In a season of impressive numbers thus far for the Yankees came this one Tuesday night:
They somehow won a game while committing five errors.
Against the defending champion Astros, no less.
Brett Gardner’s two-run homer off Chris Devenski with one out in the bottom of the ninth tied it, and Gleyber Torres’ two-out, RBI single in the 10th off Brad Peacock won it, lifting the Yankees to a 6-5 victory before 45,458 at the Stadium.
This is their first victory in which they committed five errors since April 19, 1997 at the White Sox.
“Teams don’t win games when they make five errors,” said CC Sabathia, who committed one of the miscues. “The way this team bounced back, put some good at-bats together and got some clutch hits shows you a lot about this team.”
There were bounce-back performances across the board.
Miguel Andujar, who walked and scored on Gardner’s ninth-inning blast but who also committed an error that contributed to two unearned runs in the fifth, doubled with two outs in the 10th. Torres, who had a mixed night — he committed two errors but also had an RBI single in the second — lined a 2-and-2, 95-mph fastball to right to win it, allowing the Yankees (34-17) to stay two games behind the Red Sox in the AL East.
“You can feel him slow it down and control the moment,” Aaron Boone said of the 21-year-old Torres, who has two walk-off hits since his call-up April 22. “A mature at-bat.”
Andujar, 23, said he and Torres, a fellow rookie, chatted about the mistakes.
“I told him, ‘let’s put that aside, we’re going to have some good at-bats, we have to play all nine innings,’” Andujar said. “You have to be able to able to do that, put that aside and look forward.”
Devenski came on in the ninth trying to protect a 5-3 lead. Andujar started the inning with a walk and, after Torres struck out, Gardner, whose leadoff homer in the first made it 1-0, stepped in.
Gardner fell behind 0-and-1, then hammered a fastball just over the wall in right, his fourth home run.
Aaron Judge, who hit his 15th homer in the fifth, sliced a double to right after the Gardner tying blast. Greg Bird struck out and Giancarlo Stanton, in a 0-for-19 skid, reached on an infield single, putting runners at the corners.
But Gary Sanchez couldn’t play the hero, striking out to extend his slide to 1-for-19.
Sanchez, though, made one of the heads-up plays of the night. Aroldis Chapman walked Tony Kemp with two outs in the 10th and a wild pitch moved the runner to second. With the dangerous George Springer up, Chapman fired a 100-mph fastball that sailed over Sanchez to the backstop. Sanchez turned and was surprised to see the ball ricocheting back to him. The catcher fired to Andujar, alerting covering at third, who tagged out a shocked Kemp.
“We drew that up,” Boone laughed.
Said Sanchez, through his translator: “The reaction right away was to get the ball as soon as possible. When I turned around, I noticed the ball was coming my way. I saw Andujar was already at the base waiting and I executed the throw.”
Sabathia, who had a 1.39 ERA as recently as May 4, was hurt by his defense, but wasn’t great, either, though Boone and the lefthander said his stuff was far better than it’s been in recent starts. Sabathia allowed five runs (three earned) and eight hits in five innings against the Astros (35-21), seeing his ERA tick up to 3.73.
Houston righthander Charlie Morton came in 7-0 with a 2.04 ERA in 10 games, one of which was a start April 30 against the Yankees, when he allowed one run and two hits in 7 2/3 innings of a 2-1 victory. Morton wasn’t as sharp Tuesday as he allowed three runs and eight hits, including two homers, in six innings.
“Proud of those guys just continuing to play, continuing to turn the page,” Boone said of overcoming the errors. “They came up big. It’s just part of who they are.”