Yankees keep rolling with 11-inning walk-off win over Mariners
7th August 2021

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Yankee Stadium was packed with 43,180 fans Friday night, the largest crowd the Yankees had played in front of this season, home or road.

The Yankees waited until the very last pitch to send them into euphoria.

Brett Gardner delivered the final blow, smacking a walk-off single in the 11th inning to secure the Yankees’ fourth straight win, 3-2 over the Mariners.

Joey Gallo started the bottom of the 11th inning on second base. Gleyber Torres popped up before the Mariners intentionally walked Rougned Odor for the second time in three innings to bring Kyle Higashioka to the plate. The catcher, starting in place of Gary Sanchez (COVID-19), sent a jolt into the crowd with a deep fly ball to left field, but the ball hooked foul. Higashioka then struck out four pitches later.

But Gardner, who had entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the eighth before scoring the runs that tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of that inning and at 2-2 in the 10th, sent the crowd home happy.

In their eighth walk-off win of the year, the Yankees (60-49) improved to a season-high 11 games over .500 with their ninth win in their last 11 games.

Albert Abreu — the third-to-last pitcher left in the Yankees bullpen — entered for the top of the 11th inning and retired the side in order, leaving the automatic runner in second. He helped himself on the final out, running to cover first on a grounder and field a throw from Odor in shallow right field.

The Mariners took a 2-1 lead in the 10th inning off Chad Green. J.P. Crawford led off with an RBI single, scoring automatic runner Tom Murphy from second. The Yankees limited the damage, though, in part thanks to a strike-’em-out, throw-’em-out double play from Higashioka, nailing J.P. Crawford attempting to steal second after Matt Haniger whiffed.

The Yankees were down to their last out in the bottom of the 10th until Giancarlo Stanton redeemed himself and tied the game. Stanton, who had killed the eighth-inning rally in which the Yankees tied the game at 1-1, lined a single to right field to score Gardner and knot the game at 2-2.

But Gallo, who hit a towering go-ahead home run for the Yankees on Thursday night, couldn’t repeat his heroics, striking out to end the inning.

Mariners lefty Marco Gonzales had stymied the Yankees for 6 ²/₃ shutout innings, giving up just three singles and two walks. He left the game with Torres on second base — only the third Yankee to reach there all night — in the seventh inning, but Joe Smith entered from the bullpen and retired Higashioka to keep the pinstriped goose egg intact.

The Yankees tied the game in the eighth inning, but wasted a chance for much more. Former Rays closer Diego Castillo took the mound for Seattle and began by walking pinch-hitter Gardner and DJ LeMahieu. He then hit Anthony Rizzo on the leg with a pitch to load the bases with no outs, bringing the packed house to its feet.

Judge came through with a fly ball smoked to left field, though he settled for a sacrifice fly that tied the score at 1-1.

Stanton then let the air out of the building, grounding the first pitch he saw into an inning-ending double play — the Yankees’ league-leading 103rd twin-killing of the season.

Zack Britton threw a quick top of the ninth inning to give the Yankees a chance to win it in the bottom of the frame.

They threatened to do so, as Torres roped a one-out double and the Mariners intentionally walked Odor. But Higashioka and Gardner both popped out against Drew Steckenrider to send the game to extras.

On a day that was supposed to be Jordan Montgomery’s turn to start — before he tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday — the Yankees went to a bullpen game instead. A parade of nine relievers got the job done, combining for 11 innings in which they allowed just two runs (one earned) on nine hits and one walk.

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