Bottoms up: Yanks’ Bottom of the Order Keys 7th Win in a row

AP Photo/Adam Hunger

With Juan Soto hitting second and Aaron Judge batting third, the Yankee lineup is formidable at the top, but raise a glass to the production they’re getting from the bottom of the order.

Ninth place hitter Jon Berti snapped a 2-2 tie in the 4th with a three run homer off of former Met and losing pitcher Chris Flexen as the Yankees beat the Chicago White Sox, 7-2 to sweep the series for their 7th consecutive win.

Yanks have won 13 of their last 15 and improved to 33-15, best record in the AL and second best in the Majors behind the 34-14 Phillies.

The Yankees had 10 hits but the 6-9 hitters (Anthony Rizzo, Gleyber Torres, Jose Trevino and Berti) were a combined 7 for 14 with 5 runs scored, a home run and five runs batted in. By the way, Judge added a two run homer, his 13th of the season as he has rebounded nicely from his poor start to the season.

Both Berti’s and Judge’s homers were patented Yankee Stadium home runs into the short porch in right field but they count, nonetheless. “Felt good off the bat but I didn’t know if I got enough of it, fortunately it had enough,” said Berti.

Carlos Rodon tossed six solid innings as the Yankees continued to get consistent starting pitching from their rotation. Rodon gave up two runs on four hits with 2 walks and 6 strikeouts. The lefthander improved to 5-2 with a 3.27 ERA as he has put last season’s disaster in the rear view mirror.

He [Rodon] got after it and he wanted to prove something,” Trevino said. “He’s doing that right now. For someone to come out like that, in this kind of stadium, the fans expect a lot, he’s living up to that right now, for sure.”

During this current winning streak, Yankee starting pitchers are 7-0 with a 0.80 ERA. For the season, the starters have posted a 3.06 ERA and have tossed at least 4 IP in each of their 48 starts.

Rodon, who was a little under the weather, ran into some trouble in the second. With one out, Corey Julks unloaded on a 1-0 pitch for a home run into the left field stands that gave the White Sox a 1-0 lead. After Korey Lee walked, Zach Remillard lined a ball off the left center field wall for an RBI triple that made it 2-0.

Rodon got Danny Mendick to pop out to catcher Jose Trevino for the second out and then the Yankee catcher’s baseball I-Q paid off to get Rodon out of the inning.

With the count 0-2 on White Sox catcher Martin Maldonado, Trevino appealed a close pitch, looking for the strikeout. After the appeal was denied, Trevino saw Remillard was not paying attention so he fired a strike to Berti who applied the tag on the well executed pick off play that got them out of the inning.

I thought I saw him [Remillard] get off a little bit, just kinda keeping him honest,” Trevino said.

In the fourth, Eloy Jimenez singled off of Rodon and stole second and then Paul DeJong was hit by a pitch. The Yankee left hander seemed to be annoyed and turned it up as he struck out the next three hitters to squash the rally.

Rodon went to his reserve tank to keep the game tied at that point. “First and second, no out, I kinda had my back against the wall,” Rodon said. “I had to go get some fastballs in that moment, it’s kinda what I save it for.”

The Yankee left hander was facing his old team for the first time so there was an emotional edge as well. “Going up against your former club is a big deal, I definitely wanted to beat them,” Rodon said. “I’m sure they wanted to beat me as well. I know a lot of guys over there.”

When he got his back against the wall with some traffic out there, he reached back for a little extra fastball in not an overthrowing kind of way but just I got a little extra, boom and you could see it,” Manager Aaron Boone said.

In the bottom of the second, Trevino contributed with the bat. Rizzo reached on an infield single and Torres’ double put runners at second and third. The Yankees starting catcher has been a revelation offensively as he stroked a two run single to right to tie the game at two.

In the Yankees’ fourth, back to back singles by Rizzo and Torres set it up for Berti, who reached the right field stands for his first home run as a Yankee. “The bottom of the order, you’re just trying to do what you can to help produce and flip the lineup over and get those guys up,” said Berti. “Obviously, when those guys are going good, it’s fun to watch.”

Berti, who has hit in 10 of his 13 starts (13 for 44, hitting .295), has given the Yankees some solid production by splitting time with Oswaldo Cabrera at third.

He’s [Berti] a good player, obviously had the injury pretty quickly when he got here but able to kinda get through that,” Boone said. “He’s done a real nice job sharing that position over there with Oswaldo [Cabrera], he’s just a good, versatile winning player

Soto walked to lead off the fifth and Judge also found the right field seats on an 0-2 pitch from Flexen to make it 7-2. In May, Judge is hitting .386 with 7 HRS and 14 RBIs in 17 games.

Michael Tonkin relieved Rodon to start the seventh but he stumbled in the ninth and Mgr. Aaron Boone had to go to Clay Holmes in a non save situation, but the Yankee closer got pinch hitter Gavin Sheets on a line out to short and pinch hitter Andrew Benintendi on a force out at second as the Yankees took care of business against an opponent that is 19 games under .500.

This Yankee lineup is long so even though the top five hitters went a combined 3 for 19, they still win decisively thanks to the production from the bottom of the order and of course, their pitching.

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