The Yankees scored 10 runs but could not feel comfortable until D.J. LeMahieu stepped on first base for the final out.
It wasn’t aesthetically pleasing but the Yankees will take a 10-7 win over the San Diego Padres at Yankee Stadium, that gave them two out of three in the series, before they embark on a key, six game road trip to Seattle and Los Angeles to play the Dodgers.
The Yankees tied a season high by scoring seven runs on eight hits in the third inning to blow the game open at that point, but the Padres did not quit and became tough to put away.
Sloppy defense by the Yankees in the top of the second, led to two Padres runs and a 3-1 lead.
With two out and a runner on second, Padres left fielder Jose Azocar blooped a single to centerfield. Harrison Bader made an ill fated throw home because the run was going to score. On the throw, Azocar took second and then tried for third when the ball got away from catcher Kyle Higashioka, who recovered and had a shot to nab the runner but wildly overthrew third and that allowed a second run to score.
“Just a case of Harrison [Bader] didn’t hit the cutoff man there in probably a situation where, with the speed of the runner, we don’t have a play at the plate there,” Yankee Manager Aaron Boone said. “You wanna keep the guy at first there and obviously it just got away from him. Then Higgy got away from him.”
Higashioka got the party started in the third with a lead off double. The next four batters, Anthony Volpe, Gleyber Torres, Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo all got hits as the Yankees took a 4-3 lead. The bottom portion of the order, Willie Calhoun, Isaiah Kiner-Falefa and Higashioka, who had his second double of the inning, kept the rally going as the Yankees took padded on and led 8-3 after three.
Aaron Judge, who had two hits, including his 15th home run, felt the embarrassing inning kinda set them up for the offensive fireworks.
“Everybody’s a little upset at themselves,” he said. “We made a couple of bad mistakes on defense, that shouldn’t have happened, especially when you got your ace on the mound. I think everybody just kinda stepped up and said, hey, let’s answer back here and get back to what we do.”
The Yankees seemed to be in control with Gerrit Cole on the mound. The Yankee ace allowed only a walk over the next three innings but he ran into trouble in the seventh, something that has become a recurring theme with him.
Cole walked former Yankee Matt Carpenter to lead off the seventh and former Yankee Rougned Odor hit a two run homer into the right field stands to make it an 8-5 game. After Ha-Seong Kim singled, Cole was lifted in favor of Jimmy Cordero, who was on the mound Wednesday night when the Orioles put up a seven spot.
Cole’s final line read six runs, five earned in six innings (plus) pitched as he earned the win (6-0), his first after five consecutive no decisions. “Let up too many runs today,” Cole said. “Three or four mistakes on the outing, a couple of pitch locations specifically and then a couple of at bats that got away from me, specifically.”
The Yankee ace is once again being victimized by the home run ball. After not allowing a home run in his first six starts, Cole has allowed 8 home runs in his last five starts. “Some of the solo HRS are good swings on good pitches today,” Cole said. “Both those fastballs missed on the opposite side of the plate and those hitters are ready for it.”
With runners on second and third and no one out in the 7th, Cordero got Azocar on a fielder’s choice that scored a run but Trent Grisham was caught off second and was tagged for the first out. The Yankee reliever ended the inning strong by striking out Brett Sullivan and Fernando Tatis Jr.
The Yankees scored two more in the eighth on a solo home run by Bader and an RBI single by Higashioka, who had three hits.
The Yankees took a four run lead into the ninth but after Clay Holmes walked the first two batters of the inning and the sell out crowd of 47,295 began to get a little restless.
Holmes buckled down and got pinch-hitter Juan Soto to ground into a force out at second. The Yankees traded a run for an out as Brett Sullivan’s sacrifice fly made it a three run lead but Holmes retired Fernando Tatis Jr. on a ground out to first.
LeMahieu was in the game because Rizzo was injured on a successful pick off play at first base in the sixth inning. Rizzo was diagnosed with a minor neck injury and was removed for precautionary reasons. “Just being cautions there, he went through all the testing, was fine and we’ll just keep an eye on him tonight and tomorrow,” Boone said.
Boone was optimistic that Rizzo could be in the lineup for Monday’s opener in Seattle. “At this point it looks that way,” he said.
In the top of the first, Jake Cronenworth took Cole deep to give the Padres a 1-0 lead. The lead didn’t last long as Judge tied the game in the first with his 15th home run of the season off of Padres starter and loser Yu Darvish, who was charged with seven runs in 2 2/3 innings pitched.
The Yankees (32-23) head out West for a big, six game road trip that takes them for three with Seattle and three with the LA Dodgers. “It’s going to be a tough trip but look forward to going out and facing the challenge,” said Boone.