Max Scherzer dominates, but Yankees hang around to win in 11

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The Yankees were not going out without a fight.

The Bombers won game two of their three-game series against the Washington Nationals 4-3 Saturday at the Stadium in the 11th inning, after three hours and fifty minutes of play. And it was Gleyber Torres who came away with the walk-off hit in the eleventh hour.

“Happy ending for sure,” Aaron Boone said. “Kinda hung around. ... We were able to scratch and claw a little bit. Couple of really clutch at-bats when runs were tough to come by today.”

The Bombers got a rally going in the ninth after falling behind 2-1. And three blips by the Nationals — Brad Hand walked DJ LeMahieu, Starlin Castro bobbled Giancarlo Stanton’s grounder and Aaron Judge’s fly ball to right deflected by first baseman Ryan Zimmerman — allowed the Yankees to get runners in the corners with one out by the time Gleyber Torres got up to bat. Torres smacked a single into the gap in right field, allowing DJ LeMahieu to score and tie the game and send it to extra innings.

“It hasn’t been easy for him, necessarily, at the plate, but he’s found a way,” the Yankees skipper said of Torres.

The extra runner on second, coupled with good baserunning and a less than stellar Aroldis Chapman allowed the Nationals to pull ahead by one in the tenth, though the run was not earned for Chapman.

The Yankees tied it up again in the bottom of the inning after Mike Ford ended his 17 at-bat hitless streak with an RBI single, which scored Clint Frazier, who started the inning as the runner on second. They were able to shut the Nats down in the 11th before they could get more runs across the board, then loaded the bases on walks for Torres with no outs. Torres didn’t try to make the monster hit. He instead hit a soft dribbler to Nats reliever Tanner Rainey, who couldn’t flip it back home for the out and the Yankees improved to 17-16 on the season.

“I didn’t hit the ball really well,” Torres said honestly. “We don’t give up. ... Baseball always got another opportunity to do something.”

Before the late game excitement, it was the battle of the Cy Youngs, which took off as one would expect, but it wasn’t Corey Kluber who came out on top.

Kluber got through two innings unscathed before loading the bases in the third inning, no thanks to Ford. He dealt a 90 mph sinker to Victor Robles, who hit a soft bunt that dribbled between the mound and first.

The right-hander ran to grab the ball to pitch it Ford, who should have stayed by first to cover. Instead, Ford left the bag to also try to make a quick grab. When Kluber looked up to make the throw and realized Ford was instead standing right next to him, all he could do was stare as Robles safely reached.

Kluber then loaded the bases and allowed the Nats to get on the board when he walked Juan Soto, which forced in a run. By the fourth inning, the Nats were really making Kluber work. He got into the fifth inning having already made 71 pitches (42 for strikes). Kluber was coming off a dominant performance against the Tigers on Sunday — he won that game, pitching eight innings, giving up just two hits, one walk and 10 punchouts.

“They made me grind out some at bats,” Kluber said after. “You’re always trying to limit the runs.”

On Saturday, Kluber struggled to get the final out of the sixth inning. Before getting pulled for Chad Green, he gave up a double to Kyle Schwarber, then a single to Castro, which brought Schwarber in. Kluber gave the Yankees 5.2 innings and finished with two earned runs on six hits with three walks and six strikeouts over 101 pitches (64 for strikes).

“Lot of Cy Youngs walking out there today for both sides,” Aaron Boone said before the game. “Excited to give the ball to Corey. Feel like he’s continuing to get settled into the season and throwing the ball well. Obviously Scherzer’s coming off a great start and we know what he’s capable of. Hopefully we can get to him and take advantage of some mistakes.”

They got exactly one chance.

Kyle Higashioka continued being one of the most reliable hitters on the roster. In the third, he cracked a homer off a Max Scherzer slider into the left field seats to tie the game at 1-1.

Scherzer finished with the one earned run on two hits with one walk and 14 punchouts over 7.1 innings.

“Scherzer, you know, he was a load. ... He was pretty dominant today and kinda having his way,” Boone said after the game. “I didn’t like watching Scherzer as much because he had his A-stuff.”

“Mad Max” made light work of the inept Yankees after both players and fans suffered through a nearly two and a half hour rain delay to start the game. First pitch was moved from 1:05 to 3:30 p.m. and that delay was determined almost an hour before the original start time. The building crowd of 10,850 booed when the Yankees, around the hour and a half mark of the delay, announced the game would still be played, but they did not yet have a new start time.

Truth be told, the rain that came wasn’t something the Yankees haven’t played through before and the wet weather continued again in the fifth inning with the Yankees at the plate. The light rain eventually topped off the next inning and the game gave everything and then some more than six hours after that original start time. The Yankees were simply no match for Scherzer, but they didn’t need to be.

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