Well, this nearly was a sticky wicket. Trailing by five runs almost instantly and squandering a lead in the ninth were no way to head off to England. Ultimately, though, nothing is as British as a stiff upper lip and nothing is as Yankee as displaying an offense that is as dependable as Big Ben.
The Yankees bailed out James Paxton and closed out a 9-1 homestand by repeatedly rallying and then getting an 8-7 walk-off win over the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium. Gleyber Torres, with his third hit of the game, drove home Didi Gregorius (who also had three hits) with the winning run in the bottom of the ninth.
No deficit or setback is as wide as the Atlantic Ocean, which is what the Yankees were ready to cross Wednesday night right after another game that effectively said “Cheerio” to a run that put them a season-high 24 games over .500. Next up is a two-game weekend series against the Red Sox at London Stadium.
“I’m so happy. It’s an opportunity to bring another sport to London,” said Torres, who lined a pitch from Nick Kingham to rightfield after Gregorius singled and Aaron Hicks walked. It was Torres’ third career walk-off hit. It was a clutch moment by a clutch guy on a clutch team.
Aaron Boone said, “He’s been doing it since he got here. Usually, the situation doesn’t affect him.” Aaron Judge, yet another Yankee with three hits (the team had 16), said of the young second baseman: “Nothing really fazes him. I think the first strike call to him, it was a checked swing or something like that. But he brushes it off and gets ready for the next pitch. Like I’ve said before, man, he’s a special player.”
The next few days represent a special opportunity. DJ LeMahieu, who had one of the two requisite home runs (Gregorius had the other as the Yankees extended their major-league record streak to 29 games with at least one homer), said, “It’s different for sure, it’s unique, obviously. Talking to some of the guys, it feels like going on a field trip or something. But everyone is very excited. It should be a lot of fun.”
Torres said he has no specific itinerary to see the sights, adding, “If I have an opportunity, I’ll go to the city and walk.”
At this rate, these players will be the sights. Call them the New York Yankees in King Arthur’s Court. Their batting is as predictable and reliable as the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace.
They were not fazed when Paxton gave up two home runs to Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and left trailing 6-5 with one out in the fifth. “I’m definitely struggling right now but I’m going to work to figure it out. I know that I’ll figure it out at some point,” the starting pitcher said. “It’s great to watch this offense. We feel like we’re going to score a bunch of runs no matter who’s out there facing us. I’m going to work to join them, help us win, do our part.”
Nor were the Yankees troubled by the fact Zack Britton blew a save opportunity in the ninth. He wound up getting the win and improving his record to 3-1.
No matter what the score was, the Yankees were assured of ending the day by being on their way to a big adventure. Judge actually has been to London, but wants to explore it more this time in the limited free time the club will have.
Boone said, “My family is already over there. I’ve gotten some good pictures from them this morning. I’m just looking forward to being somewhere I’ve never been and experiencing a different culture.”
As for the exhilarating experiences the manager’s wife and children have had so far, the photos and texts on his phone told the story. “I saw a red phone booth, I saw a nice bridge, Heathrow [Airport)]” he said. “And they said the hotel is nice.”