PHILADELPHIA — Beating the Twins two out of three games didn’t fix the Yankees after all.
After doing what they almost always do to the Twins, a team that generally curls up into a fetal position against them, the Yankees could not capitalize on one of their most clutch hits of the season: DJ LeMahieu’s tying three-run homer off the Phillies’ Hector Neris with one out in the ninth Saturday.
After the Phillies failed to win it in the bottom of the ninth and the Yankees failed to move their runner on second anywhere in the top of the 10th, Jean Segura’s RBI infield single sent them to an 8-7 loss in front of a boisterous crowd of 38,450 at Citizens Bank Park.
Former Yankee Ronald Torreyes, who started the 10th on second after making the final out of the ninth, advanced to third on Travis Jankowski’s sacrifice bunt that Aroldis Chapman threw high to first for an error. After Odubel Herrera fouled out to third, Segura scorched one down the third-base line. Gio Urshela made a sliding backhand stop and threw home, but he had no play as Torreyes slid across with the winning run.
That ruined a rare comeback by the Yankees, who had trailed 4-0 after one inning and 7-2 after five innings.
"We’re not into moral victories right now,’’ Aaron Boone said. "But the compete of the guys right now is excellent. The offense is certainly waking up. We’re seeing better and better at-bats.’’
Said LeMahieu: "I liked the way we competed. I liked the way we competed the last two days. We didn’t get the result, we didn’t get the win, but I really like how we competed and how we’re playing. I know those results are going to come. But it’s frustrating when we don’t play well and don’t get the win."
Preceding LeMahieu’s blast in the ninth, Brett Gardner and Tyler Wade worked back-to-back walks. LeMahieu then destroyed a 2-and-2 splitter to left-center, with his fourth homer shocking much of the crowd and sending the fair number of Yankees fans in attendance into hysterics. It was LeMahieu’s first homer since May 7.
The Phillies nearly won it in the bottom of the ninth. Bryce Harper led off with a double off Chad Green and, after Rhys Hoskins flied out, Andrew McCutchen was intentionally walked. Alec Bohm then sent one back up the middle, but shortstop Gleyber Torres made a terrific sliding stop and equally impressive backhanded flip to Wade at second for the out. Green struck out Torreyes to send it to extra innings.
Still, in many respects, the afternoon was about the continuation of Jameson Taillon’s dreadful season. The righthander lasted just one-third of an inning, allowing four runs and five hits. His line would have been worse had it not been for lefty Nestor Cortes Jr., who allowed no further damage in the first. He allowed just one run in 3 2/3 innings, striking out six.
Taillon, one of general manager Brian Cashman’s primary offseason acquisitions, fell to 1-5 with a 5.74 ERA.
"It’s frustrating,’’ Taillon said. "I feel healthy, I feel good, but I need results. I put us in a four-run hole right off the bat. I didn’t get out of the first inning. It’s embarrassing. It’s humiliating. It’s a tough day at the office for sure."
Gary Sanchez and Rougned Odor hit solo home runs and Gardner reached base four times with an RBI triple, a single and two walks, but the Yankees grounded into two double plays, raising their MLB-leading total to 63. They have lost 12 of their last 17 games to fall to 33-31.
"It’s definitely a little surprising, understanding what kind of team we have and what kind of talent we have,’’ Chapman said. "At the same time, I’m a positive type person, and I believe that with the guys we have on this team, it’s a matter of time for us to get going in the right direction."
"I would say everyone’s disappointed with where we are,’’ Zack Britton said. "We expect to be in a better position."
Taillon allowed the first five batters to reach in the bottom of the first. Herrera, Segura and J.T. Realmuto singled to load the bases and Harper lined a two-run single to center for a 2-0 lead. After a mound visit by pitching coach Matt Blake, Taillon immediately walked Hoskins and McCutchen’s sacrifice fly made it 3-0. When Bohm lined a single to right to make it 4-0, Aaron Boone mercifully ended Taillon’s afternoon.
Sanchez collected the Yankees’ first hit with one out in the second, ripping his eighth homer to make it 4-1. Sanchez came in 13-for-38 with two homers, three doubles, six RBIs and a .998 OPS in his previous 12 games.
Miguel Andujar singled with two outs in the second and Gardner lined a triple into the rightfield corner to make it 4-2.
Odor hit a long home run in the sixth and Sanchez had a two-out RBI single in the eighth to bring the Yankees within 7-4.