It was one of the most impressive pitching performances I’ve seen in my 27 years as a Yankees fan (yes, I was born a fan, don’t question it). Corey Kluber’s no-hitter and Gerrit Cole’s all-game masterpiece in Houston are the most recent to top the list. However, considering all that Jameson Taillon has been through in his career, leading a perfect eighth-inning match bid on Lou Gehrig’s day is right up there with the best of them. Thanks to a late rally capped off by a single pinch, two out, two hits, pinch from Anthony Rizzo that led in two runs, Taillon’s masterpiece was preserved in a 2-1 win.
While the Yankees were able to pounce on Shohei Ohtani early and often in Game 1, knocking out the superstar on his fourth outing with three solo home runs, the same couldn’t be said against Reid Detmers. They squandered a pair of golden opportunities in the second and third, putting the top two runners in every inning, only to have subsequent batters flounder on loose grounds and fail to take a run.
Plate umpire Clint Vondrak (a recall from the Miners) did his part to help the sluggish Yankees on the flat, squeezing Detmers atop the zone all night.
Although the Yankees failed to capitalize on the advantageous counts those missed calls gave, at the very least it knocked Detmers out of the game with one out in the fifth. The rookie’s pitch count had already climbed to 86, so Jimmy Herget came on as relief.
It was in that inning that it looked like the Yankees would finally break through, with Marwin Gonzalez leading with a double hustle while Mike Trout trailed returning the ball into the infield. Aaron Judge then followed with a walk. However, neither Gleyber Torres nor Miguel Andújar could pass.
Games of this ilk tend to have dazzling defensive play to preserve the supply and this one didn’t disappoint. With an out in the seventh, Ohtani burned a grounder down the middle. However, Isiah Kiner-Falefa walked over, gloved him up, and made a precise running throw to get one of the fastest base runners in the league by a half step.
Alas, all good things must come to an end, and sadly that end came before round nine arrived. Leading the eighth, Jared Walsh hit a sharp ground shot to the left side that just bounced off the glove of a diving IKF, allowing Walsh to head into second and break up the perfect play and the offers without fail. The Angels would take the lead later in the inning on a two-out Kurt Suzuki single, but that was all Taillon would give up on his outing.
Seeing the evolution of Jameson Taillon the pitcher since he joined the Yankees has been a very rewarding experience. Helped in particular by a cutter he added this season, Taillon in my mind really exemplifies the art of throwing, filling the strike zone, throwing six different pitches located in all quadrants and ordering the sinker and the cutter on both sides of the plate. He may have lost the perfect game bid (the team’s deepest since Chien-Ming Wang in 2007), but he’s got nothing to be ashamed of after that outing: eight innings with one out of two hits, no walks and five strikeouts in 101 pitches.
The Yankees got their best scoring opportunity in the bottom of the eighth, loading the bases with a takedown from Oliver Ortega via a brace from Andújar and walks from IKF and Aaron Hicks. This brought Joey Gallo to the plate, and in typical Joey Gallo fashion, he hit swinging on a fastball into the area. However, pinch hitter Anthony Rizzo came to the rescue, fielding an Archie Bradley 1-2 fastball down the middle for a two-run single to ensure Taillon’s Herculean effort was not in vain.
Clay Holmes came in to close out the ninth, and although it was a little more nervous than we’re used to – he charged the bases with two outs walking Ohtani and diving Trout and Walsh – he finally brought Luis Rengifo to the ground, tying down victory. Holmes has now pitched 25 straight scoreless innings.
Thus, the Yankees sweep the doubleheader and the series, inflicting on the Angels their eighth consecutive loss. New York is now a season high with 21 games over .500 at 36-15. They host the Tigers in town tomorrow for a three-game set, with Gerrit Cole set to face Elvin Rodríguez. The first launch is scheduled for 7:05 PM ET, so be sure to join us in the game feed.
The score of the box