Bronx, N.Y., April 20, 2019; Yankees 9, Kansas City 2 — Genuine lineup or not, the Bronx Bombers lived up to their name in a 9-2 demolition of Kansas City in a cold, damp, but not rainy Yankee Stadium Saturday afternoon. They bashed four (five, actually) home runs to back the superb Masahiro Tanaka, who did not need much of that explosion.
The veteran righty did not look sharp to start, as he couldn’t harness his array of pitches in a two-walk first inning that looked disturbingly similar to his last outing, in which a bout of wildness set up a grand slam that sent him to defeat. But he righted himself quickly, striking out two in the second, and comng up huge in the third. Leading off, the speedy Joey Hamilton legged out a triple on a sharp grounder that got through Luke Voit at first base. With six pitches, Tanaka struck out batters one and two in the KC order, and got Alex Gordon on a grounder to [an overshifted] shortstop Gleyber Torres on pitch seven. The Yanks were already up 2-0 at the time, on singleton homers from Aaron Judge and Clint Frazier in the first and second, respectively.
Totally recovered from his uneven first inning, Tanaka jealously held his lead then, and right through until Whit Merrifield homered to right leading off the sixth. Undaunted, the Yanks sent Masahiro out for the seventh, which he pounded through to get three infield popouts, including a terrific Gio Urshela play on Lucas Duda in which the, again, overshifted third sacker had to run half a ballfield before making a sprawling catch in front of the visiting dugout. Coming into the seventh, “Tank” had secured 16 of 18 outs on strike outs (7) and ground balls (9). He allowed four hits and just the one run.
Having now given Masahiro his due for his professional outing, it’s time to acknowledge the offensive contributors, and to laud Aaron Boone for supporting his players. Proceeding from Tanaka’s dominant third inning, the home team twice extended their lead to 5-0 on three-run home runs, even if, depending on your view, Torres had his three-run jack stolen (my view) from him on replay. Once the runs crossed the plate and we all danced and screamed like fools for two minutes, Royals skipper Ned Yost asked for replay. Rufus’s Tell Me Something Good is a wonderful song, but not repeated for five minutes while an unidentified arbiter miles away views video until he rips your heart out by calling young Torres out. Gordon is a good left fielder and no doubt would have made the catch had not a first-row Yankee fan decided (again, rightly, in my opinion) that he had every right to catch a ball in his neighborhood, that is, the area directly over the left field fence.
Moving on, the fourth inning brought bounty anew. Mike Ford, still searching for a first hit, gathered his second and third walks today, leading off the fourth with the first, and Austin Romine drilled a one-out double. Then the good-fielding Mike Tauchman, quickly making Brian Cashman and his scouting people look brilliant a la Voit, launched a 3-2 pitch several rows back in right for the second 5-0 lead of the game. One pitch later, DJ LeMahieu garnered his first Yankee home run, and however one viewed the replay, let’s say, kerfuffle (which got a protesting manager Boone tossed from the game), the rout was on. Rbi base hits from Torres and Frazier (a three-hit, two-rbi day!) in the sixth and a run-scoring Romine single (delivering Urshela after his third hit) in the seventh closed out the Yankee scoring.
Jonathan Holder, who pitched the last two innings, fell victim to Chris Owings’s singleton dinger in the ninth to forge the 9-2 final score, which some would claim should have been 12-2. But whatever the case, Holder got a called third strike on Cam Gallagher to end this one in an exact three hours. Driving rain had stopped less than an hour before this one, and never returned, though it was a bit damp and raw and windy. But worst news of all, Yankee godhead (I do not think I overspeak) Aaron Judge hurt his oblique singling in the sixth, and becomes the 13th key player to join the Injured List in this season from injury hell. Hopefully, a few wounded return once the club heads West Monday.
So, Bronx Bombers. Four (five?) homers, nine (12?) runs. Even with a depleted lineup, it was good to see. On this day in 1841, Edgar Allen Poe’s Murders in the Rue Morgue, which some refer to as the first ever detective story, was published. On Saturday afternoon, the Yankee nine committed,
Murder on River Avenue