If you were to receive a box score from this game with everything visible except the runs, you’d probably think the Yankees won this game pretty easily. They beat the Cardinals 10-5 and walked five. Several core members of the order have had multi-hit games, including Aaron Judge, Matt Carpenter, and Josh Donaldson. Although there were no homers, it still seems like a pretty good recipe for above-average offensive play.
That’s not what happened. While the Yankees hit all of those hits, they went 3 for 11 with runners in scoring position and ended up blocking nine runners on base. In the end, the Yankees only managed three runs and left them vulnerable if one or two relievers had a draw.
That would be exactly what happened. While Nestor Cortes was pretty good, the bullpen couldn’t hold the lead for him, with Clay Holmes’ tough stretch continuing and culminating in a blown lead in the eighth inning. While the Yankees went 3-for-11 with RISP, St. Louis went 4-for-8, allowing them to rally the Yankees with a 4-3 win.
The Yankees got the game off to a good start by picking up a run in the first inning. After DJ LeMahieu started the game with a single, Judge hit a 117 mph line drive, but it turned out to go straight to Tyler O’Neill in left field. However after him was Carpenter, which received a very good reception from Cardinals fans for his very successful career at Saint-Louis. When the ovation died down and he stepped in, Carpenter singled out, putting runners into the corners. Donaldson then got one in deep center field, putting the Yankees on the board with a double.
The Yankees missed a chance to add to the lead in the second, and the Cardinals took advantage and fought back in the bottom of the inning. As Cortes walked Nolan Arenado to start the frame, he then got two outs to be close to ending the inning. He couldn’t finish the deal, however, walking Paul DeJong before Yadier Molina scored a run home.
In the third, the Yankees responded right away, thanks to a few names that helped them get on the board to start. With Judge and Carpenter at No. 1 and No. 3 after the two singles, Donaldson added another single and another RBI to his tally.
Judge then struck again to start the fourth with a single that eliminated Cardinals starter Dakota Hudson from the game. In the ensuing batting game, Judge stole second and moved to third on a Carpenter pitch. That put him in the perfect position to then score on a Gleyber Torres single.
Round two hiccups aside, Cortes generally moved forward quickly thereafter. Including the last out of the second, he struck out 12 of the last 14 batters he faced. The last batter in that streak would be a Paul Goldschmidt walk that would be the end of the day for Cortes. It was a little fast, but considering he’s nearing his all-time career innings record, the Yankees probably had their eye on it. His last line would be two runs allowed on a hit and four walks in 5.1 innings.
You may notice that he ended up with two runs allowed, only one of which was described. That’s because the Yankees couldn’t block the runner he left. Albert Abreu was the pick to relieve Cortes, and he quickly threw a wild pitch and allowed a single to Arenado. Although he got a strikeout after that, he couldn’t close the deal in the inning, giving up an RBI single to O’Neill. Recent trade acquisition Scott Effross would replace him then and eventually made it out of the inning. Effross also threw a scoreless seventh, working around a walk from Molina.
With the hearts of the order of cardinals due, Clay Holmes was sent for the eighth. He didn’t even do too badly against the toughest hitters in the order, but his funk would continue. After pushing Goldschmidt to the ground, Arenado hit a single to the third that died before a play could be played on it. After earning a strikeout, Holmes was then unable to put O’Neill away despite going 1-2 up the count, triggering a walk. DeJong would take advantage of the Cardinals’ life in the inning, doubling up to tag both runners and give the Cardinals the lead.
In the ninth, the Yankees got one last chance when LeMahieu walked to a tie against Cardinals star Ryan Helsley. However, Judge and Carpenter were unable to bring him home, sealing the Yankees’ fate. They are now 14-16 since the start of July, but with the Blue Jays losing to the Twins tonight, their AL East lead remains at 10.5 games.
A big part of the Yankees’ success in the first half was because they didn’t have too many games like this. They were usually pretty good at getting runners home, and when they got leads, they usually didn’t lose them. That was not the case in this one. They will have to get it tomorrow night against old friend Jordan Montgomery, who will be out for revenge after his trade on deadline day. He will face the man the Yankees apparently trusted for the stretch run, Domingo Germán, with the first pitch at 7:15 p.m. ET.
The score of the box