Snake Smack, Yanks Top Diamondbacks in Extras

AP Photo/Rick Scuteri

Aaron Judge homered for the first time this season and drove in three and the Yankees continued to show they are a resilient bunch as they edged the Arizona Diamondbacks, 6-5 in 11 innings at Chase Field Wednesday afternoon.

With a seven game road trip in Houston and Arizona to start the season, the Yankees certainly would’ve signed up for a 5-2 mark, or even 4-3, but they will certainly not give back a 6-1 start.

The win was the Yankees’ Major League leading fourth come from behind victory. This was a feel good win for Judge, Alex Verdugo who had a big home run, Carlos Rodon, the bullpen and Manager Aaron Boone who pushed all the right buttons in this one.

After both teams each scored twice in the tenth inning to make it a 4-4 game, Jon Berti began the inning as the DR (designated runner) at second base and went to third on Gleyber Torres’ single to right. Juan Soto was at the plate when Diamondbacks losing pitcher Scott McGough was called for a balk to score Berti with the go ahead run.

After Soto lined out to center, Judge smacked a double over the head of Diamondbacks center fielder Jorge Barrosa to score Torres with a big insurance run and a 6-4 lead.

Closer Clay Holmes was in his second inning of work and with Lourdes Gurriel Jr as Arizona’s DR, Christian Walker was hit by a pitch to put two runners on. Holmes got Eugenio Suarez on a swinging strikeout, but he had thrown 22 pitches.

With lefty hitter Jace Peterson due up, Yankee Manager Aaron Boone went to left hander Caleb Ferguson to close it out. Ferguson struck out Peterson for the second out but Barrosa singled to drive in Gurriel Jr to make it 6-5.

Arizona had lifted their DH in the tenth and were left without any legit hitters on the bench, so, with the tying run at second and the winning run at first, Boone had Ferguson intentionally walk catcher Gabriel Moreno, who did not start, to load the bases and bring up the pitcher McGough, who was taking his first career Major League at bat. “I was gonna walk a run in if they stopped at third but you add a layer of oddity for the pitcher, but I was absolutely convicted on doing it,” said Boone.

Ferguson threw only four seam fastballs and struck out McGough on a 1-2 count to earn his first Yankee save and sent the team to Friday’s home opener off of a successful 6-1 road trip.

Verdugo, who was 3 for 24 coming into the game, snapped a 2-2 tie with a two run homer on the first pitch from Diamondbacks reliever Kevin Ginkel, his first with the Yankees to make it a 4-2 lead in the top of the tenth. Verdugo was savoring it as he slowly took his trot around the bases. That may have bothered some but not Boone.

I wish he would’ve taken some time to admire it a little bit,” Boone said sarcastically. “He’s had such an impactful trip for us, he’s gotten some big hits. He’s played great defense, slid him over to center there at the end and a no doubter right there to kick off the tenth. He’s playing well.”

Verdugo was ecstatic to have made a contribution to a big win. “First one with New York, big spot like that. It felt good, it did. Just seeing the boys get fired up, everybody’s barking at me. It was one of those ones, it just felt good,” Verdugo said.

Holmes, who was called in to close it out, deserved a better fate.

In the bottom of the tenth, pinch-hitter Joc Pederson bounced out, sending the ghost runner, Barrosa to third. Perdomo hit a grounder to short but Anthony Volpe rushed the throw which took Anthony Rizzo off the base. Rizzo caught the ball and tagged Perdomo but the ball was knocked loose as the run scored to make it 4-3. Perdomo took second but injured his leg and was replaced by pinch-runner Jake McCarthy, and that helped create the shortened bench in the 11th.

A wild pitch by Holmes, who gave up three unearned runs but got the win, allowed McCarthy to take third and the Yankees elected to play five infielders, moving Oswaldo Cabrera in from the outfield. Marte grounded out to third as the runner held but Corbin Carroll’s infleld single scored McCarthy to tie the game at four and force an additional extra inning.

Blaze Alexander’s solo home run off of Yankee starter Carlos Rodon gave the Diamondbacks a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second.

Torres led off the fourth with a single and was forced at second by Juan Soto, who saw his 39-game on base streak end. Judge was next and he drove a 1-0 pitch from Arizona starter Merrill Kelly over the wall in right center field and it ended up in the pool area to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead. “I told him I wanted him to go visit the pool at some point this road trip so glad he checked that box,” said Boone.

A tip from a teammate helped Judge get his first dinger of the season.

He’s [Kelly] a tough pitcher because he’s got, I feel like 7 or 8 different pitches. He can work his fastball to both sides of the plate, he can work it up in the zone, he cuts it well, he has a good sinker, great change up as well,” Judge said.So I was just kinda talking to GT [Torres], to say, ‘How’s it look out there, what are you seeing. How’s it coming out of his hand.’ Even thought he got out, he’s got quite a few hits off him so I just wanted to know what he thought. Even though I struck out the first at bat, I think it helped me the next one.”

The Diamondbacks tied the game in the fifth. Rodon got two quick outs but Ketel Marte turned on a 1-2 fastball and deposited it over the wall in left center field. Carroll followed with a two out double to put the lead run in scoring position. After Guerriel Jr walked, Carroll tried to steal third, but Rodon alertly stepped off the mound and threw him out at third to end the threat.

Rodon threw the ball well as he gave up two solo home runs in 5 1/3 innings pitched, put two runners on and was replaced by Ian Hamilton. The Yankee right hander got Barrosa to line into an inning ending double play and was brilliant for the next two innings as he retired six in a row with four strikeouts.

Jonathan Loaisiga tossed a scoreless eighth inning as the Yankees bullpen continued to shine in the early portion of the season.

The Yankees are flying high as they head home to what should be a raucous Yankee Stadium crowd for the home opener on Friday.

I’m sure the Bronx will be popping on Friday,” Boone said.

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