The way the Yankees have been batting lately, their games have largely lacked drama as their lineup didn’t pose much of a comeback threat.
They emphatically made amends for that on Wednesday night.
After Josh Donaldson nullified a four-run deficit to force extra innings and then fell three runs down at the top of the 10th, Josh Donaldson clinched the Yankees with a walk-off grand slam for a stunning 8th -7-Victory from the Depths of Despair over the Rays in the Bronx.
An emotional Josh Donaldson is hugged by Gleyber Torres after he won the game-winning Grand Slam in the 10th inning of the Yankees’ 8-7 comeback win over the Rays.NY Post: Charles Wenzelberg
“Just a great fight all night,” manager Aaron Boone said. “Apparently [it’s] not easy for us at the moment but we are fighting and we just have to keep fighting. It’s great to see how many bats end a game when it seemed like it had been taken from us.”
The win sparked a three-game losing streak and saved the Yankees (73-45) from a win by the Rays (62-54), who were returning after 10 games in second place on the AL East.
On a day that began with calling up Oswaldo Cabrera and Estevan Florial to their lineup for a youthful injection, the Yankees won for the third time in their last 14 games and showed signs of rediscovering their mojo.
With Aaron Judge the automatic runner on second base to start the end of the 10th, a single by Gleyber Torres and a walk by Anthony Rizzo against Ray’s reliever Jalen Beeks loaded the bases for Donaldson, who was in a 3-to- 28 burglary stuck. He blasted a 1-0 pitch down the opposite field and it landed on the short porch to elicit a wild cheer.
“I definitely think this has probably been a release of joy and frustration over the past few weeks,” Donaldson said.
Aroldis Chapman lost the strike zone in the top of the 10th inning. He’d come in with an out and the automatic runner on second base, then went nine pitches with the first two batters he faced.
Even so, he was still one shot away from leaving the bases intact in a 4-4 tie before Francisco Mejia landed a bases clearing double on the first baseline to give the Rays a 7-4 lead.
Josh Donaldson flips his bat after hitting the game-winning grand slam in the 10th inning of the Yankees’ comeback win. NY Post: Charles Wenzelberg
“It’s one of those gut punches with what we’re going through right now, especially when it felt like Chappy was kind of going to fix that ship there,” Boone said. “But credit to the boys. It’s like, ‘Hey, let’s keep fighting.’ ”
In the eighth inning, Anthony Rizzo delivered the big momentum the Yankees had been lacking before. He smashed a solo home run into the right field seats in front of Ray’s left Brooks Raley to tie the score 4-4 in one inning after the Yankees missed a good chance to tie it or take the lead.
The homer made a 2-for-26 funk that Rizzo had been mired in since missing five games with back spasms.
Josh Donaldson is mobbed by teammates after his game-winning grand slam homer in the 10th inning of the Yankees’ win. Robert Sabo
After a 63-minute rain delay at the top of seventh — and a nice grab by Florial in midfield to keep the Rays’ lead at 4-2 shortly after play resumed — the Yankees began to come alive by the end of the inning .
Jose Trevino started with a broken racquet single and DJ LeMahieu, making his first appearance since Saturday due to a toe injury, followed up with a single with a pinch hit in the first place he faced. A day later, Andrew Benintendi walked to load the bases.
The Rays brought in assist Pete Fairbanks, who promptly accompanied Aaron Judge four fields to put the Yankees 4-3.
But Torres, who crushed a two-run homer by Corey Kluber earlier in the game to start the Yankees’ comeback, came next, hitting on the first pitch in a double at the end of the inning.
However, the Yankees had Torres’ back just as they had Chapman a few innings later.
It was too early to tell if the wild win could fully salve the Yankees from their recent malaise, but it was a start.
“It was something special,” Boone said, “that I hope we can look back on fondly.”