable plate discipline chief among them), Torres has a flair for the dramatic and his clutch gene is undeniable.
This season alone, the two-time All-Star has three go-ahead hits in the ninth inning or later. No player in MLB has more. Additionally, his seven career walk-off hits are the most in the league since 2018, his first full year in the bigs.
After finishing 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and stranding five runners on base, it’s almost fitting the Yankees won on a walk-off solo blast. Maybe the offense needed to shake off the rust after they were rained out the last two days.
If that was indeed the case, we’ll be expecting a more well-rounded performance in Game 2, which should get underway in just a few minutes.