NEW YORK — Ryan LaMarre’s pinch-hit, walk-off single scored Gary Sanchez in the 10th inning as the Yankees survived a battle of the bullpens with the Phillies and earned a 6-5 win on Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium.
It was the fourth straight win for the Yankees (50-44), who swept the two game series against the Phillies (47-47), who had swept them at Citizens Bank Park last month. The Bombers have won their last four series, including the last two without Aaron Judge and Gio Urshela, who are two of the six players on the COVID-19 injured list.
Gleyber Torres hit his sixth home run of the season, his third in four games. The Yankees shortstop had three in the first 90 games of the season. Rougned Odor hit his second in the last three nights and 11th of the season, a two-run shot in the seventh.
Greg Allen, called up when Judge went on the COVID-19 IL, continued to provide a spark for the Yankees with a game-tying RBI double in the fourth. Estevan Florial beat out a grounder to third, stole second and scored from there on Giancarlo Stanton’s single up the middle in the seventh. Odor drove in Stanton with his homer to cap the Bombers’ beating of the Phillies struggling bullpen.
The Yankees bullpen basically had to piece together five innings Wednesday night and had just one hiccup.
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Pitching on back-to-back days for the first time this season, Zack Britton struggled. The lefty reliever, who had come in with a three-run lead, walked two and left with one out and the bases loaded. Nick Nelson gave up a two-run single past a diving Tyler Wade at third to score Luke Williams. Britton then walked Jean Segura to reload the bases. He got a huge strikeout of Phillies slugger J.T. Realmuto then threw a wild pitch that allowed the Phillies to score the game-tying run.
Aroldis Chapman, struggling with a nail issue, pitched a scoreless ninth.
The Yankees’ decision to start Asher Wojciechowski on Wednesday once again amplifies their need for starting pitching depth. That is something that the Yankees will have to weigh here in the final eight days until the trade deadline.
Wojciechowski got off to a rough start, having his first pitch of the night sent out of the ballpark by Jean Segura. He settled in and gave the Yankees four innings allowing two runs on three hits. He walked three and struck out four.
It was about what the Yankees expected. They just hoped to get through this game without blowing out their bullpen heading into a crucial American League East division series in Boston this weekend.
The Bombers had been using Nestor Cortes and Michael King in the rotation spot that was left open when Corey Kluber went down with a shoulder strain in May. King injured his finger lifting weights before the All-Star break and Cortes was added to the COVID-19 injured list Thursday.
While the Yankees got encouraging news about Kluber on Wednesday — he is scheduled to throw off a mound for the first time since May 26 on Friday — the two-time Cy Young winner is not likely going to be able to help them until September. That might be around the same time Luis Severino can also come back after his rehab from March 2020 Tommy John surgery interrupted by a groin strain.
It’s far from how the Yankees planned it.
The Yankees had come into spring training hoping to have a battle for their fifth spot between Domingo German and youngsters Deivi Garcia and Clarke Schmidt. Garcia had given the Yankees six starts in last year’s coronavirus abbreviated 60-game season and pitched as an opener in the Yankees American League Division Series against the Rays. Schmidt made three appearances for the Yankees last season.
Garcia has struggled this year, starting in spring training when he lost the competition to German. Schmidt, who threw to live hitters in two simulated innings on Wednesday in Tampa, never got out of the starting blocks. The right-hander suffered an elbow strain in the very first bullpen of spring training.
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He pitched to a 4.98 ERA, striking out 33 and walking six over 34.1 innings pitched. This year, however, the diminutive right-hander has struggled with command. He is pitching to a 6.89 ERA with 34 walks and 60 strikeouts over 49.2 innings in 12 starts at Triple-A. The 22-year old has been working on his mechanics, trying to make it smoother and quieter, and has seen some results. In three July starts, Garcia has pitched to a 3.38 ERA, striking out 19 over 16.1 innings pitched.
Garcia is just working his way back into the mix, being considered for these spot starts.
“He’s certainly one of those guys in that mix of guys we considered, but it is good, definitely, to see what’s been a tough start to the year for him, him trending in the right direction,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “He’s throwing the ball a lot better. I haven’t watched his (last) outing. I know he threw better yesterday. I haven’t watched it yet, but that is encouraging to see the uptick we’re seeing over the last few starts from him.”