It wasn’t without warts, but the pluses outweighed the minuses for the Yankees on Sunday against the woeful Rangers at Yankee Stadium.
At this stage of the season and playing without Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez, the Yankees will take it going into Monday night’s game against the putrid Mets in The Bronx.
CC Sabathia’s second consecutive strong outing, combined with homers by Giancarlo Stanton and Didi Gregorius, who also contributed several outstanding plays at short, carried the Yankees to a 7-2 victory that was witnessed by 41,304.
The Yankees’ sixth win in seven games raised their record to 74-43 but didn’t cut into the Red Sox lead in the AL East because they remained 9 ½ lengths ahead by beating the Blue Jays.
Sabathia blanked the Rangers for six innings, in which he allowed one hit, an infield single by Joey Gallo in the second. Sabathia (7-4) is 1-0 with a 0.77 ERA in his last two starts. The six innings were the deepest Sabathia worked since going that far on July 4 against the Braves.
Sabathia’s pitching and the timely hitting glossed over two errors (one fielding, one throwing) by third baseman Miguel Andujar, who was saved a third error when first baseman Luke Voit scooped a throw out of the dirt to end the sixth inning. Andujar’s errors hiked his season total to 12, which leads the Yankees.
Also marring the victory was a poor relief outing by Sonny Gray.
Gray replaced Sabathia at the start of the seventh for his second relief outing of the season. With the Yankees leading 7-0, it was far different from his first relief stint last week in Chicago, where he entered a tie game in the 11th and delivered three scoreless innings.
Gray gave up two runs and three hits in the seventh and after Elvis Andrus and Adrian Beltre opened the eighth with a double and single, respectively, Aaron Boone replaced Gray with Jonathan Holder.
He retired the first two batters before walking Gallo to load the bases for Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who whiffed. In one-plus innings, Gray gave up two runs, five hits, walked one and had Holder to thank for the line not being worse.
Leading 1-0 entering the fifth inning, the Yankees plated four runs against Martin Perez with the key hit being Aaron Hicks’ two-run single that scored Austin Romine (infield single) and Brett Gardner (double) to make it 3-0. Andujar’s ground out scored Hicks for a 4-0 lead, and Gregorius’ 21st homer upped the advantage to 6-0.
Stanton’s home-run binge continued in the first inning, when he drove a 2-2 pitch from Perez over the left-field wall on a line drive. It was Stanton’s 30th homer of the season and his fifth in six games.
Sabathia pitched around trouble in the second inning created by Andujar’s first error and in the third, which Sabathia caused by walking two with one out.