The New York Yankees rallied from a 6-5 deficit in the seventh inning with a 9-6 win over the Boston Red Sox to get Yankee Stadium rocking on a Wednesday night and Brett Gardner was the unlikely catalyst of the comeback win.
Mike Mazzeo of the New York Daily News summed up what this win means to the Yankees:
The #Yankees won. Sole possession of both first place and the best record in baseball for the first time this season. Everyone likes Brett Gardner again.
— Mike Mazzeo (@MazzNYDN) May 10, 2018
The Yankees broke a tie at the top of the division with the win over the Red Sox to give them eight straight victories and 17 wins in the last 18 games.
The Yankees at 26-10 have the best record in Major League Baseball ahead of the Red Sox, now 25-11.
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The Yankees had trailed the Red Sox in the American League East for the entirety of the young season until they went head to head on Tuesday night for the tie and went ahead on Wednesday night for the lead.
And the excitement of the crowd in the eight inning surprised even manager Aaron Boone, according to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com:
“It got my attention. I looked around a little bit in that inning. It’s May and it’s bedlam.” — Boone, on the crowd reaction in the eighth
Oh, and Gardner’s eighth inning two run triple was the spark and meant redemption for a player who that day had been the subject of reporters’ questions to manager Aaron Boone because of his slow start—Gardner was off to a .198 mark. Should he be dropped in the batting order? Should he be benched in favor of Clint Frazier?
Gardner’s performance Wednesday night shows what an impact player he is for this team, coming through in a clutch situation where the Yankees were down 6-5. Gardner said to Billy Witz of the New York Times that:
“I try to take things one day at a time and learn from what happened from yesterday and today and apply that to tomorrow, and try to keep getting better.”
He raised his average to .214 after the 3-for-5, two RBI performance he put on Wednesday night.
Gardner’s veteran work ethic and glove work are irreplaceable, and so, too, are his gritty, gutsy battles at the plate, especially when they result in two run triples.
As Witz noted,
“Gardner may have delivered the crowning blow, but he also helped get the Yankees started, something he has rarely done this season.”
He is important as a catalyst at the top of the order, and getting him going could only make this lineup more challenging and fearsome for opposing pitchers.
CC Sabathia (2-0, 1.39) is on the mound tonight against Eduardo Rodriguez (3-0, 5.29) for the Red Sox. The Yankees will be fighting to hold onto the lead atop the division and there’s no better warrior than Sabathia to send out there to do the job.