ARLINGTON, Texas – Corey Kluber set a fairly impossible bar for Domingo German to reach a day later.
Still, the righthander piggybacked Kluber’s no-hitter from the night before with a pretty impressive outing of his own.
Controlling the Rangers over seven scoreless innings, German led the Yankees to a 2-0 victory in front of 27,58 at Globe Life Field, allowing them to take the last three of the four-game series.
"It’s kind of tough following up a no-hitter after Corey Kluber and what he did, but Domingo was right there," said Aaron Judge, whose pinch-hit, RBI single in the two-run seventh made it 2-0 (Gio Urshela’s pinch-hit single two batters earlier made it 1-0). "It was pretty impressive. All of his pitches were working, and that changeup was nasty."
The Yankees (25-19), looking very much at times offensively like a team that celebrated Kluber’s achievement late into the night, managed to scratch out the two runs in the seventh, helping them finish this three-city, 10-game trip, which started with a COVID-19 outbreak last week in St. Petersburg, Florida, with a 7-3 mark. They face the AL Central-leading White Sox Friday night at the Stadium.
"A lot of distractions, a lot of setbacks, a lot of highs, a lot of lows," Judge said of the overall craziness of the trip. "I guess you could put it as simple as a grind. This is baseball. Things like this happen."
German, 3-0 with a 2.37 ERA in his last five starts after going 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA his first two starts – and getting demoted – allowed six hits and struck out five in lowering his season ERA to 3.05. As Judge mentioned, German’s changeup, which he threw a career-high 26 times, was especially devastating.
"They have strong hitters, a lot of power," German, who threw to Gary Sanchez, said through his interpreter. "Going into this game we talked about how effective the changeup could be, executing down and away, and I think we did that today."
Boone, while praising German’s changeup, said it wasn’t only about that pitch.
"His mix of pitches, the command of those, the ability throw any in any count, another strong outing by him," Boone said.
Rangers righty Dane Dunning, who came in 2-3 with a 4.34 ERA, matched German for six innings, allowing four hits and a walk with six strikeouts.
Lefthander John King took over for Dunning in the seventh and promptly hit Rougned Odor with a pitch. Gleyber Torres grounded out to move Odor to second and Sanchez laser to left put runners at the corners. Boone sent up Urshela for Mike Ford and he lined a fastball to right for the first run. After Miguel Andujar struck out, Judge, pinch hitting for Tyler Wade, sent one back up the middle for an RBI single and improved the rightfielder to 17 for his last 35. Judge had been 0-for-10 previously in his career as a pinch hitter.
German provided a shutdown inning – his last inning of the day – setting down the Rangers in order on nine pitches.
Chad Green pitched a perfect eighth and Aroldis Chapman moved to 11-for-11 in save chances in the ninth, striking out two in the inning. Chapman, who walked Joey Gallo with one out, has struck out 36 in 17 innings.
For German, who received some excellent defense behind him – DJ LeMahieu in particular – Thursday was a case of the pitcher putting even more distance between himself and the brutal start to his season.
"Very meaningful," German said of this stretch. "It means a lot being that those first two outings were not good ones. I went to the alternate site, I worked on what I needed to work on and came back here and [have been] able to string along good outings. It’s one of those things where you have to believe in yourself and never lose confidence. Keep working hard on your craft and show you belong here."