Somehow, after a 5-4 win against the Royals, the Yankees managed to win a Kansas City series to beat the Royals. If you watched the majority of the past three games, you’d assume it was a clean sweep for the defending World Series champions. The Yankees were often trailing, tied, or seemingly out of each game altogether, yet they still won two of three.
This game truly was a team effort, with important contributions coming from all directions. Jacoby Ellsbury, Starlin Castro, Gary Sanchez, Didi Gregorius, and Brian McCann all pitched in with either a run or RBI, while Chase Headley and Brett Gardner also contributed multi-hit days.
Luis Cessa was solid, but unspectacular, over six innings, allowing four runs (three earned) with hits, a walk, and two strikeouts. The bullpen came up big, with Chasen Shreve, Tommy Layne, Adam Warren, Blake Parker, Ben Heller, and Dellin Betances all contributing scoreless appearances to steal the Yankees a win.
The Play: Starlin Castro doubles (+.238 WPA)
It’s a bit strange to see the most important play of a game be from a non-scoring hit, but Castro’s double made a huge difference, as it moved Didi Gregorius from first base to third. Didi would later score on a sacrifice fly from Brian McCann, which wouldn’t have been possible without Castro’s two-bagger.
Yankees: Starlin Castro (3-6, HR, 2B, R, 2 RBI)
Royals: Kendrys Morales (1-5, HR, R, 2 RBI)
The Highlight: Starlin Castro hits a two-run home run
If Gary Sanchez hadn’t been the hottest hitter on earth over the past two weeks, Starlin Castro may have had a case for that title. He continued on a rampage on Thursday, pitching in three hits, including this pivotal two-run home run to pull the Yankees within one run.
The Yankees will have Thursday off before traveling to Baltimore to take on the Orioles in what could be yet another season-altering series. The Yankees are expected to begin with Chad Green facing off against Dylan Bundy for the second time in a week (the first matchup resulted in a Yankees win).
Source: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports